person reading a book
PHOTO: Lina Kivaka/

Murrindindi Shire Council is preparing to engage professionals to plan and design future upgrades to kindergartens in Alexandra and Yea after securing a $148,586 grant through the Victorian Government’s Building Blocks grants program.

As part of this work, Murrindindi Shire will also develop a plan to support the attraction, retention and development of the local early childhood workforce.

Murrindindi Shire was recently announced as one of the first local government areas for the pre-prep (Four-Year-Old Kinder) rollout between 2025-2032 under the Best Start, Best Life reforms, which aims to increase kindergarten programs to 30 hours per week, up from the current 15 hours per week.

The announcement follows the roll-out of the free 15 hours per week Three-Year-Old Kinder, under the same reforms, which has been active in Murrindindi Shire since 2021.

Murrindindi applied for funding under the State Building Blocks grants program, following a review of early childhood infrastructure and service requirements in the Shire.

The review identified capacity challenges at the Alexandra and Yea kindergarten facilities, which would impact our ability to meet the increased demand for pre-prep program hours. The review also made several recommendations, which included developing an early years workforce plan.

This planning and design work will pave the way for further funding applications for these to be ‘shovel-ready’ projects to support our community’s needs.

Murrindindi Shire Council Mayor John Walsh said:

“Council is aware of the nationwide challenges around attracting and retaining early childhood staff, and we know our communities are struggling to access these vital services locally, with long wait lists, ageing infrastructure and little capacity to expand.

“Our population is increasing and with the current hours of local kindergarten services set to double from 2025, action needs to be taken to avoid children missing out on two free years of pre-school education.

“As part of the infrastructure planning work, we’ll also be preparing a workforce plan to help us engage and retain educators to support families and children in our Shire.”

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