Early Childhood

In recent years there has been increased recognition in Australia and internationally of the importance of early childhood development.


A major international policy focus has been investment into early childhood programs and services to create a solid foundation for future learning and development.

VAEAI has consistently advocated for accessible, high quality early childhood services that are culturally inclusive for Koorie families. We continue to monitor the progress of early childhood strategies and programs for Koorie families and provide government with policy advice about the needs of our communities.


 VAEAI recognises that early years services represent the first time that Koorie families are entrusting the care of their children outside of the family. Culturally inclusive services are more likely to attract Koorie families and provide a welcoming, positive experience in preparing Koorie children for school.


Historically Koorie children have participated in early childhood services at a lower rate than non-Koorie children which has impacted on their readiness for school.

In recent years there have been two major positives in Koorie early years services:

  • An increase in the creation and development of Koorie specific early years services, and concurrently;
  • An increase in the number of Koorie enrolments in early years services.

VAEAI’s continuing goal is to ensure that all Koorie families have access to early childhood services that are:

  • accessible,
  • culturally appropriate,
  • responsive to the needs of Koorie children,
  • provide a strong foundation for Koorie children to begin school.

VAEAI works in partnership on Koorie Early Childhood development with government departments including:

  • Victorian Department of Education and Training (DET),
  • Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS),
  • Commonwealth Department of Education (DoE),
  • The Education Council (formerly the Standing Council on School Education and Early Childhood).

We also work with Aboriginal organisations that support Koorie families including:

  • Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC). VAEAI’s President sits on the executive.
  • Victorian Aboriginal Community Services Association Limited (VACSAL)
  • Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO)
  • Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA)

VAEAI provides advice on the services and resources Koorie families need for their children in the Early Years. VAEAI also provides advice on the training and career development of the Koorie Education Workforce.

VAEAI’s concept of “school ready” is a confident Koorie child who has gained the learning skills to enter primary school prepared. We also want Koorie children to be secure in and proud of their cultural identity.

*If you are searching for information on the Indigenous Professional Support Unit (IPSU), please click here.