Kinder, also referred to as ‘kindergarten’ or ‘early childhood education’, is an important part of your child’s development and learning. Enrolling your child in a kinder program for 2 years can help develop their skills so they do well in life and school.
Hours of kindergarten
Three-Year-Old Kinder programs are for between 5 and 15 hours each week and Four-Year-Old Kinder programs are for 15 hours.
Children who go to a kinder program start to develop skills such as how to count and recognise numbers and letters, and how to solve problems. Your child will build their confidence and independence at kinder and learn social and emotional skills. They will socialise and make new friends.
Research shows that at 16 years old, students who had attended 2 or 3 years of a kinder program before starting school had higher scores in English and maths than those who did not.
How parents and kinder educators work together
Kinder works best as a partnership between parents/carers, families and teachers. As a parent/carer, you are the most important part of your child’s development. You teach them right from wrong, your language, culture and values such as kindness and respect. Teachers will talk to you about what is happening at kinder and ways to help your child to keep learning at home. They want to know about your child’s interests and how they like to learn.
You can ask your kinder teacher to organise an interpreter at any time. This could be on-site or by telephone or video. There is no cost involved for families to access this service.
What happens at kinder
Teachers encourage children to learn by playing. Activities may include drawing, singing, climbing, digging and running outdoors, playing with toys and reading books. Play encourages children to use their imagination and make discoveries, while cooperating with others by sharing and taking turns. Children will learn about sounds, words and language, including how to speak and understand English.
Kinders are part of our multicultural community
Kinder programs welcome parents from all backgrounds to be part of their communities. They are a place where parents can meet and share stories and learn from each other.
Teachers want to know about your child and your culture. This helps them prepare programs that are meaningful for your child, including activities based on cultural days and events and celebrate the diversity in Victoria.
Teachers include everyone in activities, so children who do not speak English have the same opportunities to play and learn as others. Some kinder programs have bilingual educators who help children who speak little or no English. Children are also taught to get along with and be accepting of others and to respect cultural differences.
Types of kindergarten programs
Children can attend a Three-Year-Old Kinder program at either a long day care (which is also called childcare) centre or at a standalone (which is also called sessional) kinder service. These services usually also offer a Four-Year-Old Kinder program.
A long day care centre can offer a full day of education and care, including a kinder program. The teacher-led kinder program can be integrated with additional hours of education and care.
At a standalone service, a kinder program will only operate on certain days and at specific times. A standalone service usually operates for 40 weeks a year during the school term and take holidays at the same time as schools. These days and hours are set by the kinder service.