Ms VAGHELA (Western Metropolitan): My constituency question is directed to the Minister for Workplace Safety and Minister for Early Childhood, Ingrid Stitt, MP. My question relates to the portfolio responsibilities of early childhood education. The minister recently announced that the Andrews Labor government is expanding the early childhood language program through an expression-of-interest process.
I understand there are currently over 160 early childhood education and care services participating in this Australian-first program and by expanding the program more early childhood services across Victoria will be able to deliver part of their kindergarten program in another language. This program is very exciting and helping to build a foundation of diverse language skills in our kids, helping them prepare for a more global and connected world later in life.
My question to the minister is: can the minister please provide me with an update on how early childhood education and care services in the Western Metropolitan Region can participate in the learn languages program in 2022?
Ingrid Stitt MP Minister for Workplace Safety, Minister for Early Childhood(13 December 2021):
I thank the Member for her question and her interest and advocacy for early learning.
The Andrews Labor Government has invested $20.6 million in the Early Childhood Language Program. The initiative has been operating since 2019 in 163 state-funded early childhood services reaching 6,000 children each year. Currently 10 early childhood services located in the Western Metropolitan Region are participating in the Early Childhood Language Program. These 10 services deliver language programs in Auslan, Chinese, Hindi, Punjabi, Spanish and Vietnamese languages, representing the rich diversity of the community and are delivered at no cost to families.
The 2022 expansion will provide the opportunity for approximately 50 additional early childhood services to join the Early Childhood Language Program.
Early childhood services that are interested in participating in the Early Childhood Language Program in 2022 are invited to submit an expression of interest at: www.education.vic.gov.au/ECLPEOI2022.
This expression of interest process closed on Friday 22 October 2022 and I will announce the successful early childhood services in mid-December 2021.
Early childhood services that are successful will be supported by the Department of Education and Training to commence delivery of a language program during Term 1 in 2022.