Does your kindergarten follow a particular teaching philosophy/curriculum?

JJ McMahon believes in offering an Emergent Curriculum. Emergent Curriculum describes a style of curriculum that develops when exploring what is socially relevant, intellectually engaging and personally meaningful to children. It is called emergent because it evolves based on interests and choices and is open to new ideas.
It combines:

– Children’s interests
– Staff interests
– Developmental tasks
– Physical environment
– People working together as a group
– Spontaneous learning experiences & unexpected events
– Family & community values

This is offered via a play-based program that enables children the opportunity to learn and develop via hands on meaningful experiences.  It is our belief that the children are valuable and capable contributors to our days together.  The children can play, explore and develop their own ideas and understanding of their world in a safe, friendly and learning environment.
The staff use free play time to scaffold and support the children’s learning responding intentionally to teaching moments as they occur naturally throughout the session.  Reflections and documentation at the end of the session gives the staff an opportunity to reflect on how the session went and where the interests lie for integration into future learning experiences.
Our curriculum is developed from the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework and the national Early Years Learning Framework for Australia. This Framework’s vision is for all children to experience play-based learning that is engaging and builds success for life.  The Early Years Framework describes childhood as a time of belonging, being and becoming.
We utilize the teachings of a variety of theorists inspired particularly by Reggio Emilia, Steiner, Montesorri and Froebel.

What is your rating against the National Quality Standard (as Australian-wide quality system of education & care services)?

Our rating is the highest possible – Exceeding National Quality Standard.  We received a rating of Exceeding in all 7 quality areas and are currently the only kindergarten in Kew to have done so.

What are your class sizes and staff/child ratios?

Our 3yo classes have a maximum of 20 children and are taught by a tertiary qualified Teacher and a Certificate or Diploma qualified Educator.  Our 4yo group sizes vary from year to year according to demand.  Staff/child ratio is never more than 1:11 and for much of the day is considerably less.  In 2019 Red Group had 22 children with 2 staff and Blue group 26 children with 3 staff.

What will my child learn at kindergarten?

During your child’s kindergarten experience with us we aim to:

• Foster your child’s natural sense of curiosity, wonder and creativity.
• Enhance your child’s sense of self, with particular emphasis on confidence in tackling new tasks, as well as confidently contributing as a member of our group.
• Develop the “whole child”: language and literacy, numeracy and problem solving, creativity and self expression, gross motor planning and co ordination, social and emotional development, investigation and discovery of knowledge.

My child attends child care. How is kindergarten different?

• Both 3 and 4 year old Kindergarten programs are delivered by University trained Kindergarten Teachers who plan and deliver a developmentally appropriate program which caters for children’s individual needs, as well as delivering a program which reflects the Teachers Specialist Knowledge of child development. This program is offered via an Emergent Curriculum.
• Children at Kindergarten have a sense of belonging to a particular “group” i.e. yellow, green, blue or red group.
• Children within a particular group feel secure in the fact that all children arrive and depart at the same time of the day. The friendships that are formed on one day are followed through on the next day of attendance as children are in a particular group.
• Kindergarten programs are planned in order to meet the specific needs of 3-4 year olds who attend 3 year old Kindergarten programs and 4-5 year olds who attend 4 year old Kindergarten programs.
• Kindergartens are Community based which provides children with the opportunity to develop friendships with other children in your local area, as well as children who may attend the local Primary School that your child will attend.

My child has allergies – does your kindergarten have policies in place to allow them to attend?

Absolutely! The following policies have been adopted by our Kindergarten Committee and form the basis of our daily practice: Anaphylaxis, Asthma, Accident, Injury and medical Emergency. Please consult our POLICY folder located in the Kindergarten foyer or speak to one of our staff in relation to your particular child’s situation.

All of our Kindergarten Staff have current First Aid training, as well as training in the administration of an Epipen.

My child suffers from asthma. Are the staff trained to administer asthma medication?

All children with asthma are required to submit a copy of their asthma management plans so staff are aware of the children affected and the appropriate action to take.  Staff are trained in First Aid including asthma.  All staff have current training in asthma management.

How do I enrol?

