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Frequently Asked Questions

Please find below the most frequently asked questions about enrolment and our kindergarten program. If you can't find the answers to your questions please give our kindergarten a call on 54437668 or email us at golden.square.kin@kindergarten.vic.gov.au.

Q. When can my child commence three-year-old Kindergarten?

A. Your child needs to turn three-years-old before the end of April in the year they commence three- year-old kindergarten. Your child cannot attend three-year old kindergarten if they are two-years-old. They cannot attend until they are three-years-old.

The Department of Education states that research shows that quality play-based learning is a powerful way to support children’s learning and development. The benefits last into the school years and beyond. Evidence also shows that two years are better than one when it comes to early learning. Taking part in a quality kindergarten program at an earlier age leads to positive effects on child development. It has even greater benefits for children who need extra support or are in vulnerable circumstances.

Q. Can my child have two years of three or four year old kindergarten?

Three Year Old Kindergarten

A. NO. Your child can only have one year of funded three-year-old kindergarten at this stage in Victoria. Then they must commence a four-year-old kindergarten program.

Four Year Old Kindergarten

A. We strongly encourage families to not start their children at four-year-old kindergarten until they reach the age of four-years for the following reasons:

-The first five years of a child’s life are the foundation stones for learning, by giving them more time, you are giving them every opportunity to reach their full potential.

-A second-year of funding for your child cannot be given unless your child is showing delays in several areas of development. Only then can this warrant a second year of four-year-old kindergarten. Immaturity is not usually a consideration.

 

The Department of Education states:

There may be a small number of children for whom a second year of kindergarten is appropriate. Your child may be eligible if:

  • your child's teacher has found they have developmental delays in at least two key areas of learning and development, and

  • your child will have better outcomes through a second year of kindergarten than going to school.

However currently if they are Early Start they are permitted to attend at three years old and do two years of kindergarten.

To be eligible for Early Starts, your child must be three by 30 April in the year they start kindergarten, and:

  • identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, or

  • your family has had contact with Child Protection (or been referred to Child FIRST).

More information on a second year of kindergarten can be found at https://www.education.vic.gov.au/parents/child-care-kindergarten/Pages/kindergarten-second-year.aspx

To commence kindergarten your child needs to turn 4 before the 30th of April in the year they attend. We recommend that you don’t send your child early to kindergarten. If they are close to this cut off age, like March, we recommend you keep them home or in the crèche environment in this year. There is no hurry, let them grow, mature and learn with you. Don’t underestimate what they are learning with you or by attending childcare.

We recognise that children turning four generally have difficulty organising themselves, standing up for their rights with peers. They find it challenging to follow instructions and negotiate with others. Some children become easily distracted, have problems following routines and transitions, remain quiet and do not speak up in groups to share ideas and learning. They need the year to develop skills, particularly the social and emotional skills. THEY JUST NEED TO BE 4!

Q. How many hours is three-year-old kindergarten in 2022?

A. Three-year-old Kindergarten will become available in stages starting in 2022. In Bendigo children that turn three before the end of April 2022 will have access to 5 hours of kindergarten per week to start-off. The hours will be increased eventually getting to 15 hours of kindergarten per week for three-year olds. The hours will most likely be increased in 2023 and will include long day. Please keep an eye on our website for further details.

Q. What are some of the benefits of staying with us for two years?

A. We encourage families to enrol in our kindergarten for two years, attending three-year-old kindergarten and then four-year-old kindergarten.

 

-Our Social and Emotional Intelligence Programs (RULER APPROACH & You Can Do It Program) can be embedded in your child's learning over two years prior to school, cementing a great foundation for developing social and emotional intelligence.

-Continuity of Educators- by allowing your child to remain in the same environment with the same group of peers and educators for a minimum of two years ensures continuity of care and promotes the importance of meaningful and deep relationships and quality learning experiences.

Q. My child has Anaphylaxis. She/he is allergic to nuts and eggs?

A. Every year we have children with food allergies, intolerances and anaphylaxis. If we have any children with such conditions and parents have notified us prior to the year, we will not allow these foods into the centre. We store epi pens here, and will keep your child’s epi pen at kinder with all staff notified and trained to use them. Children are NOT permitted to share foods and are supervised at all meal times.

Q. Where do all the children go to school?

A. We have several feeder schools. Children come to us from all parts of Bendigo and surrounding districts. We cannot recommend a school for your child but our best advice is visit your local schools, meet with principals and teachers and get a feel for the school first hand. Keep in mind your child will be zoned for High School in state schools, so even though you may think it’s too far down the track you need to keep it in the back of your mind when choosing a primary school. We provide you with a booklet of Bendigo Schools in term 2 with open days, contact details etc.

We find that all our children participate in transition programs in fourth term of kindergarten which ensures that they are familiar with their new school and identify their teachers. We provide written transition statements to their school for every child in the November of their kinder year.

Q. My child has attended crèche for several years and they have a kinder program at crèche. Why would he/she benefit from attending GSK as an independent kinder?

A. We often find that children who have been in a crèche environment for a long period of time do benefit from coming to us. Our program has a structure and routine which we find parents are wanting in the year prior to school, self help skills preparing them for independent learning in a school environment. We use intentional teaching in our centre implementing the You Can Do It Program, fostering children’s skills to get along with others and make friends. As well as our Emotional Intelligence Program, the RULER APPROACH which works on building up children’s resilience and self esteem.

The RULER Approach is an Emotional Intelligence Program that is research based which fosters children’s understanding of feelings and that everyone has the right to feel ‘Safe and Happy’ at kindergarten. Both these programs provide our community of children families and educators with the language and expectations to develop social and emotional well-being.

