As lockdown restrictions ease just in time for the festive season, we’re all crossing our fingers and toes that 2021 is a much better year for Victorians.
It very well could be with the recent announcement that Victorian parents won’t have to pay for kindy in 2021.
Premier Daniel Andrews made the announcement on Tuesday morning, explaining that kindergarten programs will be free for all Victorian children. This equates to a savings of around $2,000 per child enrolled in kinder.
Who is eligible for free kindergarten?
All parents with kids at the right age for kindergarten. Working parents, non-working parents. If you’re in Victoria and your child is due to start kindy in 2021, then you’re eligible.
In Victoria, children go to a kindergarten program in the year before starting school, usually when they are four years old. Some services also offer kindergarten programs for three-year-olds. Most kindy programs are for 15 hours a week.
Why the incentive?
Andrews stated that there were several reasons for implementing the measure but the main reason is to provide relief for families, especially working mothers.
Of course, free kinder is also hugely beneficial to the children who may have otherwise missed out. And adding free kindy is also a step in the right direction to supporting childcare workers and educators.
The government-funded kindergarten scheme will cost $169 million and save each family with one kindy kid around $2,000 per year.
“This is all about household budgets and families having money in their pocket,” Andrews told reporters.
“This is just a logical next step to support mums and dads and our smallest Victorians.”
In addition to the changes to kinder, the Victorian Government has also expanded the number of schools that run before and after school care.
This investment is dedicated to making the daily juggle of work, school and kinder just that little bit easier,” Andrews said.
Getting started in kindergarten
If your little one is due to start kindergarten, there are a few things you’ll most likely want to do beforehand.
- Check the National Standard of your child’s kindergarten or childcare centre. You can do so right here.
- Look into various kindergarten centres in your area. This article outlines a few crucial things to look for in your child’s kindy.
- Prepare your little one for this big adventure. Here are some tips on how to handle drop-off and tears.
- Have a read of what your child may be feeling in the lead-up to kindergarten (and how you can best prepare them).