Media Release


Families in the Yarra Ranges will have access to bigger and better kindergartens, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government.

Deputy Premier and Member for Monbulk James Merlino today visited Kallista Kindergarten to officially open the new expanded centre, cutting a special paper-chain celebratory ribbon created by children at the kinder.

The $250,000 upgrade will improve the quality of the service’s facility, fix accessibility issues and expand and improve programs the kinder can offer local families.

It includes renovating the centre’s veranda, and building a new accessible entrance, a new larger administration area office suitable for family consultations, and upgrading bathrooms and storage areas.

Kallista Kindergarten runs kinder programs for three and four year-old children and can accommodate up to 48 children.

The Government is delivering a record $70 million to build, expand and upgrade kinders across Victoria to ensure local families can continue to access great local kindergartens.

Yarra Ranges families will also benefit from the Government’s $202 million Education State Early Childhood Reform Plan, announced in this year’s Budget.

This ground-breaking reform plan recognises the importance of providing families with strong support in early childhood, so kids are ready for kinder and ready for school.

It will mean local parents can access improved parenting support and Maternal and Child Health Services, as well as higher quality and more inclusive kindergartens.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino

“Our unprecedented investment in early childhood services is supporting children and families and ensuring that every child gets access to quality early years programs.”

“We’re investing in first-rate education facilities for Yarra Ranges families because having great facilities makes a big difference to children’s lives.”

Media Contact: John Ronan 0408 542 547 | John.Ronan@minstaff.vic.gov.au




Kallista Kindergarten’s Nature Kinder program getting children outdoors

May 7, 2016 12:00am
Free Press Leader


Kallista preschool kids enjoying the bush kinder program at the George Tindall Gardens. Picture: Stuart Milligan

DIRT doesn’t hurt.

That’s what children at Kallista’s “bush kinder” are learning each week.

As part of Kallista Kindergarten’s Nature Kinder program, kids spend one day a week frolicking in the George Tindale Memorial Gardens in Sherbrooke, where sticks, stones, leaves and wild imaginations form their toy chest.

Kinder teacher Rose Major said since the program began three years ago, parents have flocked from across the outer east to give their kids the chance to get up close and personal with nature.

A Nature Playgroup for younger children was set up last year due to popular demand.

“The kinder is now drawing enrolments from as far afield as Ferntree Gully, Boronia and even Wantirna South,” Ms Major said.

Upper Ferntree Gully mum Angela Tettamanti chose to send her son Oliver, 4, to Kallista Kindergarten because of the program.

c7f714485df051acf089c2eb5ea8e238Kids have fun among the leaves. Picture: Stuart Milligan

“I love that he is learning respect for creatures and plants, and that he is developing an understanding of seasons, not from books or looking out a window, but from actually being in nature,” she said.

“He is able to experience nature more as I would have as a child — no technology, just imagination, risk-taking and creating his own adventure.”

Ms Major said there was research to suggest there were many benefits for children’s health and development from regular outdoor play sessions.

The kinder has also linked with other local community groups, including the EPIC Project which launched a permaculture and children’s garden in the George Tindale Gardens last week.

For more information, phone the kinder on 9755 2647.

 May 26, 2015wpid-MAY26Kinde_139491_01-250x163
Senator Scott Ryan and Casey MP Tony Smith at the Kallista kindergarten.

PRESCHOOLERS at the Kallista Kindergarten are now learning Japanese as part of the Australian Government’s $9.8 million Early Learning Languages Australia (ELLA) trial.
Scott Ryan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education and Training, and Casey MP Tony Smith visited the Kallista Kindergarten last week.
The kindergarten is one of 41 pre-schools across Australia taking part in the trial to explore new ways to help children learn languages other than English.
The ELLA trial will comprise seven applications (otherwise known as apps) to teach pre-schoolers basic Mandarin, Japanese, Indonesian, French or Arabic language skills.
Senator Ryan said the ELLA trial is designed to give pre-schoolers the opportunity to recognise different sounds and language concepts.
“Children are growing up in an increasingly competitive and globalised world,” Senator Ryan said.
“The Australian Government is committed to increasing the number of students studying a language.”
Mr Smith said he was delighted local children were selected to take part in the trial.
“It’s great to see our election commitment fulfilled and that Casey children are benefitting from this language trial,” Mr Smith said.
“I thank the staff at the Kallista Kindergarten for their help with this ground-breaking trial.”
Seven language-specific apps, in five different languages, will be progressively rolled out to the trial pre-schools throughout this year.
These exciting new apps will give children the opportunity to develop recognition of the different sounds and concepts of a language other than English through play-based learning.
For more information about the ELLA trial, visit www.education.gov.au

