The Victorian State Government is investing almost $5 billion in the 10 year Three-Year-Old Kindergarten initiative so that all children across the state have access to two years of funded kindergarten programs. This program will add an extra year of play-based learning to Victorian children's education and create 6,000 new teaching jobs.
Box Hill Institute's Early Childhood Education teacher, Denise Jerram, supports the government's decision to help parents keep fees low. She said, "State government funding for three-year-old kinder is a good idea. It provides an opportunity for all children to participate in play-based experiences to extend and enhance all areas of their development."
Specifically, the Victorian Government hopes to ensure that kids have better cognitive and social skills when they start school, which includes better development in language, pre-reading, early number concepts, non-verbal reasoning, independence, concentration and social skills. Long term benefits include higher exam scores at 16, including better grades in English and maths, better social and emotional outcomes at age 16, and they will be more likely to go on to higher academic studies.
Denise has 30 years' experience working in early childhood education and care. She actually studied with Box Hill Institute, completing a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care in 1988 and graduating from the Diploma of Early Childhood Education in 1992. After working with children, she is now giving back to the industry by teaching the next generation of educators.
Denise firmly believes that all educators need to provide opportunities for the children to explore and grow as the first five years of their life impacts their future. She said one of the most critical lessons she teaches her students is that, "each child is an individual with individual needs and as educators, we need to recognise each child as a unique person."
If you have a desire to inspire young children's minds and foster their learning and development, then there has never been a better time to become a kinder teacher. It’s a profession that will always be needed and demand for teachers in Victoria will continue to grow.