Back to Impact Stories

Merri Health

  • Project: Ready, Set, Prep!
  • Amount: $200,000 over two years
  • Year(s) Funded: 2021

Improving early childhood development, school readiness and life outcomes for vulnerable children

The pathway to school readiness requires collaboration across the system as a whole – between schools, services and communities, to provide an environment that ensures all children start school ready. Ready, Set, Prep! prepares children and their families for a great start to primary school, by working with community members, primary schools and early years providers to support early learning, family engagement and transition to primary school.

Participants at a community workshop. Photo: courtesy Merri Health.

“There are huge gaps for migrants, they don’t have much information about the school system here and they can struggle to find the information”


As the backbone organisation, Merri Health will build on the success of the Ready, Set Prep! pilot school readiness program to scale up the program in northern Moreland. The area is a multicultural community, with 43.1% of residents born overseas and around half of those having arrived in Australia within the last five years. Cultural diversity brings many rich benefits to the community; however, with such a high proportion of newly arrived families, many experience difficulties navigating services and the education system, which may be very different from their country of origin.

School readiness is a practical strategy to close the learning gap and improve equity in achieving lifelong learning and full developmental potential among young children. Ready, Set, Prep! is a highly collaborative model that is co-designed and informed by extensive community consultation and supported by over 40 participating partners. The funding will enable employment of a bi/multilingual Community Engagement Officer.

Engaging Community Champions and involving community members in working groups and governance structures will ensure strategies meet the needs of the local community. The scale up of the program will result in improved early years service quality and access, and continuity of learning and educational opportunities, including the improvement and expansion of primary school transition programs in at least five kindergartens and schools in Glenroy and Hadfield, over 2 years.

Facilitation of two targeted interventions will engage the most vulnerable children in northern Moreland. The development of a new monitoring and evaluation framework will enable better tracking of long-term impact.!