More children and families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds in Melton will have help accessing kindergarten, thanks to a council outreach program supported by the Victorian Government.
Steve McGhie recently visited Arnolds Creek Kindergarten in Harkness to meet children who have benefitted from council-led outreach activities, supported by $3.5 million in grant funding.
Supporting councils to run engagement activities and employ outreach workers, grants totalling $3.5 million have backed children and families from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds to access and attend kindergarten, connect with other early childhood supports and transition successfully to primary school.
Since 2021, the CALD Outreach Initiative has supported more than 2,500 children to enrol in and attend kindergarten, with the program even more important as the Victorian Government continues to deliver its $14 billion Best Start, Best life reforms.
The outreach initiative delivers on recommendations made by the Parliamentary Inquiry into Early Childhood Engagement of CALD Communities, which outlined the importance of outreach activities for helping to build strong relationships between CALD families and local services, such as playgroups and Maternal and Child Health.
CALD outreach teams work across communities to help CALD families access early childhood services in their local area, including visiting playgroups, libraries and community hubs, assisting families with kindergarten enrolment, organising information sessions and working with educators to address attendance barriers.
The Municipal Association of Victoria is receiving funding to support council-led outreach programs and activities, establish communities of practice and share key learnings and insights with all councils state-wide.
Almost $1 million in funding over two years will also support bicultural workers from the Brotherhood of St Laurence to deliver targeted outreach to CALD families living in public housing in the cities of Maribyrnong, Melbourne, Moonee Valley and Yarra through the Family Learning Support Program.
Since 2020, the Family Learning Support Program has worked with families from Eritrean, Ethiopian, Vietnamese, Somali, Pakistani, Turkish, Sudanese and Pacific Islander backgrounds.
Translated resources and free interpreters are available to support Victoria’s multicultural communities to engage with kindergarten. For more information, visit vic.gov.au/kinder/translations or vic.gov.au/use-interpreter-early-
Quotes attributable to Member for Melton Steve McGhie
“Children from multicultural communities have so much to gain from two years of kindergarten, and this initiative ensures families in Melton have the support they need to access quality early childhood education.”
“We’re delivering the support councils need, with initiatives that encourage and support children and families from diverse backgrounds to access and attend local kindergarten services.”