Busting the myths about Kindergarten

If you’re getting ready to enrol your little one in kindergarten, the chances are you’ve heard a lot of different information. Some of it may be correct, but there are a lot of myths out there. It’s time to bust some of them.

Myth 1: If I get my Kindergarten registration in first, or as soon as registrations open, I will get my preferred kindergarten place.

Truth: Kindergarten places are NOT allocated to those who get their registration in first. Wyndham City has developed an enrolment policy that:

  • Promotes fair and equitable access to Kindergarten programs;
  • Follows State Government Priority of Access criteria;
  • Supports all eligible children to access a Kindergarten program, including those who face barriers to participation; and
  • Does not inadvertently present barriers to participation.

A points-based weighting system is used to allocate places. Preferences are given to registrations received prior to the first-round registration closing date. Where two or more children have the same points value, the Central Registration System randomly allocates places. For further information please visit www.wyndham.vic.gov.au

 

Myth 2:If I live close to the Kindergarten I will get additional points because Kindergartens are zoned the same as Primary Schools.

Truth: Kindergarten registrations work slightly differently to primary school, in that Kindergartens are not zoned to particular areas. Points are NOT awarded depending on the distance you live from the Kindergarten, points are given to families whose home address falls within the same suburb as their first preference Kindergarten if you can provide documentation as proof. 

 

Myth 3:  If I attend a Kindergarten on a Primary School site, I will automatically get into that Primary School or if my child’s sibling attends the Primary School, I will automatically get into the Kindergarten.

Truth:  Our Kindergartens are NOT feeder services for Primary Schools. If you attend a Kindergarten on a Primary School site, this does not mean you will get into the Primary School the following year. With Wyndham’s growing community, our kindergartens on school sites cannot cater for the large number of children that the prep classes will have. For example, Alamanda Kindergarten has a capacity for a maximum of 231 children, however Alamanda Primary School had 364 children enrolled in Prep for 2018.

 

Myth 4: If I attend a 3-year-old Kindergarten, I will automatically get into the same kindergarten for 4-year-old Kindergarten.

Truth: Although attending a 3-year-old Kindergarten on the same site as your preferred 4-year-old Kindergarten will not automatically guarantee you a place, you will receive additional points for attending a 3-year-old program on the same site as your first preference if you can provide documentation as proof of enrolment.

 

Myth 5: If I call Council, they will be able to advise me where I am on the wait list.

Truth: Council is unable to advise you of where you are currently sitting on the wait list. A child’s position on the waiting list is constantly changing, depending upon factors such as new registrations and whether other families accept places or whether they choose to cancel and go back on the waiting list. In the instance where two or more children have the same points value, the Central Registration System will allocate randomly.

 

Myth 6: If I mention on my registration form that my child has additional and/or high support needs, they will miss out on a Kindergarten place or it will impact on them being placed in our preferred Kindergarten.

Truth: This is completely false! Council encourages families to provide details of any diagnosed additional needs or medical requirements on the Kindergarten registration form. By having this information as early as possible, Council will be able to work with your family to ensure we can support your child’s transition to Kindergarten. The Kindergarten Inclusion Support (KIS) offers supplementary assistance to Kindergartens to support the inclusion of children with additional needs in the Kindergarten program. Applications are made by the Kindergarten Educator in consultation with parents, Early Childhood Intervention Agencies and Preschool Field Officers. Additional priority points are awarded to those children which have additional needs. For further information, please contact our Community Support and Enrolment team on 9742 8147.

 

Myth 7: My friend/family member told me there was a spot available at my preferred kindergarten, and if I ring the Kindergarten or Council, they will be able to place my child in it.

Truth: Council is unable to automatically place any child into a Kindergarten place. If someone declines a kindergarten offer or leaves the service, the place will become available in the next round of allocations and a child would be offered the spot in accordance with the Department of Education and Training and Council’s Priority of Access Policy and Enrolment Process. This ensures a fair and equitable process for families to access a Kindergarten program. All allocations of Kindergarten places are handled by Council’s Community Support and Enrolment Team and not the individual Kindergartens.