Kallista Kindergarten revamp, extension pledged…
IT’S bursting at the seams, but an election promise of $250,000 from the Labor Party could mean the Kallista Kindergarten could receive a much- needed revamp and extension.
Monbulk MP James Merlino along with Shadow Minister for Children, Jenny Mikakos, visited the preschool last week to much fanfare.
As Mr Merlino rang the doorbell, screams of “he’s here, the man is here” rang out through the hallways.
He was then treated to his very own personal tour of the grounds of the kindergarten.
“I like your red tie,” one excited boy said.
“It’s the same colour as my jumper.”
Ms Mikakos also arrived to meet some excited teachers at the kinder.
She said the Labor Party, if elected, would extend Kallista Kindergarten, creating an additional kinder room, new foyer and upgraded kitchen, office and toilet areas.
“Labor will support young families and their kids as they begin the most important years of their lives.”
Mr Merlino echoed their excitement.
“I’m a kinder dad and I know that to get our kids the best start in life, it starts with the best facilities at kinder,” he said.
“Labor’s plan to make Victoria the education state begins here, starting with fixing Kallista Kindergarten.”
Kinder president Sandy Kuecher said it was fantastic news.
“We have been struggling to meet the growing need of the area,” she said.
“We’re at capacity now, so to be able to have an extra room means that we can provide a much-needed service to local kids.”
Ms Kuecher said the teachers at the kinder had a fabulous reputation in the area and was one of the many reasons that Kallista was so popular.
“We’re leading the way in a number of other ways too,” she said.
“Our nature kids program is something no one else in the hills is doing yet.”

11 NOV 14
Media Release



8 NOV 14
Preschools to set the tone for language trials

Home > The Hon Sussan Ley MP > Preschools to set the tone for language trials
Saturday 8 November 2014
Media Release
The Hon Sussan Ley MP
Assistant Minister for Education
Forty preschools across Australia have been selected from more than 1000 applicants to take part in the Abbott Government’s trial of a second language in the year before school in 2015.

Assistant Minister for Education Sussan Ley today unveiled the full list of successful preschools for the $9.8 million Early Learning Languages Australia (ELLA) trial, which will use play‑based apps to help generate interest in language studies that can be built on in later schooling.

Ms Ley said the strong response to the trial – 1118 preschools in total – ensured a diverse representation of preschools involving every state and territory.

“Our children are now techsperts from early on, particularly with the vast array of interactive early education applications and games that are now available at their fingertips,” Ms Ley said.

“This play-based approach is therefore a fun and easy way to get our kids interested in learning skills for life, such as a language other than English, from early on in their education journey.

“These trials show the Australian public is clearly interested in the Government’s broader plans to promote participation in language studies from the early years through to year 12.

“And it’s easy to see why, when the proportion of Year 12 students studying a language other than English has dropped from about 40 per cent in the 1960s to about 12 per cent today.

“We also hope it will give our kids an early insight into other cultures and help promote inclusive communities, given almost one-in-five Australians speak a language other than English at home*.”

Ms Ley said there would be a total of 12 trial sites in NSW, nine in Victoria, eight in Queensland, five in WA, three in SA, and one each in Tasmania, the NT and the ACT.

This includes a mix of metropolitan, regional and remote trial sites across various preschool models, including government-run, standalone community-based and long day care, she said.

Ms Ley said each preschool would trial one of five languages – Mandarin, Japanese, Indonesian, Arabic or French – with the final language allocation to be confirmed before trials start next year.

“I would like to thank everyone who applied to participate in the trial. We’re essentially talking about one-in-seven preschools in Australia – a fantastic result,” Ms Ley said.

Ms Ley said the ELLA software was currently in the development phase and the first series of apps would be ready to be rolled out in time for the trials beginning early next year.


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A child-centred 3 and 4-year old kindergarten program inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education