Welcome to Highmount Preschool.
Due to COVID-19 and as per DET guidelines and restrictions, we are unfortunately unable to provide tours for prospective families (including individual parents and after hours) nor are we able to provide on-site parent information sessions. Therefore, we are bringing you our virtual tour along with answers to frequently asked questions. If you do have any questions that are not addressed below, please contact our team on 9802 2812 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
We are here to help you.
Can you tell me about the education program?
The educational program at Highmount Preschool is guided by the principles and outcomes outlined within the Victorian Early Years Framework (VEYLDF) and the National Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) – Belonging, Being and Becoming. Teachers and educators strive to create an engaging, interactive, inclusive and supportive learning environment where each child’s learning and development opportunities are maximised through our high-quality play-based curriculum.
Our program aims to nurture, support, inspire, celebrate and respect each individual child so that they may develop positive dispositions for learning, social competence, self-concept and emotional wellbeing. Therefore, our curriculum and pedagogy is constantly evolving in response to children’s changing needs and interests, parental and community interests and concerns, and teachers’ understanding and approaches to pedagogy. Each of these key elements shapes the direction for future learning.
Our program provides children with rich, authentic and meaningful experiences that support them to connect with and contribute to their world as they engage with community, culture and nature, and find fun and joy in learning. Educators facilitate children’s learning and development through responsive and respectful relationships, intentional teaching, and inspiring and engaging play experiences.
Could you provide more information on the 3-year program?
The 3-Year-Old Program at Highmount Preschool invites children to discover the joy and wonder the world has to hold and foster a love of learning that they will carry with them throughout life. At three and four years old, children love to explore, experiment, create, connect with others and delight in the world around them. They are full of energy and curiosity. Our program recognises these wonderful characteristics and seeks to nurture, celebrate and develop them.
Through warm and respectful relationships and a supportive and engaging play experiences, we support each child to grow physically, socially, cognitively, emotionally, and creatively. The three-year-old program also places great importance of ensuring each child achieves a sense of belonging. The Early Years Learning Framework explains the importance of belonging:
“Experiencing belonging – knowing where and with whom you belong – is integral to human existence. Children belong first to a family, a cultural group, a neighbourhood and a wider community. Belonging acknowledges children’s interdependence with others and the basis of relationships in defining identities. In early childhood, and throughout life, relationships are crucial to a sense of belonging. Belonging is central to being and becoming in that it shapes who children are and who they can become.”
We support each child to connect with their peers, teachers, and the Preschool community in ways that promote a positive sense of self, inclusion and emotional and social wellbeing.
Can you provide more information on the 4-year program?
The Kindergarten year is a very special year for your child as they meet new challenges, go on adventures, experience new things, and open their minds even further to the possibilities that life holds for them. With this in mind, we know how important our role is in ensuring Kindergarten is where they find their love of learning and experience learning as fun. We strive to nurture, support, inspire each child and show them how capable they are and how amazing the world is when you are a seeker of knowledge and understanding.
At four and five years old the children come to Kindergarten with volumes of knowledge, a wide range of skill sets, and lived experiences that will inform and transform their play. They are seekers of knowledge and understanding, risk takers, adventurers, natural scientists, code-breakers, problem solvers, artists, friends, and authors of their own stories. Throughout their Kindergarten year they will be supported and encouraged to explore all of these identities through engaging, fun, inspiring and meaningful experiences that will help them to become effective and confident learners and strong in their social and emotional wellbeing.
Social and Emotional Learning
Social and emotional learning helps children learn the competencies and skills needed to build resilience and effectively manage their emotions, behaviour and relationships with others. Through relationships with others, children cultivate expectations and understandings about their world and the people in it and are developing their first:
- understanding and sense of self and their capabilities
- social skills to get along in life with others
- emotional skills such as effectively identifying, understanding, expressing and managing a wide range of feelings.
These first experiences, understandings, skills are crucial as they form the foundations for children’s ongoing development and impact their mental health and wellbeing, now and into the future.
At Highmount Preschool we support the children to engage in social and emotional learning by:
- providing opportunities for role play where children can explore aspects of identity, make sense of things they may have seen and practise social roles and skills.
- intentionally teaching children to identify their emotions and the emotional responses of those around them.
- helping children to build and maintain positive relationships by learning about kindness, care and empathy.
- engaging children in group projects and play experiences to support their ability to work co-operatively with others.
- teaching the children techniques for coping with stress and worry.
- engaging children in regular mindfulness experiences.
- forming secure and trusting relationships with each child and modelling pro-social behaviour, problem solving skills and empathy and kindness.
