$ 17.9 m funding for 3,000 KG kids to learn non-English languages each year, information sessions starting from 25 June

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By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 20 June: Thousands of children will have the opportunity to learn another language while attending kindergarten, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government.

To kick off this initiative, Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos today encouraged parents, teachers, service managers and those in kindergarten communities to join the conversation and attend upcoming information sessions on how to get involved.

These sessions are the next step in the $17.9 million Early Childhood Language Program, the first state-funded language program ever to be rolled out in preschools.

Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos says, “We’re making sure more of our littlest Victorians reap the lifelong benefits of learning a language other than English – they’re going to be at the front of the pack.

Research tells us that learning a second language is hugely beneficial – it’s fun, it improves brain function and actually helps kids learn English better.”

The measure – funded through the Victorian Budget 2018/19 – is expected to give about 3,000 children each year over the next four years the opportunity to learn a language other than English while attending kindergarten.

Three-hour weekly language sessions will be delivered in 120 kinders starting from 2019 and a further 10 services will become bilingual – where children will benefit from up to half their program being offered in another language.

“This Australian-first initiative is just another way we’re getting Victorian kids ready for kinder, ready for school and ready for life,” the Minister says.

Information sessions will run across a number of locations in Victoria during the next two weeks and cover how the program will work, funding eligibility and the expression of interest process for those kindergartens wanting to apply.

Learning languages in kindergarten often result in children learning the language of their grandparents, as well as inspiring them to take an interest in other cultures. It’s also shown to improve brain function and their English reading and writing skills.

Work is underway through the Labor Government’s landmark $202.1 million Education State Early Childhood Reform Plan to ensure kids are ready for kinder, ready for school and ready for life. The Victorian Budget 2018/19 invested a further $135.9 million toward realizing our early childhood vision.

To register to attend the Early Childhood Language Program information sessions, go to education.vic.gov.au/eclanguages.

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