 

Myth 8: If I choose the same preferences as my friends/family members, my child will be placed in the same group as theirs.

Truth:  As Council uses a Registration System that promotes a fair and equitable process, we are unable to guarantee you a place at the same kindergarten or group as your friend or family member’s child.

 

What is the Central Registration Scheme?

Wyndham City’s Central Registration Scheme includes 23 Council-managed Kindergartens and a growing number of Kindergartens that are managed by one of our external early year’s partners. Council provides 4-year-old Kindergarten at all 23 Council-managed Kindergartens and offers 3-year-old Kindergarten at a selection of these Kindergartens where possible. Wyndham City’s Central Registration Scheme allows families to submit one registration form and nominate up to 4 Kindergartens/Groups, rather than applying and paying registration fees to each individual Kindergarten.

Where are the Kindergartens situated in Wyndham? What days and hours do they run?

Our 4-year-old Kindergarten programs operate for 15 hours per week over two or three sessions.

Our 3-year-old Kindergarten & 3+ Activity Groups operate for either one session of 3 hours, 4 hours, 5 hours or 6 hours per week or 6 hours per week over two sessions.

View a map of participating Kindergartens

View our current timetables

How old does my child need to be to register?

Visit the Eligibility page for information on how old your child needs to be to register.

When do I need to register by for Kindergarten?

It is important to remember that Kindergarten places are NOT allocated to those who get their registration in first.

4-Year-Old

Kindergarten registrations for 4-year-old programs will open on 1 March the year prior to attending and you have until 31 May to submit your registration.

Registrations received during these periods will be considered with the initial offers advised to families by the start of July. Registrations received after 31 May will be considered after initial offers are processed.

3-Year-Old

Registrations for 3-year-old programs will open on 1 April the year prior to attending and you have until 31 May to submit your registration.

Registrations received during these periods will be considered with the initial offers advised to families by the start of July. Registrations received after 31 May will be considered after initial offers are processed.

How do I register for Kindergarten?

Visit the Kindergarten registration process page for information on how to register

How can I choose a Kindergarten program?

Wyndham City highly encourages families to attend any open days or come and visit sessions being held at Kindergartens they are considering before completing their registration to decide which program will best meet your child’s needs.

When completing your registration:

  • When completing your preference, you can select a maximum of four (4);
  • Number your preferences in order from 1 to 4 for groups you are willing to accept;
  • Start with number 1 for your most preferred group;
  • It’s important to only put down preferences that you are willing to accept a place at if offered. If you are not willing to accept the Kindergarten group do not select it. 

Example:

Online Portal Account: To select your preferences on Council’s Online Portal, click and drag your choice from the left side of the screen (you will see a list of all groups available) over to the right side under selected centres. See below, an example of four groups that have been selected as preferences. The top one is your first preference, so in the example below, Quantin Binnah Red Group would be their first preference and The Grange Orange Group would be their fourth preference.

Online portal account

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paper Registration Form: See below, two examples of filling in your Kindergarten group preferences on a paper registration form.

Paper rego 1

 

Paper rego 2

How will my registration be processed?

Wyndham City makes every effort to offer your child a place at your most preferred Kindergarten. Despite growing demand, Wyndham City has always provided enough places available for families applying for 4-year-old Kindergarten.

Wyndham City has developed an enrolment policy that:

  • Promotes fair and equitable access to Kindergarten programs;
  • Support all eligible children to access a Kindergarten program, including those who face barriers to participating; and
  • Does not inadvertently present barriers to participation.

Kindergartens participating in Wyndham City’s Central Registration Scheme have one approved set of criteria used to prioritise registrations and allocate places. This is known as the ‘Priority of Access Criteria’.

In line with the Victorian Department of Education and Training’s (DET) Priority of Access Guidelines and our Kindergarten Enrolment Procedure, we will priorities:

  • High priority children;
  • Children who fit the local criteria.