- Using texts and media to support children’s emotional literacy development.
- inviting the children to walk with us on our journey towards reconciliation. We are committed to reconciliation and contributing to a better Australia where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and all other Australians participate in an equitable and fair society, free from prejudice and persecution.
- exploring the culture, heritage, backgrounds and traditions of each child within the context of their community.
- planning experiences and providing resources that broaden children’s perspectives and encourage appreciation of diversity.
Literacy and Numeracy
Literacy and numeracy are essential skills for all children to develop. At Highmount Preschool we support each child to become literate and numerate through engaging play experience, explicit teaching, real tools, a print rich environment, a language rich environment and a diverse and inclusive understanding of the different ways that humans communicate.
Our program encourages children to connect with literacy and numeracy at their own pace and to use their knowledge, skills and understandings in contexts that are authentic and reflect real life.
The following experiences and approaches are embedded in our program to support each child’s literacy and numeracy learning and development at Highmount Preschool:
- Engaging children in meaningful and sustained conversations.
- Valuing children’s linguistic heritage and encouraging the use of and acquisition of home languages and Standard Australian English.
- Encouraging and facilitating communication between peers.
- Dramatic play experience that invite children to use oral language, movement, print and music to express themselves and create scripts for their play.
- Space and materials that support children to engage in mark making and writing.
- Open-ended art experiences that support children to express themselves creatively and use art as language.
- A print rich environment that invites children to engage with text, images and symbols and build their print awareness and visual literacy.
- Spaces and experiences that celebrate books and foster a love of reading and story-telling experiences.
- Interactive story-time experiences that support children to develop emergent literacy skills.
- Access to real mathematical tools and concrete materials that support children to engage with mathematical concepts and language.
- Opportunities to solve problems and use number in creative and meaningful ways.
Developing Skills and Dispositions for Learning
As children engage with our program and the environment at Highmount Preschool they are supported to develop key dispositions and skills for effective learning. Together with their educators they imagine, create, investigate, explore, experiment, wonder and reflect. Each child is supported to be active and confident in their play and to make decisions and share ideas and interests that drive and influence their learning and development. We seek to empower each child to become a highly capable, confident and effective learner by:
- inviting children to collaborate with educators when planning experiences.
- ensuring children have access to high quality resources that facilitate learning through play.
- using children’s interests as a vehicle for learning and planning for all learning styles.
- supporting children to explore and connect with the natural world, and to take on roles of responsibility and care as we teach them about sustainable living.
- providing a high-quality science program that invites children to experiment, investigate and explore through hands-on experiences.
- taking an integrated approach to learning as we understand that one experience can present many avenues for the development of dispositions, skills and knowledge.
- incorporating meaningful incursions and excursions in our program that support each child to progress in their learning and development.
Partnerships with Families
‘…Parents’ attitudes, behaviours, and actions in relation to their children’s education have a substantial impact on student learning and educational attainment.’ (Emerson, L., Fear. J., Fox, S., and Sanders, E. 2012
At Highmount Preschool we work in partnership with families/caregivers to achieve the best possible outcomes for each child. We strive to make this partnership visible in our program and ensure that families/caregivers are supported to contribute to the program in meaningful and real ways. Through relationships and partnerships, we ensure that different preferences, perspectives, and interests are heard, valued, respected, and included. Utilising family knowledge and understanding, resources, and strengths assists shared decision making for children in the early childhood service.
We support families/caregivers to be active participants in their children’s learning and development at Kindergarten by:
- asking families/caregivers to share important information regarding their child, including their interests, strengths, aspirations for their child, family and cultural values, and ways that we can best support their child.
- seeking ongoing authentic feedback and input regarding our program that will be used to improve outcomes for all children.
- sharing diverse ways of being knowing so that we can honour and celebrate the culture, identity, and capabilities of each child.
- inviting families/caregivers to share their skills, expertise and experiences in ways that enrich our program.
- inviting families/caregivers to support our program as a ‘helper’ or through ‘stay and play experiences’.
- celebrating community events with families/caregivers in ways that are respectful, inclusive, and culturally appropriate.
- asking families/caregivers to share stories. Sharing stories enables us to better know your family and your children and are a springboard for discussion and reflection with your child and others. Shared stories are also a great way to foster the relationship between home and kindergarten and encourage a sense of belonging. They also help to develop language and literacy skills.
How does Highmount Preschool facilitate the transition to school?
At Highmount Preschool we understand the transition to school as an active process of continuity and change that is facilitated by families/caregivers, the kindergarten service and primary schools, in the context of secure and supportive relationships. The process of transition occurs over time, beginning in the first term of Kindergarten and extending to the first year of school.
