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 begin kindergarten.
At the start of the year, kindergarten teachers will provide families with relevant information about when is the best time for children to start kindergarten. This will allow families, in consultation with the kindergarten teacher, to make informed decisions about the best age for their child to start kindergarten and school.
Your child is eligible for a second year of kindergarten if the early childhood teacher at the kindergarten your child attends assesses them as having delays in at least two areas of development, and that your child will benefit from attending a second year at the kindergarten program.
The areas assessed by the early childhood teacher include:
- self-care – your child’s ability to look after themselves sufficiently
- ability to speak and/or understand language
- cognitive (intellectual) development
- social development – how your child interacts with other children
- emotional development.
Other factors may also be considered.
There are specific guidelines that the early childhood teacher will follow when assessing your child. These guidelines are designed to help the teacher identify your child’s needs and establish suitable goals.
Your involvement in the process is important and you and the teacher should work together to achieve the best outcome for your child.
With your consent, the teacher will complete the assessment of your child, seeking the support of other early childhood development professionals as needed.
The teacher will discuss the outcome of your child’s assessment with you and if they believe that your child has a developmental delay and recommends a second year of kindergarten they will then send a declaration of eligibility to the Department’s regional office.
School Exemption Process
If your child will turn six years of age (compulsory school age) while attending the second year of funded kindergarten, your child must be exempted from attending school. As the parent/guardian, you are responsible for seeking this exemption from the Department.
You will need to complete the Exemption from school due to attendance in kindergarten program form and attach a copy of the completed Declaration of Eligibility for a second year of funded kindergarten form, which will be provided to you by your child’s early childhood educator.
This exemption request is to be submitted to the relevant Departmental regional office for consideration, by 1 November in the year prior to your child turning six.
Once a decision has been made, the regional office will complete the bottom section of the Exemption from school due to attendance in kindergarten program form, which identifies if the school exemption has been granted for your child.
A copy of this form is then forwarded to you to show your child’s early childhood service provider.
For more information, contact your local Regional off. For Regional Office contact details, see: Regional Office
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