The Victorian Government is giving kindergartens in East Gippsland the extra support they need for ongoing bushfire recovery, making sure children in bushfire-affected communities continue to get a great early education.

Member for Eastern Victoria Jane Garrett today announced that 24 kindergartens affected by the 2019/20 bushfires in East Gippsland will receive an additional Early Childhood Bushfire Recovery Grant. A total of 35 kindergartens across East Gippsland, Towong and Alpine shires will share in$250,000 worth of grants.

Each kindergarten will receive $7,350 to help deliver high-quality learning programs for their children and offset the costs of educational activities like music classes, kinder gym sessions, excursions and visits from special guests like reptile experts and artists.

The grants can also be used towards buying educational resources or specialised equipment as well as helping complete small projects such as vegetable gardens, small playground upgrades, maintenance, and repairs.

The Early Childhood Bushfire Recovery Grants were initially available in 2021 as part of a $22.7 million package aimed at supporting families, children, students and teachers most impacted by the bushfires ─ giving the community a boost during challenging times.

Throughout 2021, kindergarten services used the grants to purchase children’s toys, arts and crafts supplies and to fund projects to upgrade play spaces and establish sensory gardens for children.

In an Australian-first, the Victorian Government is investing almost $5 billion this decade to provide three-year-old children with access to an additional year of funded kindergarten programs.

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.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Early Childhood Ingrid Stitt

“Early childhood staff at these services have gone above and beyond to support children and their families to learn while juggling the challenges of bushfires and a pandemic during these last two years.”

“Bushfire recovery is a long journey and we are supporting local communities to rebuild and recover by helping our kinders – and the families they serve – get back on their feet.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Eastern Victoria Jane Garrett:

“Ongoing support for the recovery of kindergartens in East Gippsland after the 2019/20 bushfires is a boost for local families and teachers ─ making sure our children continue to get the education they deserve.”