Throughout the year we will support each child to make a positive transition to school by:
- gathering information about each child’s learning and development from a wide range of sources and taking a strength-based approach when analysing and using this data to achieve the best possible outcome for all children.
- working in consultation and partnership with children, families, and professionals to support each child’s transition.
- supporting each child to manage change and build resilience as they develop and try out a range of skills and strategies while moving between contexts.
- facilitating reciprocal visits from Prep teachers and local school children so that transition occurs in the contexts of secure and supportive relationships.
- ensuring we provide schools with a comprehensive picture of each child so that they can better prepare and plan for their first year at school.
- supporting each child to develop their social competency, emotional wellbeing as well as key dispositions and skills for learning so that they feel confident to meet the challenges, new experiences, and adventure that Primary School has to offer.
- developing detailed Transition Learning and Development Statements that celebrate the strengths of each child and suggests ways teachers can act to ensure they are fully supported and engaged throughout their Prep year.
We understand that starting school is a major life transition for both children and their families, that is why we are committed that the children at Highmount Preschool are given every opportunity to make a positive and effective transition to school.
What are your program and session times.
Is 3-Year Old kindergarten funded?
The Victorian Government is investing almost $5 billion over ten years so that children across the state will have access to two years of funded kindergarten programs.
This means that an extra year of play-based learning will be added to Victorian children’s education.
Victoria will be the first state or territory in Australia to introduce funded Three-Year-Old Kindergarten for all children.
Funded Three-Year-Old Kindergarten will become available in stages. From 2022, three-year-olds residing in the City of Monash will have access to five hours in a kindergarten program led by a teacher.
The hours will then progressively increase up to the full 15-hour program by 2029.
Further information on 3-year old funded kindergarten can be located at https://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/programs/Pages/three-year-old-kinder.aspx
What are the school fees?
Three-Year-Old – 6 Hours per Week / 2 x 3-hour session
$530.00 per term
Refundable Maintenance Levy $125.00 per family, per year.
Four-Year-Old – 15 hours per week
The 4-year-old kindergarten program is partially funded by the Victorian Government.
$510.00 per term
Refundable Maintenance Levy $125.00 per family, per year.
Note: Concession Card Holders are not required to pay the Non-Refundable Kindergarten Fee Deposit and the Refundable Maintenance Levy.
What is the Kindergarten Fee Subsidy (KFS)?
The Kindergarten Fee Subsidy is provided by DET and enables eligible children to attend 15 hours of kindergarten free of charge. Eligibility conditions may change from time-to-time and must be checked in the most recent edition of the Kindergarten Funding Guide (refer to Sources).
Families may be eligible for the Kindergarten Fee Subsidy in the year before school if their child:
- is Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander; or
- holds, or has a parent/guardian who holds a Humanitarian or refugee Visa; or
- is a multiple birth child (triplets or more); or
- holds, or has a parent who holds a Commonwealth Health Care Card, Pensioner Concession Card or Veteran’s Affairs Card.
Supporting documentation should be sighted by the service on acceptance of a place or on commencement in the program, however where there are delays, such as in obtaining health care cards for children in out-of-home care, the delay should not provide a barrier to the child accessing the Kindergarten Fee Subsidy. Families are eligible for the Kindergarten Fee Subsidy for the full term in which their concession is valid. Contact the service for further information.
Families can find more information on the Department of Education and Training (DET) website at www.education.vic.gov.au/kindergarten
What is the Refundable Maintenance Levy?
Refundable Maintenance Levy: The participation of parents/guardians is encouraged by the service and can help to keep costs more affordable. These projects, which parents are asked to assist with, are intended to improve the facilities available to the children and promote a positive community within the Preschool environment. Payment will be refunded to parents/guardians on participation in 2 specified activities which include a working bee and/or fundraising BBQ. Eligible concession card holders will not be required to pay this levy.
Please note ‘kinder duty’ during kinder session times cannot be claimed as refundable time against this levy. The levy is not intended to be a barrier to participation and families experiencing financial difficulties should discuss this with the service.
My child turns 3 years old before 30th April. Can they still attend the 3-year old program?
- Children must be three years old before they can commence sessions. This is due to different child/teacher ratio regulations for children under three years old.
- Enrolment may be accepted for children who will be three (3) years old by the 30th of April in the attending year. However, they cannot attend until they have their third birthday.
- To secure the child’s position in the program, parents are required pay the first term’s fees in full, with the child commencing from their third Birthday.