If there is not enough space in your most preferred Kindergarten/Group, we will try to allocate your child into one of your other preferences. If you have only listed one preference, or we are unable to offer you any of your other preferences, we will continue to try place your child in the following rounds of offers.

High Priority Children

The DET has developed the following criteria to identify a high priority child:

  • Children at risk of abuse or neglect, including Out-of-Home-Care. This includes:
    • A child attending a three-year-old kindergarten program through Early Start Kindergarten (ESK) or Access to Early Learning (AEL), or is
    • Referred by:
      • Child Protection
      • Child and family services (family services referral and support team, Child FIRST/integrated family services/Services Connect case worker)
      • Maternal and Child Health nurse, or
      • Out-of-Home Care provider;
  • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children;
  • Child, Parent or Guardian has Asylum Seeker or Refugee status;
  • Children eligible for the Kindergarten Fee Subsidy.
    • A Commonwealth Health Care Card;
    • A Commonwealth Pensioner Concession Card;
    • A Department of Veterans Affairs Gold Card or White Card;
    • Refugee or Asylum Seeker Visa (200, 201, 202, 203, 204, 786, 790 or 866);
    • Bridging Visa for any of the above Refugee or Asylum Seeker visas. or
    • Multiple birth children (triplets, quadruplets);
  • Children with additional needs, defined as children who:
    • Children who require additional assistance in order to fully participate in the Kindergarten program and/or
    • Children who require a combination of services which are individually planned and/or
    • Children who have an identified specific disability or developmental delay.

The DET website has more information about high priority children.

Local Criteria

Children who fit into the following criteria will be given priority after we have allocated high priority children:

  • Sibling/s attended their first preference Kindergarten in the last two years (or it was their first preference);
  • Child has attended a three-year-old program on the same site as their first preference for four-year-old Kindergarten;
  • Child or family member are currently utilising a service provided by Quantin Binnah, when it’s their first preference;
  • Home address falls within the same suburb as the first preference Kindergarten;
  • Family lives, works, studies or attends child care in Wyndham.

Where two or more children have the same points value, the Central Registration System will allocate randomly.

Please Note: Council reserves the right to consider factors such as group size, group dynamics and other special considerations when allocating places to families to act in the best interest of all children and families.

 

What if my registration form is incomplete?

All incomplete or incorrect registrations will be followed up by email or letter. Registrations are only processed once all information including supporting documentation and payment is provided. If registrations are incomplete this will delay processing and will not be included in any rounds of allocations.

Changing preferences, updating information or cancelling a registration?

Families may advise any changes to their original registration details via the online portal or directly to a Community Support and Enrolment Officer by telephone, in writing or in person. It is your responsibility to ensure all contact and other details are up-to-date and correct.

Changes to preferences of Kindergarten groups can be made up until one week prior to an allocation. You may change all preferences to suit any change in needs or if a preferred group is currently full. If you are unsure of when this dare will be, please visit Council's Early Education & Care Services Online Portal or call our Community Support and Enrolment Team on 9742 8147.

Families must notify the Educators at the service or a Community Support and Enrolment Officer on 9742 8147 of their intention to leave the service. Fees will continue to be generated and payable until the family has notified the service that the place is no longer required.

Please Note: If you cancel your registration and subsequently decide to re-enrol, you will need to reinstate your registration by sending an enquire via the online portal or notify the Community Support and Enrolment team on 9742 8147. The registration will return to the waiting list and will be processed as a new registration, with points assigned according to your status as at your new lodgement date. The normal registration fee will be waived.

 

What happens if I don’t receive my first preference?

Each year the number of 4-year-old places for funded Kindergarten services has been sufficient to meet demand, however not all families are offered a place in their preferred Kindergarten.

If more eligible children are seeking a place at a Kindergarten service than there are places available, children are prioritised based on the Priority of Access guidelines. The system continues to allocate places as vacancies become available. Where families have the same number of points, the system will allocate places randomly.

