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Best Start

Best Start is a Department of Education funded, place-based initiative which brings together formal collaborations between local agencies and service providers across Victoria. Best Start partnerships work towards locally identified goals focused on strengthening early childhood services for Victorian children and families.

What do Best Start partnerships do?

Best Start commenced in 2002 and the initiative exists in 30 sites across Victoria, with six run in partnership with local Aboriginal communities. Best Start partnerships use local data and community knowledge to identify and overcome barriers to participation in early childhood services for children experiencing disadvantage, and all Aboriginal children.

Who can be involved?

Multiple agencies are and can be involved in Best Start including:

  •  Council services
  • Staff and providers from kindergartens/long daycare services
  • Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations
  • Community health workers
  • Department of Education Area staff

Agencies and organisations who aren’t linked with Best Start who are working with children and families in the early years space are encouraged to engage with their local Best Start to share referral pathways, engagement strategies and contribute to highly impactful local collaboration. Seethe contact information below.

What support is available?

Best Start partnerships focus on ensuring children experiencing disadvantage and all Aboriginal children are supported to increase their participation in quality early learning experiences, including:

  • Kindergarten
  • Supported Playgroups
  • Maternal and child health services.

What are some of the outcomes from Best Start?

The Centre for Community Child Health produces a series of papers to capture some of the learnings and outcomes from Best Start partnerships. They outline approaches which have been effective in increasing engagement in early years services, including:

  • How to facilitate quality improvement
  • How to increase participation in early years services
  • Ideas for improving kindergarten participation

The series provides some excellent examples of simple local strategies such as ways to boost Early Start Kindergarten enrolment, increase interpreter use in early education services and more. Access them here!


If you would like to locate or contact a local Best Start site please email: beststart@education.vic.gov.au