In this website the terms “Pre-school” and “Kindergarten” are interchangeable.

In Victoria, the funded kindergarten program is a two-year program in the years prior to school entry. The Government’s commitment is to ensure that all children aged three and four years have the opportunity to access two years of quality preschool education. Currently, children who turn four before the 30th of April in the year of their attendance, can access 15 hours of funded Kindergarten. Three-year-old funded programs may vary from five hours to fifteen hours depending on the time table available at your chosen service.

Funded kindergarten programs operate in a range of settings including purpose built standalone kindergartens as well as community based and private Long Day Care centres.

Kindergarten is important because it provides developmentally appropriate programs that further the social, emotional, cognitive, language and physical development of children. International and Australian research shows that participation in a kindergarten program helps children establish foundations to assist them for life.

Kindergarten participation helps to identify children who need extra support for their development, and offers the appropriate links to ensure children receive this assistance as early as possible.

The kindergarten environment also provides an opportunity for families to develop links within their communities and become more aware of support services.

Long Day Care Programs offer care and education to children and families from 6 weeks to school age. An educational program is offered in all age groups and will cater to the developmental needs and interests of all children attending. These programs are play based and support children’s social, emotional, cognitive, language and physical development. Educators have been trained to develop and create programs that are designed to meet the needs of children at all different ages and stages of their development.

Programs in Long Day Care centres are developed and operate in the same way as those at sessional kindergarten, however there are some differences that need to be considered. For example, Long Day Care services have cooks that provide nutritionally balanced meals for children throughout the day such as morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea. At BPA services, these meals are developed in line with the Nutrition Australia Guidelines. Long Day Care centres are generally opened for a longer period of time throughout the day and families have choices as to the hours they wish to attend.

One major difference between Long Day Care and session kindergarten is the funding for families. Child Care Subsidy are available to families and are based on individual family’s income and circumstances. To find out your eligibility for Child Care Subsidy, please contact https://www.servicesaustralia....

Attendance at Long Day Care varies for different children and is based on the families’ requirements and vacancies at each service. Attendance in a Long Day Care program can also help to identify an area that children may need additional support and provide links to services that can offer early intervention and assistance.

Many people are unsure of which type of program caters to the needs of their child and family in the best way. At BPA, we pride ourselves on offering high quality educational programs at all of our services. This means that regardless of whether you choose to attend a sessional kindergarten or a long day care service, your child will receive the same type of educational program. Deciding what type of service best suits your family is a personal choice and there are many different things to consider. For example:

  • Is there something about a specific kindergarten or long day care services program that appeals to you? For example: you may particularly like the sustainability program that one kindergarten offers.
  • Do sessional kindergarten hours work for your family or do you require longer days/ different hours?
  • Is your child already attending Long Day Care and are you happy with the education they are currently receiving?
  • How does funding support and finances impact your family?
  • Do you want to provide your child’s meals or do you need these provided for you by a Long Day Care service?

During the first five years, children develop and learn much faster than at any other age. Attending kindergarten, whether in a sessional kindergarten or a Long Day Care program, provides children with an environment in which this development can be encouraged, supported and scaffolded.

Kindergarten helps children become more aware of the world around them and promotes language development as well as intellectual, physical and emotional skills. Activities in a kindergarten program cater to the individual needs of children and offers equipment, which is appropriate to each child’s stage of development.

All BPA service programs are developed using the National Early Years Learning Frameworks (EYLF) and the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Frameworks (VEYLDF). Educators are guided by the Outcomes, Practices and Principles of these frameworks and use these as a guide to develop programs that support the continued learning and development of all children.

Qualified educators implement strategies and work with families to support the best outcomes for children’s learning and development.

In order to eligible for kindergarten, your child must be turning 3 or 4 prior to the 30th of April in the year of their attendance. Children attending a 3-year-old program, cannot start at the service until they have had their 3rd birthday as the Education and Care Services National regulations and ratios require children to be 3 years old to attend kindergarten. If you require care and education for children younger than 3 years, you may choose to enrol in a Long Day Care service.

Not all children who attend kindergarten have been away from their parents before and some may feel separation anxiety when they begin their time at kindergarten. Although this can be a difficult time for both children and families, it is important to follow the guidance of your Kindergarten educators who will support the child to feel more comfortable separating from their family over time.

Long Day Care and Kindergarten programs are designed to support children’s holistic learning and development. Through Play Based programs, children are given opportunities to learn a variety of skills and extend their development.

Play based learning allows children to explore many different concepts and practice skills in a way that is interesting and appealing to them. Educators are trained to use strategies, materials, equipment and interactions to support development and guide children’s learning.

Once you have decided whether Sessional Kindergarten or Long Day Care is the type of service you need, how do you determine which service is the right one for you? Choosing the best service for your family is something that can only be determined by individual families. There are many things that you need to consider when selecting which service is the best fit for your needs.

  • Location – Does the location of the service work for your family?
  • Times – Do the times offered by the service work for your families’ needs?
  • The centre philosophy – Take time to read the centre philosophy and make sure that the educators beliefs align with your own.
  • The facility – Does the building and yard provide the opportunities that you want for your child.
  • The feel – Did you get a good feeling when you visited the centre?

Although many families believe that a child needs to be able to write their name or count to 20 before they are ready for school, this is not the criteria for School Readiness.

Educators at BPA services work with children to develop social and emotional skills that will prepare them for the many years of school ahead. Some of these skills include being able to ask for help if needed, having resiliance to bounce back from challenges and disapointments and being able to empathise with their peers.

At kindergarten, educators will work with children on a variety of skills that will support their transition to school. Some of these skills include self-care, independence skills such as toileting and opening lunch packets etc, emotional regulation, physical skills and social skills.

The skills that your child will learn at kindergarten will support them with the more formal learning of reading and writing when they reach primary school.