ECMS is pleased with Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews' announcement today about the introduction of a portfolio for early childhood education. The portfolio will be held by Jenny Mikakos MP who is currently the Minister of Families and Children and Minister for Youth Affairs.
The creation of this portfolio is an exciting development for all of us who care passionately about early childhood learning and development. The establishment of a stand-alone portfolio reflects the special nature of early childhood as the most important time for emotional and cognitive development – and of high-quality early childhood education as the foundation for healthy, happy and fulfilling lives.
It also reflects the tangible commitment of the Victorian Government to early childhood. Over the past three years, landmark reforms have been introduced to provide better support for children, their parents, and early childhood professionals.
The Government has committed more than $500 million in early childhood development over the last three budgets, including over $200 million to support the Education State Early Childhood Reform Plan released in May this year. It has introduced:
- Australian-first needs-based school readiness funding for kindergarten programs and significant additional funding to support kindergarten quality
- investment in early years infrastructure across the state, including growth areas
- the expansion of the Enhanced Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Service to more families for more years and provision of additional MCH visits where there are concerns about family violence
- more culturally-relevant support for Koorie families to thrive, as part of the Marrung Strategy
- more support for children with a disability to fully participate in kindergarten and access early intervention services while they transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme
- the expansion of supported playgroups and kindergarten central enrolment across the state.
These reforms are the result of the great partnerships between a broad range of early childhood leaders and stakeholders, including ECMS – from local government, to early childhood peak bodies, unions, services and professionals, to academic researchers. Our commitment to early childhood and working closely with the Department of Education and Training on reform design and implementation is at the heart of the very real progress we have made to improve the lives and prospects of Victorian children.
ECMS looks forward to working alongside the State Government to continue to provide high-quality inclusive and accessible early learning and care to all Victorian children and families.