New Integrated Early Learning Centre
About the project
We built an integrated early learning centre (IELC) for the local community. This project is part of the Shepparton Education Plan.
The centre offers kinder for three and four-year-olds, long day care services, and maternal and child health care for local families.
The centre is located at Mooroopna Primary School, with places for approximately 100 children. It has a single entry for the community to access early learning, primary school, adult learning, community spaces and health services. The school and IELC share some spaces, giving staff new opportunities to encourage learning, development and peer support.
The Mooroopna Children and Families Centre is one of 10 Our Place sites established across Victoria. The Our Place model supports an integrated learning community by creating a shared entrance between a government school and early learning centre.
By bringing together education, health and learning services, the centre aims to forge valuable links with families and the broader community as their children transition from early years to schooling.
The IELC will have:
- kindergarten for three and four-year-olds
- learning spaces with fenced outdoor play areas
- long day care services
- a large multipurpose community space
- maternal and child health rooms and facilities
- paediatrician and welfare rooms.
Our Place model
In 2012, the Colman Foundation partnered with the Department of Education (DE) at Doveton College to establish the Our Place model as a one-stop education and community services approach. Following the Doveton success, DET entered into a 10-year partnership agreement with the Colman Foundation.
- The model facilitates partnerships between early years and primary school providers to integrate and coordinate services.
- It offers a single entrance to the school and the early learning centre to promote engagement of families and support children as they transition from kindergarten to school.
- It uses shared spaces for community services, such as maternal and child health services (including access to GPs, paediatricians and immunisation programs) and formal and informal adult education, training, volunteering and job-seeking services.
- Parents gain access to tailored health and wellbeing services from a single location.
- It focuses on the value of schools as hubs of their communities. This includes providing a Community Engagement Facilitator onsite to help families and children connect with education and health services.
In the 2018-19 State Budget, $20.5 million has been allocated to the Shepparton Education Plan. This follows $1 million in planning funding in 2017-18. This early learning facility is part of the Shepparton Education Plan
Frequently asked questions
What is the Shepparton Education Plan?
The Department is delivering the Shepparton Education Plan to improve education for young people in Greater Shepparton from the early years, through primary to senior secondary years and beyond.
Achievement and engagement in education begins before children start school. For early childhood, the Education Plan seeks to improve the accessibility, quality and integration of early childhood services in Mooroopna.
What has been committed to the Shepparton Education Plan?
The Victorian Government has invested an initial $21.5 million in the Shepparton Education Plan. This has funded the design, development and site preparation works for Greater Shepparton Secondary College, as well as the design and construction of the integrated Early Learning Centre (IELC) at Mooroopna Primary School.
How will Greater Shepparton benefit from an integrated Early Learning Centre?
Readiness for school has been identified as a challenge and opportunity in the Greater Shepparton area. The latest Australian Early Development Census (2015) indicates that Greater Shepparton has a higher proportion of prep students identified as developmentally vulnerable compared with prep students across the State.
A high-quality kindergarten experience is the gateway to a life of learning. Kindergarten builds on the foundations laid at home and in other early learning services, and helps children to take the next step along their education journey. It sets children up to be ready for school and ready for life.
The Mooroopna IELC will give families access to high quality early learning, including kindergarten and long day care services from one place, with the benefit of having a local primary school close by.
These facilities have many positive benefits for families, schools and early-years practitioners, including:
- supporting a stable transition for children from early learning into primary school
- ditching the dreaded double-drop off for families
- stronger transfer of knowledge between early childhood and primary school educators.
The new IELC will improve readiness for school and the likelihood of experiencing success, both important elements in reducing the effects of disadvantage.
How was Mooroopna Primary School selected as the site for the IELC?
There is evidence that there are some significant challenges with children’s readiness for schooling in Mooroopna. This has the potential to be an enduring barrier in their future education. The IELC will support families to access a range of services and improve their children’s readiness for school. In so doing it will improve the prospects for greater engagement and success in their future learning.
The central location of Mooroopna Primary School in the town was a significant factor in selecting the site for the new IELC.
What will the integrated Early Learning Centre offer?
