Enrolment of Children with a Birth Date Between 1 January and 30 April – Early or Late Entry to Kindergarten
- All children are eligible to access a funded kindergarten program in the year before school. Families of children with birth dates between 1 January and 30 April have a choice about whether their child will commence school in the year they turn five or the following year, and therefore whether they commence kindergarten in the year they turn four or the year they turn five. Some children may benefit from starting school at a younger age, whilst other children benefit from starting later. Families need to make an informed choice about which year they would like their child to commence school.
- Prior to enrolment, families with children born between 1 January and 30 April need to consider when it’s appropriate to send their child to Kindergarten and to choose carefully, as children are only funded for one year of kindergarten before school (unless they are eligible for an Early Start Kindergarten grant or a second year of funded kindergarten). Once a child has begun to attend the service, the child is accessing their funded year of kindergarten.
- Families who have questions about the best time for their child to commence kindergarten, and therefore school, should be encouraged to discuss this decision with an early childhood educator, Maternal and Child Health nurse, and/or any other professionals involved in supporting the child prior to commencement in the service. A discussion with an early childhood teacher can help reassure concerned families by discussing how a child’s individual learning and development needs can be met within the program.
- During the year an early childhood teacher and the child’s parent/guardians will work together on a plan for the child’s transition to school. All children, regardless of age, are eligible to access a second year of funded kindergarten if an early childhood teacher has identified developmental delays in two or more areas and the family and educator agree that the child will achieve better outcomes at kindergarten than at school.
Can my child attend 3-year old kindergarten if they turn 3 years old just after April 30th cut off?
No. Children must have turned three years of age before 30 April in the year of attendance to be eligible for the 3-year old kindergarten program. Families with a child not yet 3 years old, who wish to hold a place in a 3-year old group until the child’s birthday, are required to pay the full-term fees until such time as the child turns 3 and can attend the program.
Can my child attend 4-year old kindergarten if they turn 4 years old just after April 30th cut off?
No. In Victoria, kindergarten or preschool is the year before school entry as per eligibility guidelines set out by the Department of Education and Training (DET). Children are eligible to attend kindergarten if they turn four years of age before 30 April in the year of attendance.
My child doesn’t turn three until midway through the first term of kinder – can they start at the beginning of the kindergarten year with the other children?
No. Children must be three years of age before commencing the program. For example, if your child turns three on April 12th, then they can commence kindergarten on April 12th, not before.
My child is too young to start the three-year-old kinder session. Can I attend the kindergarten session with them until they have turned three years of age?
No. The Children’s Services Regulations 2009 section (53) regarding ratios between staff/children stipulate that for children under three years of age, a ratio of staff per child is 1:4. In contrast, for children over three years of age, the ratio of staff per child is 1:11. Therefore if a child under the age of three was to attend kindergarten, an additional staff member would be required, a situation that is not practicable under the current organisational model.
Kindergarten Fee Subsidy
The Kindergarten Fee Subsidy enables eligible children to attend a funded kindergarten program for 15 hours free of charge, if any of the following circumstances are applicable:
- the child is identified by a parent, carer or legal guardian as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander (note: the parent, carer or legal guardian should not be asked to provide verification of this)
- the child is identified on their birth certificate as being a multiple birth child (triplets or more)
- the child individually holds, or has a parent or guardian who holds one of the following:
- a Commonwealth Health Care Card
- a Commonwealth Pensioner Concession Card
- a Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold Card or White Card
- Refugee visa (subclass 200)
- In-country Special Humanitarian visa (subclass 201)
- Global Special Humanitarian visa (subclass 202)
- Temporary Humanitarian Concern visa (subclass 786)
- Protection visa (subclass 866)
- Emergency Rescue visa (subclass 203)
- Woman at risk visa (subclass 204)
- Bridging visas A-E.
Early Start Kindergarten Grants
Aboriginal children and children known to Child Protection are eligible for Early Start Kindergarten (ESK) grants. Funding is available to these children to attend kindergarten two years before school, to improve access and overcome barriers to participation.
ESK is available for children who are 3 years old by 30 April in the year they are enrolled to attend the program and who are either:
- Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, or
- Children known to Child Protection or have been referred by Child Protection to Child FIRST
More information can be found on the DET website:
Second Year of Funded Kindergarten
During the kindergarten year, the early childhood teacher and he child’s parents will work together to plan for the child’s transition to school. In exceptional circumstances where are child observed to display delays in key outcome areas of learning and developments, a second year of funded kindergarten may be considered when:
- The kindergarten program is deemed to be the most appropriate learning program and environment for that individual child
- The child will achieve better outcomes at kindergarten than if they go to school
Please be aware that children born between January and April that are deemed “young”: will not be automatically granted funding for a second year of 4-year old kindergarten. All children need to be assessed as having at least two areas of developmental delay that are not age related.
If required, further consultation may be undertaken with the early childhood development professionals to complete the assessment. If eligible the child’s kindergarten teacher, with the consent of, and in consultation with the child’s parent/guardians will complete a declaration and submit to DET in term three.
What support is available for children with additional needs?
The Department of Education and Training (DET) provides extra resources for Government funded kindergartens to help make them more inclusive. This is called the Kindergarten Inclusion Support program (KIS).
The extra resources are focused on supporting children with:
- a disability and high support needs
- complex medical needs
- a disability or developmental delay and without identified high support needs.
Support from KIS is in on top of existing resources available to the kindergartens and may not cover all costs.
Inclusive kindergartens help foster a sense of belonging and respect individuality and diversity. This leads to better learning, development and well-being outcomes in a child’s early years.
Does my child need to be toilet trained?
No, children cannot be excluded from attending kindergarten because they are not toilet trained. However, Highmount Preschool strongly encourages to have your child toilet trained before they begin kindergarten – managing their own toileting and hygiene is an important part of a child’s independence and confidence