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Kindergarten at Raleigh St

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Kindergarten at Raleigh St

Victoria is the first state or territory in Australia to introduce funded Three-Year-Old Kindergarten for all children. Funded kindergarten means the government will help the kindergarten service with the cost of employing Kinder teachers.  At Raleigh St we provide an integrated kindergarten program within the long day care service.  In 2023 we are providing a 3 and 4-year-old program in the Magic Room.

 

For children in the 4-year-old kindergarten program there is a focus on a smooth transition to school and school readiness. However, we also believe that children should get the chance to enjoy the here and now as part of being a non- rushed child in their final years before formal schooling begins. 


For all children we provide a wide range of age-appropriate learning experiences, interactions and materials that suit their stages of learning development. We are able to do this through careful observation, our knowledge of theories of early childhood learning and development, as well as through interactions with children and their families so that we get to know them as individuals.

The Kindergarten Curriculum

The early childhood curriculum is based on the principles, practices, and learning outcomes of  ‘Belonging, Being and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia’ (Australian Govt. Department of Education and Training, 2022) and in Victoria by the  ‘Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework’ (Department of Education and Training, 2016). These reference documents are used at Raleigh St as evidence of how children learn and develop and what is considered as best practice in early childhood education and care. 


The curriculum encompasses all the learning and development opportunities a child has during their day at Raleigh St. This includes all the routines, interactions, play and activities they will engage in, whether these are planned or incidental. The curriculum grows and changes with the children’s development, experiences, interests, and ideas. It is both responsive to and reflective of the children, will include teacher-initiated activities and take into consideration families’ input, values, and suggestions.

 

Permanent learning areas are set up in the rooms and outside, to which materials and toys can be added or removed. This process is documented via the curriculum wall display and through continuous reflections on the children’s learning, development, dispositions, and their current interests. These allow us to plan, make changes and provide challenges.

 

Families receive a weekly reflection via email. These written documents, along with photos, discussions, and individual observations of the children as they explore, investigate and experiment serve as evidence for ongoing reflection, modification and evaluation of the curriculum and allow us to plan teaching interventions and strategies to promote learning progression for the whole group and individual learners. Play based activities are planned to extend on children’s current skills, knowledge, and interests and the educators will strongly encourage all children to take part in a variety of activities. This includes ‘having a go’ at new and unfamiliar activities or ones that a child might not feel very confident with. The aim is to provide a holistic approach to children's development and education.
 

We believe that play is the foundation for future personal and academic success and promote the social and emotional development of every child. Socially interactive play, the development of pro-social behaviours and positive relationships are at the core of this.

 

We also encourage all families to collaborate with the educators about curriculum decisions as we ‘recognise that families are the children’s first and most influential teachers’ (EYLF, 2009, p. 12).

FAQs about Kinder

What is the difference between standalone/sessional kinder and integrated kinder?

In Victoria, children can attend a Kindergarten program at either a long day care (childcare) centre or at a standalone kindergarten (also called sessional kinder).

A long day care centre, such as Raleigh St, can offer a full day of education and care that includes a kindergarten program. The qualified teacher-led kindergarten program is held at the centre with additional hours of education and care (also called "wrap-around care") before and after the kinder session, giving families the flexibility to attend at work or study for longer hours.  At Raleigh St, children can attend at the Centre between 7:30am and 6:00pm, and the kinder program is provided every weekday from 9am to 2pm.

 

At a standalone/sessional kinder, a program will only operate on certain days and at specific times, and is limited to the school term times.  This means alternative arrangements need to be made during school holiday time if care is required.

When should my child start kinder?

Kindergartens in Victoria now offer two years of kinder programming.  Children that turn 3 before 30th April are eligible to enrol in 3-year-old kinder for that year.  In the year a child turns 4 before 30th April, they can enrol in 4-year-old kinder.  You can calculate when your child is able to start kindergarten here.

Families with children born between January and April can choose which year to start 3-year-old kinder. These children can start in the same year they turn three or in the year they turn four years of age. If you are unsure if your child is ready for kinder, you can speak to your GP or Maternal and Child Health Nurse, or educators that are familiar with your child.

What if my child isn't ready for school after a year of 4-year-old kinder?

During 4-year-old kinder, your early childhood teacher will assess your child, plan for their move to school and identify any developmental areas that may need particular attention.  There may be a small number of children for whom a second year of 4-year-old kinder is appropriate.

 

Your child may be eligible if:

  • Your child's teacher has found they have developmental delays in at least 2 key      areas of learning and development

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

 

More information on the developmental areas that are assessed can be found here.

Note that a second year of 3-year-old funded kinder is not available.

What are the costs?

Attending kinder in an integrated setting is charged in the same way that long day care is charged - a daily fee that for most families is subsidised by the Child Care Subsidy (CCS).  To assess your eligibility for CCS you can use the following tool - KindiCare Subsidy Calculator   (Hint - to calculate the correct amount of CCS, enter 10.5 in the "How many hours a day does your child attend?" box). 

 

The Victorian Govt. also subsidises families of children enrolled at kinder through their "Free Kinder" program.  If your child attends at a sessional/standalone kinder, there is no charge.  If your child attends kinder at a long day care centre, such at Raleigh St, your fees are subsidised by $2000 over the course of the kinder year, (pro-rata for 3 yr old kinder if attending for less than 3 days a week).  

Why enrol in kindergarten?

Kindergarten is an important step for young children. The Victorian Department of Education strongly recommends all children go to kindergarten.

 

Research has shown that:

  • Early education helps set children up for a bright future

  • Attending 2 years of quality kindergarten has even greater benefits

  • At kindergarten children learn skills that they'll take with them throughout their life

  • Kindergarten improves children’s health and wellbeing, helps them to develop strong social skills and encourages a love of learning

  • Children who go to kindergarten are more independent and confident and are more   likely to make a smooth transition to primary school

How do I enrol my child in a kinder program at Raleigh St?

If your child is already attending childcare at Raleigh St, we take care of the enrolment in-house.  If your child is not already attending a program at Raleigh St you must nominate your preference for kindergarten with the Darebin Council Centralised Waitlist.  To find out more, please read through the information here.

What will my child learn at kindergarten?

Kindergarten programs are delivered by a qualified Early Childhood Teacher. All kindergarten teachers hold a minimum of a Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education, and must be registered with the Victorian Institute of Teaching regardless of whether the program is held in a sessional or integrated kindergarten setting. 

 

Kindergarten programs are designed to improve your child’s development in:

  • Social skills, like how to play with other children in a calm, sharing and rewarding way

  • Self-awareness and respect for others

  • Emotional skills, for example understanding their feelings

  • Language, literacy and numeracy skills, such as reading stories and counting objects

  • Joy of learning and group activities, such as talking with each other, turn taking, drawing and making things together with other children their own age

  • Ability to make new friends

  • Exposure to new ideas and concepts

 

Kindergarten also gives families:

  • Opportunities to meet other families and make community connections - often the families you meet at kindergarten will also attend the same primary school as your child(ren)

  • Access support for children with special needs

  • Access to other community services, such as an introduction to the dentist, safety around animals, road safety initiatives, school readiness programs that are tailored for a particular cohort

Where can I find out out more?

  • The Darebin Council website explains 3 and 4-year-old kinder here

  • The Department of Education has more information here

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