Starting kindergarten is an important milestone in the lives
of both you and your child.
All children in Victoria are eligible to access a funded
kindergarten program in their year before school. To enrol in a funded
kindergarten program, your child must be at least four years old by 30 April in
the year they will attend the program.
It is important for children to start school when they are
ready to learn in a more formal environment. It is also important for you
consider when it is best for your child to start school as this will help you
determine the best time for them to commence kindergarten.
Kindergarten services are able to provide families with
relevant information about when is the best time for children to start
kindergarten. Other early childhood
professionals, such as your maternal and child health nurse, can also provide
advice to help you make an informed decision about the best age for your child
to start kindergarten and school.
Some kindergartens run programs for
three-year-old children, but this program is charged at the full fee unless you
are eligible for Early
Enrolling in kindergarten
Once you have chosen a kindergarten and made sure that the information about the services procedures and policies are displayed – including their children’s services licence – the next step is enrolling your child.
Information you need to provide
When enrolling your child you need to provide the following information:
- your child’s name and address and details of any special needs
- information about yourself and any other parents, carers or guardians in your child’s life
- details of people who can collect your child
- information about their medical health and immunisation status.
There are a range of things you can do to prepare your child for kindergarten.
Over the summer holidays:
- be positive - talk to your child about what they will do at kindergarten
- borrow library books about kindergarten to read together
- encourage your child to dress themselves so they can manage tasks like taking their jumper on and off
- visit the kindergarten or travel past it on your route home
- label all belongings that your child will take to kindergarten
- read over the family information the kindergarten provided to ensure everything is prepared
- talk to your child and establish a goodbye routine together
- establish a routine for kindergarten mornings, this could include a chart with pictures outlining the different steps for getting ready
- organise holiday play dates with friends or children who will be going to the kindergarten
- create a routine around sleep by practicing sticking to bedtime and wake up schedules in the weeks leading up to the start of kindergarten (five year olds need 10 to 12 hours sleep each night).
On the first day of kindergarten:
- talk to your child about what to expect and when you will pick them up
- follow the kindergarten’s instructions about what to bring e.g. sun hat, spare clothes
- prepare the night before, lay out clothing you both agree on and pack their bag together
- encourage your child to follow your morning routine and remind them of next steps
- talk to the kindergarten teacher about how you would like to settle your child in e.g. you may want to stay for a while
- if you are having trouble separating from your child ask the kindergarten teacher or educators to help you
- make sure you say goodbye, disappearing quietly can cause greater distress and mistrust
- ensure you are on time at the end of the session to pick up your child
- be enthusiastic and positive!
- at the end of the day talk to your child about what happened during the day.
No jab, no play
More information about 'No jab, no play' including questions and answers is available through the Department of Health and Human Services, see: No jab, no play - frequently asked questions.