Access to Early Learning

The Access to Early Learning Program (AEL) provides free support to eligible families and children to assist with access to the Early Start Kindergarten (ESK) program and to work together with families to meet their parenting goals and link with appropriate services.

Access to this program is via professional referral only, eligibility criteria applies.

For more information or to refer please contact the Access to Early Learning Facilitator

Ph: 9747 5739

AEL program brochure for families(PDF, 473KB) 
AEL program brochure for professionals(PDF, 658KB)

What is Access to Early Learning?

Access to Early Learning (AEL) is a high-intensity program funded by the Department of Education and Training (DET) and is delivered by an experienced AEL Facilitator over a 12-month period.

The program supports families experiencing vulnerability to participate in Early Start Kindergarten (ESK) and build confidence in their parenting.

There is a capacity of 16 families who can be supported by the AEL Facilitator. 

How can AEL support families?

The Access to Early Learning Program will:

  • assist the family to enrol and sustain engagement in an early childhood education and care program.
  • work with the family to identify and address barriers to participation.
  • conduct outreach visits and in-home visits to help parents to reach parenting goals and gain confidence in supporting their child’s development and learning.
  • support educators to develop the skills and knowledge to respond to the needs of children and families experiencing vulnerability.
  • work in collaboration with professionals and educators to emphasise family-centred, child-focused, and strength-based strategies.

What is the eligibility criteria for AEL?

AEL Children must be aged three by 30 April to participate in an early start kindergarten program for that year. Eligible ESK families must meet two or more of the following criteria: 

  • family or children known to Child Protection
  • include a parent with an intellectual or physical disability
  • a history of mental health issues
  • a history of family violence
  • a history of sexual assault
  • a history of alcohol and/or drug abuse 

What is the eligibility criteria for ESK?

Early Start Kindergarten (ESK) provides eligible children with 15 hours of free or low-cost kindergarten each week. ESK is available to children who are at least three years old by 30 April in the year they are enrolled to attend the program and meet the below eligibility criteria:

  • Children from a Refugee or Asylum Seeker background, or
  • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, or
  • Family known to child protection.

Who can make a referral to AEL?

Access to the AEL program is via professional referral from the below:

  • Child Protection practitioners
  • ChildFIRST & Family Services professionals
  • Enhanced MCH Nurses
  • relevant service when the family is engaged with one or more of the above