Our large indoor/outdoor environment encourages children to be active participants in their learning, motivating them to seek new challenges.

Q. When will I find out if my child has a place for the next year?

A. As soon as we receive your child’s enrolment form, copy of their immunisation and enrolment fee of $25.00 admin fee (No fee for health card holders) we will send out a 'First Round Offer' letter at the end of Term 1. This secures your position on our Kindergarten List. If you enrol after this first round offer and we have positions, we will let you know straight away that you have a secured a position.

This early notification of placements for the following year supports our families to make arrangements for future employment and childcare.

Q. What does the ‘Waiting list’ mean for enrolments?

A. If you are placed on our waiting list this means that we are full in the group you are wishing to enrol in. But, we have people moving groups all the time, so we will contact you when a position comes available.

Q. How do I choose which group I want to go in?

A. In the enrolment form available on our website or from kinder you can select your preference.

Current Process of Group Selection is as follows: (Subject to change in 2022).

On the Short Day Form it will ask you if you want to be a Kangaroo Group (8am-12pm two days and 8am-3pm one day a week- Morning Group) or Possum Group (12.30pm-5.30pm - Afternoon Group). You tick which one you prefer.

In September the year prior to your child attending we will send you an enrolment pack to complete and return to the kindergarten. In November we will have our AGM/INFORMATION evening. It is a requirement for parents to attend this meeting to be eligible for your group preference. Allocation of Kangaroo and Possum groups will be advised at this event.

For Long Day enrolment (Wombat Group) once you have handed in your enrolments we will fill to 45 children. Then we keep a waiting list which is subject to our Enrolment policy criteria.

Q. How many children in each group? This is subject to change for 2022 onwards. We will advise in April 2021.

A. Wombats have 45, with three nesting groups of 15 each for our mat times. Possums and Kangaroos have 33 with three groups of 11 each for mat times.

Q. Do I have to bring food or is it provided?

A. There is no food provided by kinder. The Wombats have a brain food (fruit), snack (yoghurt, fruit, crackers etc), lunch (sandwiches, wraps, pasta etc) and an afternoon snack at 4pm (yogurt, fruit, crackers, veggies). We do note that children eat a lot of food on these long days.

The Kangaroos have fruit any time during the session, snack/lunch (sandwiches, veggies, and yogurt) at 11am.

The Possums have fruit any time during the session, afternoon snack at 4pm approximately (sandwiches, fruit, veggies, yogurt etc).

The food you bring for your child is what your child eats and your choice, however we do promote healthy foods and ask that you do not send chocolate or chips. We also ask they bring a drink bottle with water only. We do recognise that some children may have food intolerances, sensitivities, cultural or economic factors influencing children’s diets. Providing us with this knowledge will ensure each individual child’s needs are considered and met.

You will be notified of any Food Allergy restrictions prior to your child starting.

Q. What will the fees be for the year my child attends?

A. 

Currently the Victorian Government is subsidizing kindergarten fees for all children aged four-years-old that are attending 15 hours of kindergarten. Free kinder forms part of the economic recovery support for Victorians as we recover from the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The initiative is for 2021 only at this stage. This means that in our short day program children attend 15 hours of kindergarten for free. In our long day program the kindergarten component is subsidized by the government, however we charge a before and after ‘care component’ to allow children to attend two long days per week. This allows children to attend longer than the 15 hours per week (7.30-6pm). This is called the ‘care component’ fee. 

Fees are set in July the year prior to your attendance. If you are a health care card holder, Kangaroo and Possum Groups do not pay fees. If you are in the Wombat Group there will be a discounted charge for Health care care holders in Long Day Kindergarten.

Please note we DO NOT receive any child care subsidy. All families pay for the before and aftercare in the Wombat Group (Long day kinder).

Our fees are very competitive with Bendigo kindergartens and childcare kindergartens. We aim to make them affordable whilst insuring we have a budget that will provide for extra child/educator ratios and all the additional opportunities we offer in our program. We do not provide holiday care.

Q. How can parents get involved?

A. Our centre is run by a Parent Committee of Management. We require parents to volunteer for this committee at our AGM each year. Without it we cannot operate the centre. Parents are welcome to attend excursions, bring in activities for their child’s groups, cover books, share special skills, etc during the year. Please let your teacher know what you would like to do to and how you would like to be involved. Your children will benefit from sharing your knowledge, skills and experiences. These experiences are all Covid19 pending.

Q. When does the kinder year start?

A. We coincide with the school terms. So, if you look up Victorian School Terms prior to the year your child starts, we will be the same time. We will also send out a calendar before the end of the kinder year prior. This has all the important dates on it and your child can count down to kinder!

We will conduct a 25-minute interview and tour with you and your child prior to your child’s starting day. You will be given these times at the AGM.

Q. When can we enrol?

A. We are enrolling for the following three years for 3 & 4 Year old Kindergarten. Families can complete their child’s enrolment for 2022 and 2023,2024 NOW.

Q. Do you have 3 Year Old Kindergarten?

In 2021 we will be building a second kindergarten room, funded by the state government to commence 3 year old kindergarten in 2022.

You can now enrol in 3 year old kindergarten using our enrolment form.

We are currently taking enrolments for the following three years.

Q. What are you doing as a centre to protect families and children from exposure to Covid19?

A. We have a page on this website dedicated to explaining the safety procedures and precautions we have in place to protect children and families from Covid19. Please see the Covid19 page for more details. If visitors are in the centre for longer than 15 minutes they are required to check in using our Centre QR code, as provided to us from the DHHS. This can be located at the front door and entry to our centre. Our procedures change due to current Covid19 advice.

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