Choosing a kindergarten service

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					Choosing a
kindergarten service

Every family is different, and               Kindergarten certificate
the kindergarten you choose                  All State Government funded four-              Things to look for
should meet the needs of                     year-old kindergarten programs in
                                             Victoria must display the Department
                                                                                            when you visit a
your child and family
                                             of Education and Early Childhood               kindergarten service
                                             Development kindergarten certificate.
Start thinking about choosing a                                                             • Kindergarten certificate
kindergarten service as early as possible.   This means that the kindergarten
                                             program is funded by the                       • A warm welcome when
This early planning will also assist with                                                     you and your child arrive
                                             Department of Education and
exploring options for additional support
                                             Early Childhood Development
that may be required to include your                                                        • Positive interaction between
                                             and is planned and taught by a
child in the kindergarten program.                                                            the kindergarten teacher,
                                             qualified early childhood teacher.
                                                                                              parents and children
See the tip sheet on Planning with
the Program Support Group which              Approachable staff                             • Secure grounds that are
includes a Planning guide for the year       You should feel confident that                   clean and well maintained
before your child starts kindergarten.       kindergarten staff can keep your
Your Maternal and Child Health               child safe and meet their needs.               • Children who are well settled
Nurse and local council can give                                                              and engaged in activities
                                             A positive approach from
you information about kindergarten           kindergarten staff will go a long              • Opportunities for children
programs in your local area.                 way towards making kindergarten                  to play in groups and alone
You may also have heard about                a great experience for your child.
other kindergarten programs outside          Staff with a positive approach tend to:        • A balance of indoor
your local area which interest you.                                                           and outdoor activities
                                             • focus on your child’s abilities
Visit the kindergarten service               • engage directly with your child,             • Enough equipment for all
Once you have a short list of                  not just through you                           the children
kindergarten services, make
                                             • work with your child at                      • A welcome invitation
appointments to visit and meet
                                               their own level and pace                       to visit at any time
the kindergarten staff.
                                             • make time to meet with you
There are some general things to
                                               and any relevant specialists
look for when you visit a kindergarten
service, such as how the staff               • think about creative ways to             Physical environment
interact with parents and children,            adapt the kindergarten program           When looking at a kindergarten service,
the facilities and equipment,                  to include your child                    your first impression will probably
and the types of activities.                 By asking the kindergarten teacher         be of the physical environment.

You will then have specific                  about their experiences with children      As well as being safe, clean and well
questions about how the service              with a disability you may get a feel       equipped, you will want to know that
can meet your child’s needs.                 for how the service might go about         the kindergarten service can cater
                                             including your child. A teacher who        for the physical needs of your child.
This may include discussion about
                                             does not have experience teaching
your child’s medical needs, physical
                                             children with a disability may also be a
access, and other issues depending
                                             good teacher for your child if they are
on your child’s disability.
                                             welcoming, enthusiastic and positive.
“After my first conversation with the kindergarten
teacher I was already feeling positive about the move.
She invited me to come in and complete the application
for funding with her, which was a great opportunity for
her to get to know what my son’s needs would be.”

The kindergarten teacher, Preschool        Other things that can influence
Field Officer or Early Childhood           your decision may include which
Intervention provider can offer            kindergarten service older siblings
                                                                                               For more information
suggestions for modifications,             attended, how far you want to                       Find-a-kindergarten
equipment and education resources.         travel and whether children from                    online directory
                                           your chosen kindergarten tend             
Minor modifications, such as grab
                                           to go to a particular school.
rails and ramps, can be provided                                                               Links to local council websites
through Kindergarten Inclusion                                                                 Municipal Association of Victoria
                                           Registering and enrolling
Support Services. For more information                                               
see the tip sheet on Kindergarten          As there is high demand for places in
Inclusion Support Services packages.       kindergarten programs, it is a good
                                                                                               Office for Children and Early
                                           idea to register as early as possible at
                                                                                               Childhood Development
Program modification                       your preferred kindergarten service.
Ask the kindergarten teacher how           Places are offered to children
your child can be included in the          according to certain criteria,                      Kindergarten Parents Victoria
program. For example, how a child          often on a ‘first in queue’ basis.                  Phone 9489 3500 or
in a wheelchair could be included                                                              1300 730 119 (rural callers)
                                           Enrolment procedures vary, so ask
in outdoor physical play, or how a                                                   
                                           the kindergarten service or your
child with limited hand movement
                                           local council about the enrolment                   Association for Children
could be included in table activities.
                                           procedure for the kindergarten                      with a Disability
While the kindergarten teacher             service you are interested in.                      Phone 9818 2000 or
may not have all the answers, you                                                              1800 654 013 (rural callers)
                                           Try to visit a number of kindergarten
should feel reassured that they                                                      
                                           services and trust your own instincts.
will explore ways to include your
                                           You need to feel comfortable that
child in all program activities.
                                           the service you choose will be
                                           responsive to your child and family.
Complex care needs
If your child has complex medical          A kindergarten service should never
or personal care needs, ask how the        decline to accept your enrolment due
kindergarten service can meet these        to perceived difficulties associated
needs. You will want to be reassured       with your child’s disability.
that your child will be cared for safely   If you believe that your child’s disability
and with dignity, privacy and respect.     has been a factor in you being denied
                                           access to your preferred kindergarten
Other things to think about                service, you should seek advice and
Think about the broader needs              advocacy from the Association for
of your family as well as the              Children with a Disability or another
specific needs of your child, when         disability advocacy service.
                                                                                             Association for Children with a Disability
choosing a kindergarten service.
                                                                                         This series of Kindergarten Inclusion Tip Sheets was
                                                                                         developed by the Association for Children with a Disability
                                                                                         in partnership with the Victorian Government’s Office for
                                                                                         Children and Early Childhood Development.

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