- Please contact the Preschool for more information.
What is the National Quality Framework?
The National Quality Framework was introduced in 2012 and provides a national approach to regulation, assessment and quality improvement for early childhood education and care and outside school hours care across Australia.
The NQF includes:
What benefits does the National Quality Framework provide for children and families?
Research shows quality education and care early in life leads to better health, education and employment outcomes later in life. The early years are critical for establishing self-esteem, resilience, healthy growth and capacity to learn. Quality education and care shapes every child’s future and lays the foundation for development and learning.
The major benefits for parents and children include:
- improved educator to child ratios, ensuring children have greater individual care and attention for children
- educators with increased skills and qualifications
- better support for children’s learning and development through approved learning frameworks
- consistent, transparent information on educators, providers and services in the national registers.
What is the National approved learning framework?
Under the National Law and Regulations, services are required to base their educational program on an approved learning framework. This should focus on addressing the developmental needs, interests and experiences of each child, while taking into account individual differences.
Belonging, Being and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia (EYLF)
Approved learning framework under the NQF for young children from birth to five years of age.
What are the benefits of my children attending kindergarten?
A child who has attended two years of a quality kindergarten program will, on average:
- have better cognitive and social skills when they start school (including better development in language, pre-reading, early number concepts, non-verbal reasoning, independence, concentration and social skills)
- have higher exam scores at 16, including better grades in English and maths
- have better social and emotional outcomes at age 16
- be more likely to take more final year exams and to go on to higher academic study
(Reference: Sammons, P., Sylva, K., Melhuish, E., Siraj, I., Taggart, B., Toth, K. & Smees, R. (2014). Effective Pre-School, Primary and Secondary Education Project, Department for Education, United Kingdom.)
Social science shows that quality early childhood education improves children’s outcomes before, during and after the school years, and that two years of kindergarten have a greater impact than one.
How do I enrol?
Highmount Preschool participates in the Monash City Council Central Enrolment Scheme. To register your child (both 3 and 4-year old programs) you will need to create an account via the online portal and follow the prompts to submit your application.
Families are able to enrol, pay the administration fee and view their application details from home at any time. You can login to update your details and change your kindergarten preference at any time.
It is your responsibility to ensure that your details are correct and up-to-date at all times to allow Monash Council to process your child’s application before the cut-off date of 30 June, in the year prior to commencing kindergarten. This will ensure that your child will be included in the allocation process.
Further information on the Central Enrolment Scheme can be found at the City of Monash website http://www.monash.vic.gov.au/Services/Children-Family/Kindergartens
Queries can be emailed to the Preschool Support Officer on email@example.com
Phone queries should be directed to 9518 3530.
The Council will notify Highmount Preschool of your successful application and we will be in contact with you regarding the paperwork and starting date.
For more information on Highmount Preschool enrolments, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
How can I involve/participate in the educational program?
Stay and Play Roster – currently not operating due to Covid-restrictions
Every Term a Roster for Parental involvement is placed in the “welcome area.”
We require volunteers to assist with the daily kindergarten program and we encourage parents to write their names on our “Stay and Play” roster at least once and possibly twice per term.
Whist assisting in the sessions we ask that you:
- sign yourself and any children in and out of the Visitor’s Book, this is a legal requirement
- spend time enjoying activities with the children
- write the children’s names on all their artwork
- read a book or help with a puzzle
- helping to pack up activities
- general tidy up of the room, cleaning paintbrushes, wipe down table and chairs, vacuum the carpet etc.
- you may be asked to assist with a specific activity/experience that has been arranged for the session
If parents are unable to volunteer their time due to work commitments, then talk to us about other ways you can participate like collecting craft materials. eg. paper, corks, bottle top lids, empty boxes etc. If you have a special talent do some cooking, gardening and craft activities then please let us know.
Your assistance and participation is greatly welcomed and appreciated by both children and educators.
We appreciate and thank you parents/guardians volunteering their time at kindergarten; your child will love having you there. You will see how your child interacts within the group and gain valuable insight into your child’s development.
The “Stay and Play” roster includes a laundry roster. This involves taking home a bag of smocks, tea towels and hand towels. Occasionally dress-up clothes may be included. We ask that you return the washing cleaned and folded at your child’s next session.
Join the Committee of Management
Highmount Preschool is a legally constituted body under the Associations Incorporation Reform Act 2012. We are a community-based, not-for-profit kindergarten, with all funds raised through fees, fundraising initiatives and levies going back into the operational costs of running the kindergarten.
