Grants open to make kinders more inclusive
THE state government aims to make kindergartens in the Geelong region more inclusive for children of all abilities, with upgrades to early childhood education centres and specialist equipment to help improve learning outcomes.
The second round of grants in the Building Blocks Inclusion fund ─ helping kindergartens provide a safe and inclusive learning environment for every child ─ is now open.
Eligible kindergartens in the Geelong region are invited to apply for grants of up to $200,000 for building or playground upgrades that make them more inclusive of children of all needs.
Grants of up to $10,000 are also available for specialist equipment such as mobility chairs or sensory tools for kindergarten programs.
The Building Blocks Grants program supports early childhood providers with new and existing infrastructure and facilities for eligible three and four-year-old kindergarten services.
Previous recipients of this program include Armstrong Creek East Children’s Centre, which received $9,560 to provide sensory equipment; and Bellevue Kindergarten, which receive $50,000 to complete stage two of their inclusive playground upgrade.
The 2020/21 Victorian Budget invested $68.5 million for early childhood education infrastructure, with $12 million allocated to fund two rounds of the Building Blocks Inclusion grants stream.
The Labor Government is investing almost $5 billion this decade to provide three-year-old children with access to an additional year of funded kindergarten programs in what it says is an Australian first.
From 2022, three-year-old children across the state will have access to at least five hours of kindergarten. Services will then scale up their hours to reach the full 15-hour program by 2029.
As part of this roll-out, the state government is upgrading infrastructure through a $1.68 billion co-investment with the early childhood sector to build and expand kindergarten facilities across the state.
“We’re delivering unprecedented investment in early childhood education services so our children and families can get the most out of great local kindergartens,” Minister for Early Childhood Ingrid Stitt said.
South Barwon MP Darren Cheeseman said he welcomed the latest round of the Building Blocks Inclusion Fund.
To apply for the next round of the Building Blocks Inclusion grants stream funding, head to the Victorian School Building Authority website.