20 MayHappy Birthday ELAA – celebrating 30 years of service to members

Posted on 20 May 2021

Kindergarten Parents Victoria (now Early Learning Association Australia) was officially launched on 21 May 1991 by the then Premier, Joan Kirner.

Victorian Premier, Joan Kirner, launched KPV on 21 May 1991 at Collingwood Children’s Centre.


The organisation sprang from the vision and dedication of two  key founders – Marg Stephens and Karen Weston who, with other parents passionate about the right of children to access high quality education, formed a group called Parent Action for Kindergartens over 30 years ago.

The group worked with Victorian members of Parliament; the Office of Preschool and Childcare; and a variety of organisations such as the Australian Early Childhood Association and the Anglican and uniting Churches Early Childhood Industrial Council toward the formation of  a State-wide organisation. In May 1991, KPV was officially launched  Premier Joan Kirner at the Collingwood Children’s Centre.

From initially representing parent volunteer kindergarten  committees to a current membership representing the broader  early childhood sector, ELAA continues the mission of KPV and has grown in its capacity to support the needs of members through advocacy; industrial relations and management advice; professional development programs; training for committees; management resources; plus a range of member benefits and sector specific communications.


1989/90: Marg Stephens and Karen Weston form Parent  Action for Kindergartens (PAK) to ensure Victorian kindergartens survive the economic recession.

1990: October – December, PAK work with parliamentarians; Office of Preschool and Childcare; employer, and other early learning organisations on  the formation of a State-wide organisation.

1991: May, Kindergarten Parents Victoria (KPV)  officially launched by Victorian Premier, Joan Kirner.

1992: First paid KPV staff appointed – Executive Manager, Kathy Boyle, and Committee Support Coordinator, Sue Morrow.

1994: Kindergarten committees now have complex administrative responsibilities changing from a salary subsidy model to per capita funding.

1995: ECMS (Early Childhood Management Services) established in response to local governments need  for KPV to manage preschool enrolments and fee collections.

1997: First Kindergarten Parents Victoria/Lady Gowrie Conference for Early Childhood staff and committee members.

2001: Kirby Review acknowledges administrative burden faced by parent-run kindergarten committees.

2003: ECMS formally separated from KPV. Funding to support cluster management (now EYMs) of kindergartens introduced.

2009: Australian governments agree to implement national changes to improve quality and consistency  of early learning and care.

2012: National Quality Framework takes effect. KPV members vote to become Early Learning Association Australia (ELAA).

2013: All Australian four-year-olds funded to access  15 hours of kindergarten a week (for 40 weeks a year) delivered by a tertiary qualified early childhood teacher.

2018: The Victorian Labor Government announces a $5 billion commitment over the coming decade to ensure all three-year-old children in Victoria can attend up to 15 hours a week of universally funded 3-year-old kindergarten.

2021: After years of annual extensions and advocacy by ELAA the Federal Government announces four-year commitment to the Commonwealth funding portion of the National Partnership on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education.

Here’s a few memories over the past three decades.

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