Accept and Wait

Families can choose to ‘accept and wait’ for a higher preference during the first two rounds of offers or to ‘decline an offer’ and remain on the waiting list. If you choose to ‘accept and wait’, your status will be listed as ‘Placed and Waiting’ in the Wyndham Early Education & Care Services Online Portal. This means, that during Round 2 and 3, the system will search for a vacancy in your higher preference/s. If a vacancy is available, you will be offered a place at the higher preference. Whilst vacancies may become available, it is not possible to provide any assurance to families that they will gain a place at their preferred Kindergarten. 

The ‘accept and wait’ provision will cease at the end of Round 3 (the start of October). At this time, families will be required to either accept the preference they have already been offered or decline that place and remain on a waiting list for a higher preference. Families who choose to remain on the waiting list must note that this means that their child will not have a Kindergarten place until one becomes available at their higher preference. This is to ensure equity of Kindergarten places, in addition to ensuring that Kindergarten educators can prepare for each child’s transition into Kindergarten.

 

What happens if I am not offered a place?

Every effort will be made to place your child at the Kindergarten of your choice. When the allocation process commences, if you first preference is full, the system then considers your second, third and fourth preferences (if you have selected more than one).

If the system is unable to allocate your child a place, they will be placed on the waiting list until a place becomes available for them at one of your preferences.

A child’s position on the waiting list is constantly changing, depending upon factors such as new applications and whether other families accept places or whether they choose to cancel and go back on the waiting list.

Changing Preferences

If you have missed out on a place due to your preferred groups being full, Council highly recommends you consider changing your preferences to give your child the best chance of securing a place. To change your preferences to groups where there is availability, you can log into your portal account at https://kindergarten.wyndham.vic.gov.au  or alternatively email kinderenrolments@wyndham.vic.gov.au. 

Please Note: Changing your preferences will not guarantee you a place.

What if I haven’t registered during the Round 1 registration period?

We will continue to accept registrations after the initial registration period. These registrations will be included in subsequent allocation rounds, with a higher priority (or points value) given to registrations received by the end of the first round cut off 31 May.

What if I am considering a second year of Kindergarten?

Families who are undecided may have questions about the best time for their child to commence school and therefore Kindergarten. Parents are encouraged to discuss this decision with an early childhood teacher, Maternal and Child Health Nurse, Prep teacher or other professionals involved in supporting the learning and development of their child.

Families with children born between 1 January and 30 April need to make an informed choice about which year they would like their child to commence school and therefore which year their child will attend a kindergarten program. All children learn and develop in different ways.

For further information please discuss with your child’s early childhood teacher.

Parents who are considering a second year of Kindergarten should not register through the Wyndham Early Education & Care Services Online Portal. A second-year registration will need to be completed in consultation with your child’s early childhood teacher.

What if my child is of school age when attending Kindergarten?

Parents/guardians planning to register and enrol their child in a Kindergarten program must obtain an exemption from attending school if their child will turn six years of age (compulsory school age) before or while attending their first or second year of funded Kindergarten.

Parents/guardians are responsible for seeking this exemption by applying to the Department of Education and Training (DET) using an exemption from school due to attendance in a Kindergarten program form. Further information is available on the DET website.

What is early or late entry to Kindergarten?

Council encourages families considering early or late entry to kindergarten to seek advice from early childhood professionals to inform their decision. This could include a prep teacher or principal at the family’s school of choice, a Maternal and Child Health nurse, family doctor or speech therapist. A Kindergarten educator should also meet the child to provide the family with a professional opinion about whether the child would benefit from late or early entry into a kindergarten program.

For children born between 1 January and 30 April, parents have a choice about whether they commence school in the year they turn five, or in the following year, and therefore whether they commence kindergarten in the year they turn four or the year they turn five.

What is exemption from school?

Children who turn six at any time during the kindergarten year, including children attending a second year of funded kindergarten, must receive an exemption from attending school. Parents are advised to apply for an exemption before the child starts kindergarten by submitting an “Exemption from school due to attendance in a funded kindergarten program” form to the appropriate Department regional office by 1 November in the year prior to the child turning six. For further information please click here.

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