Program support groups

 If your child has a disability or additional needs, a program support group can help them get the right support at kindergarten.

A program support group brings together key people to support the inclusion of your child from the time of enrolment at kindergarten until they move to school.

As a key member of the group you can help make decisions about your child’s learning, development and wellbeing at kindergarten.

The group may include:

  • you – as your child’s parent or carer
  • the kindergarten teacher
  • early childhood intervention professionals
  • a preschool field officer
  • a support person – if you choose to use one

Setting up a program support group

A kindergarten teacher sets up and runs a program support group. The group should meet at least once a term.

If your child has a disability or additional needs and does not have a program support group, you can ask your kindergarten teacher to set one up.

Your child should have a program support group before they start at kindergarten.  This is so the kindergarten can make any reasonable adjustments before your child starts.

Reasonable adjustments will depend on your child’s needs. They can include things like simple adjustments in the kindergarten or extra assistance to support inclusion at the kindergarten.  For example, if your child:

  • has a hearing impairment they may be seated so they can see the teacher’s face when they are speaking
  • is unable to stand independently they may be supported to use a standing frame to access the painting easels
  • is unable to use scissors independently they may be able to use spring loaded scissors.

Program support group meetings

At meetings you can work with the group to:

  • share information about your child’s development, strengths and interests
  • develop shared learning goals for your child
  • develop a kindergarten inclusion support plan for your child
  • monitor your child’s progress
  • discuss issues or concerns
  • plan your child’s personal or medical care
  • plan for your child’s move to primary school
  • support the inclusion of all the children in the program
  • identify any reasonable adjustments to support your child’s inclusion and independence.

Your child’s move to school

When your child is ready to start school, there will be a meeting to plan for their move.  This meeting usually happens by term 3 in the year before your child starts school.

You can invite a person from your child’s future school to share information about your child.

At the meeting the group will:

  • review your child's abilities, strengths and needs
  • identify any programs that have helped your child in the past
  • identify what your child will need at school, like reasonable adjustments or extra help
  • discuss the school's orientation program and organise visits
  • identify any programs or funding your child might be eligible for.

Complex medical needs

If your child has complex medical needs a program support group will include these in your child’s kindergarten inclusion support plan. This is so the group can plan for things like:

  • training to make sure staff have the skills to look after your child’s medical needs
  • the use and storage of your child’s medication and care supplies
  • the regular review of your child’s medical needs
  • any reasonable adjustments needed to meet your child’s medical needs.

Using a support person

You have the right to bring a support person to a program support group meeting.

A support person can explain the terminology used by the kindergarten and help you express your point of view. They cannot make decisions for you.

A support person may be a friend, supportive community member, a family member or a formal advocate.

Find a support organisation in your local area.

If you’re unhappy with a program support group

Whenever possible we encourage you to work with your child’s kindergarten to resolve any concerns or issues.  If you have a concern about a program support group then speak to the kindergarten teacher or the management of the kindergarten first.

If you’re unhappy with how the kindergarten has handled your concern there are several ways that you can make a complaint