The IELC will be located on the Mooroopna Primary School site and will have capacity for approximately 100 children. The facility will have a single entry for the community to access early learning, primary school, adult learning and community spaces. The site will also provide shared spaces for school and IELC staff to encourage learning and development and peer support opportunities.
The Centre will provide facilities for community services such as maternal and child health (MCH) care in order to bring together education, health and learning services for the community. An integrated support service will aim to forge and maintain valuable links with families and the broader community as their children transition from early years to schooling.
This IELC will be provided with School Readiness Funding, an Australian-first $160 million needs-based equity funding program for Victoria’s littlest learners. This funding is now available in 25 local government areas, with Greater Shepparton in the first tranche. This funding provides for professional development opportunities for early learning staff, parent-engagement programs, and allied health support such as speech pathology and child psychology. It will help to ensure that every child gets the same start at school.
The IELC features:
- Three-Year-Old and Four-Year-Old Kindergarten
- Learning spaces with fenced outdoor play
- Long day care services
- Large multipurpose community space
- MCH rooms and facilities
- Paediatrician and welfare rooms
The Department worked in conjunction with Gray Puksand architects to design the IELC.
What is the Colman Foundation?
The Colman Foundation, established in 2005, is a philanthropic organisation that supports the achievement of improved social outcomes by placing education at the heart of a disadvantaged community.
The Colman Foundation developed the ‘Our Place’ approach to promote positive education outcomes for children and families in disadvantaged communities.
What is the Our Place model?
In November 2017, the Department of Education signed a partnership agreement with the Colman Foundation to establish ten Our Place sites across Victoria.
The Our Place model creates a shared entrance between the government school and early learning centre, and provides facilities where parents and families can access a range of services including early childhood, school and adult education. Delivery of these services is facilitated by the Colman Foundation and provides families with access to a range of education and support services at a single location.
The Our Place model supports the establishment of an integrated learning community to improve social and educational outcomes for families and children.
Key features of an ‘Our Place’ model will:
- Facilitate partnerships between early years and primary school providers to integrate and coordinate services
- Have a single point of entry to promote engagement of more families and support children in their transition from kindergarten to school
- Use shared spaces for community services, such as adult activities, volunteering opportunities, and on-site access for formal and informal adult education, training and job-seeking services
- Give parents better access to tailored health and wellbeing services
- Focus and drive the value of schools as the hub of the community. This includes providing a Community Engagement Facilitator on-site to assist families and children to connect to these services.
Who will operate the new Mooroopna IELC?
The Department is working to finalise operating arrangements for 2021 and beyond. Once confirmed, information will be communicated to the Greater Shepparton community.
What will be offered at the IELC?
The Victorian Government is investing almost $5 billion over the next decade to deliver 15 hours of Three-Year-Old Kindergarten a week, with the roll-out beginning in 2020. The Mooroopna IELC will offer the new Three-Year-Old Kindergarten from 2022.
The Mooroopna IELC will also offer Maternal and Child Health services for all families. Extra support will be available for parents with babies who were born prematurely or with a low birth weight, children with a disability or parents experiencing mental health issues. The centre will offer a welfare room, paediatric room and long day care services to support parents and families with their commitments.
How will the centre be regulated?
Services for children are regulated to ensure children are protected from harm and they have the best opportunity for learning and development.
There are two different regulatory schemes operating in Victoria.
Most early childhood education and care services are regulated under the National Quality Framework. These services are defined as any service providing or intending to provide education and care on a regular basis to children under the age of 13 years.
In addition, several services operate under the Victorian children’s services legislation. These services are generally occasional care services, mobile services, budget-based services not funded for Child Care Benefit or school holiday care programs.
The Department of Education is the overarching regulatory authority for education and care and children's services operating in Victoria. The Department is expected to undertake the full range of functions and powers to promote the safety, health and well-being of children attending education and care and children’s services.
These schemes and regulations are implemented by the Department to ensure children are protected from harm and that their opportunities for learning and development are maximised.
You can find out more about the regulatory framework and Department .
What support can I access as a parent?
The kindergarten fee subsidy provides children with access to up to 15 hours of funded kindergarten delivered by a qualified early childhood teacher for free or at low cost.
The Early Start Kindergarten provides free kindergarten for eligible three-year-old children.
Reviewed 29 December 2022