Early, sustained participation in a high-quality kindergarten program benefits all children, but children experiencing vulnerability have most to gain. A substantial body of research shows improved social, learning and development outcomes for these child

Over the course of a year, the facilitator will build relationships with parents that promote stronger engagement with learning, both in the home and at kindergarten. The AEL facilitator will also create important connections and collaboration between the family, the early childhood education and care service, and its educator and other services in support of the child’s learning and development. 

AEL facilitators will support at least 16 children and their families for one year. We are looking to identify, engage and enrol eligible children now, so that they can commence a free or low-cost kindergarten program for 15 hours per week in Term 1, 2024.

Kids First is a proud Access to Early Learning partner and will be facilitating the AEL program for Whittlesea and Mitchell Shire.

How AEL works

Kids First’s AEL facilitator will take a strengths-based approach to working with families and services. Our facilitator will:

• Work with parents to support and focus on children’s learning and development needs
• Strengthen parent capacity to support in home learning and provide tailored support to each child dependent on their needs
• Address family barriers to kindergarten access, as well as any practical barriers to participating in kindergarten
• Strengthen the links between kindergarten and in-home learning
• Collaborate with educators and ECEC services to support family engagement.

Who is eligible?

Kids First can accept referrals to the AEL program by either Child Protection, The Orange Door, Child FIRST/family services or Enhanced Maternal and Child Health (EMCH) services.

For a child to be referred, their family must have two or more of the following characteristics:

• be known to Child Protection
• include a parent with an intellectual or physical disability
• have a history of family violence
• have a history of mental health issues
• have a history of sexual assault
• have a history of alcohol and/or drug abuse
•the child referred to AEL has an intellectual or physical disability.

In addition:

• children must be aged three by 30 April to participate in a program for the calendar year. (In-home learning and family engagement may start prior to the child commencing kindergarten).
• This is a voluntary program; however families must be willing to participate in planning and in-home learning activities to participate.

In addition, other factors, such as homelessness, young parenthood, social isolation, and refugee status, are considered to determine priority of access.

Interested in referring someone?

Kids First can accept referrals to the AEL program by either Child Protection, The Orange Door, Child FIRST/family services or Enhanced Maternal and Child Health (EMCH) services.

Kids First will review referrals and establish a process for prioritising access into the program.

The 2024 intake of AEL in Whittlesea/Mitchell will began in September 2023, with a view to engaging families and establishing relationships so that children can commence three-year-old kindergarten in Term 1, 2024. This means that a child must be three years old by 30 April 2024 in order to be eligible for the program.

Submit your details below, and one of our lovely Intake and Engagement team members will be in touch.

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