Free kinder during coronavirus pandemic

Victorian parents will be able to send their children to kindergarten for free during the coronavirus pandemic.

The state government has announced a $45 million funding package for sessional kindergarten providers, who have seen numbers dwindle as more parents keep their kids at home.

“We are making sure Victorian children can still go to kinder and get an early childhood education during this difficult period, without parents worrying about fees – this will save jobs, save kinders and save families hundreds of dollars,” Education Minister James Merlino said.

Under the package, community-based, local government and school providers will receive $485 per child for term two.

To be eligible for the additional funding, the services must not charge families and allow children to attend 15 hours a week of kinder for free.

The funding will help kindergarten services remain viable even as enrolments drop during the coronavirus pandemic.

It will also help keep kindergarten teachers and early childhood educators in their jobs.

Early childhood services are continuing to operate, in line with advice from Victoria’s Chief Health Officer.