Our kindergarten participates in the Boroondara Kindergarten Central Enrolment Scheme (BKCES).  Enrolment information & application forms can be downloaded from www.boroondara.vic.gov.au/residents/families-children/kindergartens or copies are available from City of Boroondara Maternal Child & Health Centres, Libraries and Council Offices.

Applications can be lodged from your child’s second birthday.

How old does my child need to be to attend kindergarten?

For 4 year old kindergarten, children must be four years of age by 30 April in the year they are attending the 4 year old program.
To attend 3 year old kindergarten your child must turn three prior to 30 April in year of attendance. Children cannot commence at the kindergarten until they have turned three years of age.

What is “No Jab No Play”?

From 1 January 2016 all parents/guardians seeking to enrol their child at an early childhood service in Victoria must provide evidence that their child is fully immunised for their age and maintain their vaccination schedule once enrolled.  At enrolment you will be asked to supply a copy of your child’s most recent Immunisation History Statement from the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register before your enrolment can be confirmed.

I am not sure that my child will be ready for kindergarten when they are eligible. What should I consider?

A few of the issues you might consider: does your child still need a nap during the day; are they toilet-trained; can they communicate their needs easily to others; do they follow instruction & able to comply with class routines/limits.
Increasingly evidence suggests children benefit from being older when attending kindergarten and school and so we suggest children born between January and April enroll into 3yo kindergarten the year they turn four; thus making 4yo kindergarten the year they turn five and a later school age entry.
The City of Boroondara produces an information sheet on PreSchool Readiness that outlines some of the issues.  This is distributed by the Maternal Child Health Centres and copies available at the kindergartens.  They also hold talks each year with experts to help guide you with this decision.  You can talk to your Health Nurse, Kindergarten teachers or the PreSchool Field Officer for further assistance.

If my child doesn’t attend 3 year old kindergarten can they attend 4 year old kindergarten the following year?

Yes. There are fewer 3 year old places available than 4 year old places due to the way kindergarten places are funded by the Government.  However it is important to note that our enrolled 3 year olds have priority access to our 4 year old programs.   As we offer only a few more positions in 4 year old than 3 year old it is difficult to receive an offer without attending a 3 year old group.
There are many other things children can do if they miss out on a 3 year old kindergarten place while they wait to start 4 year old.  City of Boroondara Family Services or your Maternal Child Health Centre are good sources of information.

Can my child have two years of either 3 year old or 4 year old kindergarten?

Due to the limited number of places it is not possible to have a second year of 3 year old kindergarten.

4 year old places are partially funded by the Department of Education and Training.  To receive a repeat year of funding a child must exhibit at least two areas of developmental difficulties.  The teacher must lodge a Declaration of Eligibility for a second year of funding during the year prior to the repeat year.  You or your teacher may consult with the Preschool Field Officer from the City of Boroondara regarding eligibility for repeat funding application.

Why are there less 3 year old places than 4 year old? Why are the 3 year old program fees high in comparison to 4 year old program?

The Dept of Education & Training in conjunction with the Federal Government provides partial funding for 15 hours of 4 year old kindergarten for each enrolled child. There is no subsidy provided for 3 year old kindergarten. For this reason, kindergartens maximize their 4 year old places for funding and to try and provide enough spaces for all the 4 year olds to attend. The Victorian Government will not commence funding for 3 year old until at least 2022.

Who owns your kindergarten? Is it run by the Boroondara Council?

Our kindergarten is an Incorporated Association run by a volunteer Committee of Management. The Committee is made up of eligible members – under our constitution this is defined as parents who have a child enrolled at the kindergarten or other relevant people that the Committee may nominate for membership from time-to-time.
We do not receive any funding from the City of Boroondara, however, they do own our premises.

What are the parent’s obligations for involvement in the kindergarten?

Each group has a parent duty roster and we hope parents (or other special person such as grandparent /aunt /nanny) can put their name down each term to attend and help out with sessions. This is a fantastic opportunity to see the group in session and the children love it when Mum/Dad or other special person is “on duty”. Non immediate family will be required to present a current Working with Children card prior to joining the group.

At the AGM we ask for parents’ to volunteer for the Committee of Management in a variety of roles. In addition you may have a special skill or area of expertise that we can call on if necessary through the year.
There is a working bee each term, coordinated by our Working Bee Coordinator.