News

Program promotes inclusiveness and diversity

By Benalla Ensign

Four of Benalla’s kinders will benefit from new equipment, toys and learning kits to ensure they get the most of their education regardless of ability.

State Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes announced the funding this week, which will benefit 28 kinders across her electorate.

The grants will pay for valuable resources, such as wheelchair ramps, moveable change tables, sensory playkits, adjustable chairs and Braille books.

The Inclusive Kindergartens Facilities Program provides up to $10000 per kinder for one or more items that promote inclusiveness and diversity.

Recipients include Benalla District Pre-school Partnership, which will be able to purchase height adjustable and wheelchair accessible tables, and Ride Avenue Pre-School which will purchase an adjustable table that will allow children in a wheelchair to join in group activities as well as purchase weighted blankets, a hanging nest chair and several sensory toys.

‘‘Building the Education State begins with the early years — all kids deserve the very best start to their education, regardless of their ability and Labor are delivering for Benalla,’’ Ms Symes said.

‘‘These grants are about ensuring our littlest Victorians get the support they need to thrive.

‘‘It’s wonderful to know kids in Benalla will benefit from even more inclusive, welcoming environments when at kinder.

‘‘Whether it’s wheelchair access ramps or adjustable change tables — Labor is helping deliver world-class and welcoming environments for Benalla children.’’

These grants are the first to be provided through the new $6.4million Inclusive Kindergartens Facilities Program — a Victorian-first initiative.

The program will also provide kinders with up to $200000 to upgrade buildings and playgrounds to make them more inclusive through the buildings and playgrounds stream.

The state government has invested a record $123.6 million to build, expand and improve early years infrastructure across Victoria to ensure local families can continue to access local kindergartens.

It builds on the state government’s landmark $202.1 million Education State Early Childhood Reform Plan, which recognises the importance of giving families support in early childhood, so kids are ready for kinder, ready for school and ready for life.