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 www.dhs.vic.gov.au/findakindergarten 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 www.mav.asn.au 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. www.office-for-children.vic.gov.au 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 www.kpv.org.au 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 www.acd.org.au 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.