Highmount Preschool is managed and maintained by a voluntary Committee of Management (CoM) who are elected at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) to represent and act on behalf of the kindergarten community. The CoM is responsible for the management of the kindergarten and upholding the Rules of the Association, Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010, and the Education and Care Services National Regulations.
Without a Committee of Management, Highmount Preschool would not satisfy minimum obligations as an “Incorporated Association” and therefore be unable to operate as a legal entity.
All roles / functions of the Committee are crucial to Highmount’s continued success. As a member of the Committee, you will enjoy the opportunity for community and social involvement as you join with other parents / guardians to promote and oversee Highmount’s operations.
The Preschool needs parents to volunteer their time, enthusiasm, skills and energy to fill the Committee roles. No previous experience is necessary! The Committee conducts meetings once a month throughout the year.
If you would like to know more about becoming a Committee member and what is involved, please don’t hesitate to contact the current President Lou Skepper at email@example.com
What does my child need to bring to the Preschool?
- Bag – We suggest a backpack.
- Hat – We are a Sunsmart kindergarten so during 1st September to 30th April we ask that you provide a sun hat. If a child does not bring a suitable sun hat then the Preschool will implement a ‘no hat, no outside play’ We suggest that you apply sunscreen for your child at home before the kindergarten session.
- Clothing – Children should be dressed in suitable play clothes considering weather conditions. Weather permitting, part of each session includes outdoor play; therefore, please remember to send your child to preschool with a warm jacket and hat in the colder months. Clothing needs to be easily managed by the child, so they can go to the toilet on their own, take off their jumper when hot, and put on their jacket when going outdoors. This encourages and develops the child’s independence.
- Change of Clothes – At least one complete set of clothes (including underwear and socks) in case of accidents or messy playtime is highly recommended.
- Shoes – Thongs and slip on shoes are not suitable footwear as they do not provide enough foot protection during outdoor play particularly during activities such as climbing, running etc.
- Drink Bottle and Lunch Box
Highmount Preschool will provide protective clothing for activities involving paint, clay or water.
All bags, removable clothing, drink bottles, and snack containers should be clearly labelled with the child’s name. A lost property box is located in the welcome area.
What snacks do I need to provide for my child?
For the 3-hour session we suggest a snack and water.
For long day sessions (6 hours) a snack, lunch and water.
We ask that all parents send snacks for their children in a small, labelled container that children can open themselves. We encourage healthy eating habits and prefer food to be sent in containers with no packaging.
The following suggestions are suitable snacks;
- fresh fruit
- small sandwich
- cheese and crackers
- water bottle
Some children at the kindergarten are at risk of Anaphylaxis – a severe and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction. For this reason, we must ensure that the following food items and ingredients are not brought into the kindergarten at any time:
X Eggs X Sesame Seeds X Nuts
X Sesame Oil X Nut Products X Nutella X Peanut Butter
My child has a medical condition. How will the Preschool care for my child?
Children may come to kindergarten with a range of medical conditions including; asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, anaphylaxis and other allergies.
All staff maintain current First Aid, CPR, Anaphylaxis and Asthma Certificates. Educators will ensure that a copy of the child’s medical management plan is visible and known to all educators in the kindergarten, including relief educators.
- parents/guardians of a child with asthma/anaphylaxis / allergy will;
- inform educators at the kindergarten, either on enrolment or on diagnosis, of their child’s medical condition. This information will be documented with the child’s enrolment record.
- develop a risk minimisation plan with educators. (The Risk Minimisation Plan is intended to identify the issues or potential situations that could lead to a medical incident or emergency, and strategies to reduce these risks.)
- provide educators with a medical management plan signed by the Registered Medical Practitioner giving written consent to administer medication in line with this action plan.
- provide educators with any relevant medication.
- assist educators by offering information and answering any questions regarding their child’s medical condition.
- notify the educators of any changes to their child’s medical condition and provide a new medical management plan in accordance with these changes.
- communicate all relevant information and concerns to educators, for example, any matter relating to the health of their child.
- comply with Highmount’s policy that no child who has been prescribed medication is permitted to attend kindergarten or its programs without the relevant medication.
For detailed policy please refer to the following files;
Medical Conditions Policy
Educators/carers and parents/guardians need to be made aware that it is not possible to achieve a completely allergen-free environment in any kindergarten that is open to the general community.
A child cannot attend kindergarten without a medical management action plan and any relevant medication.
What communication programs do Highmount use to keep the parents informed?
At Highmount, we use Storypark to communicate with our families. Teachers communicate all updates and activities the children have been involved in, and any key messages. Storypark also enables parents to share what extra activities children have been doing at home.