All children learn and develop in different ways. Some children may benefit from starting school at a younger age, while other children may benefit from starting later. It is important that children are ready to transition to school after kindergarten. Therefore, it is important that parents and carers carefully consider the best time for their child to start kindergarten.
With the rollout out of funded kindergarten for three-year-old children, children are now able to attend a kindergarten program in the two years prior to them starting primary school.
But if your child will not be three or four years of age at the start of his/her kindergarten year, you will need to consider whether your child will benefit from attending kindergarten in the year of eligibility or the following year.
For children born between 1 January and 30 April, parents have a choice about whether they commence school in the year they turn five, or in the following year, and therefore whether they commence kindergarten in the year they turn three, four or the year they turn five.
Children who are born between January and April may benefit from holding off their kindergarten enrolment until the following year.
If you are unsure about the best time for your child to start kindergarten, you can ask:
- the Early Childhood Teacher at the kindergarten you are looking to enrol in
- CPSG’s Transition Support Worker
- the Principal or Foundation teacher at the school your child is likely to attend (discuss the best time for your child to start Foundation (Prep)
- your child’s Maternal Child Health Nurse, Preschool Field Officer, family doctor or any other
professionals your child may see (e.g. speech pathologist, physiotherapist or paediatrician).
MINIMUM STARTING AGE
Families and carers with children born between January and April can choose which year to start at three-year-old kindergarten. This means that some children might be two when they are eligible to start three-year-old kindergarten.
There are a few things you need to know when making this decision:
- If your child turns three by 30 April and you’d like them to start kindergarten that year, you should still enrol your child. We will hold your child’s place until they’re old enough to attend.
If your child turns three between January and April in the year of commencement, you will be required to meet with an Early Childhood Teacher prior to a place being offered. This gives the teacher an opportunity to meet your child, get to know you and your family and be able to provide some insight around if your child is actually ready for kindergarten.
If a child is not ready to learn, or not ready to engage in the learning outcomes of the Victorian Early Years Development Framework, starting kindergarten may not be a positive experience for them and will potentially hinder their development.
CAN MY CHILD ATTEND A THIRD YEAR OF KINDERGARTEN?
A second year of funded four-year-old kindergarten will only be considered when a child shows delays in learning and development outcome areas in the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework, and when:
- the kindergarten program is deemed to be the most appropriate learning program
- the child will achieve better outcomes at kindergarten than if they go to school.
A second-year assessment process is carried out for each child by an early childhood teacher when a second year is being considered.