Although research shows that kindergarten is vital for preparing children for the transition to primary school and setting them up for a lifetime of learning, not all families know about the benefits or the government support available.
Our series of video stories explore what kindergarten means from different perspectives – parents and carers, schools and early childhood educators.
Fenton worked with the Department of Education and Training Victoria (the Department) over a number of years to promote different aspects of kindergarten to diverse families and provide guidance to practitioners. We interviewed families, early childhood educators and professionals in family services, using research to inform messages, provide answers to common questions and dispel myths.
Koorie Kids Shine at Kindergarten
The Koorie Kids Shine program provides Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children with access free kindergarten. We planned and produced three videos to convey what access to free kindergarten means for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and what service providers can do to make their kindergarten a culturally safe place.
Early Start Kindergarten (ESK)
ESK gives Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, and children known to Child Protection, 15 hours of free or low-cost kindergarten a week. Working with the Department to involve schools and families, we planned and produced a video to explain the benefits of ESK to families, reassure any schools that may have concerns about fitting ESK into their service and help destigmatise use of the service.
Research conducted by the Department showed that uptake of kindergarten was well below average in some of Victoria’s established and emerging ethnic communities. We developed a campaign strategy with the aim of providing information earlier to give parents more time to research local options so they have enough time to apply, and connecting them to organisations who can help with enrolment. As well as communication materials and stakeholder kits, our pilot video focused on Somali families.
Early Start Kindergarten for health and family services professionals
As the Victorian government continues to gradually roll out funded Three-Year-Old Kindergarten, the Department needed to profile the ESK program from the perspective of health and family services professionals. We created a video for people working in Child Protection and maternal and child health nurses using testimony from experts in each field to address concerns and the story of a single parent to highlight the positive difference the program can make in a family’s life.