In December 2020, the Victorian Government made the announcement of free four-year-old kinder to make it more accessible and affordable for families. This is a great initiative for our families attending or enrolling in four-year-old kinder at Child’s Play and we are encouraging everyone to take up this opportunity.
This guide will help you understand the free kinder scheme and how it benefits your family.
What is the free kinder scheme?
Free kinder is a part of a $169.6 million investment in early childhood education by the Victorian Government in the 2020-21 budget. Free kinder forms as part of the economic recovery to help parents and primary caregivers return to work and everyday life following the pandemic. In particular, this is targeted towards women who were disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
The funding was announced after recent studies have shown investment into early childhood education is one of the most effective ways to set children up for life and thrive in school. With this scheme, parents will save around $2000 in fees for each child which is equivalent to 15 hours a week of four-year-old kinder (or in long daycare 2 days of your fees after ccs up to $25.00 a day for 40 weeks).
How does it work?
Child’s Play ELC is considered a funded kindergarten service. For each child enrolled in our kindergarten program, we will receive funding from the Victorian Government which will automatically be taken off your childcare fees as part of the agreement. This is $50.00 per week for 40 weeks or term time.
The funds will assist in providing greater childcare services and providing support for all families from all backgrounds.
What are the financial implications of this for my child who is attending four-year-old kinder (going to school in 2023)?
This initiative will mean a reduction in kinder fees of around $2,000 over the 2021 kinder year. This saving is for a full 15-hour weekly program over 40 weeks.
For example, a family with a child who attends a kindergarten program in a long daycare centre across two days a week, with a daily fee of $120 and Child Care Subsidy rate of 65 per cent, will have their out of pocket fees reduced by approximately half. Their weekly cost will drop from $84 to approximately $42.
A family with a child enrolled in a typical, participating community kindergarten for a sessional 15-hour program will pay nothing all year, instead of paying around $2,000 in out-of-pocket fees.
Who is eligible for free kinder?
All families who enrolled at a funded kindergarten service or sessional kindergarten services and have children who are able to go to school in 2022 will be eligible for free kinder. This means all families who have enrolled in our four-year-old kindergarten program are eligible for this discount.
Why is four-year-old kinder free?
Four-year-old kindergarten is different from early childhood education as it is led by a degree-qualified teacher. This provides children with new opportunities and a range of real-world experiences before entering a new and potentially scary environment such as school. Our Reggio Emilia curriculum prepares your child to express themselves creatively, think independently and work collaboratively with others. More importantly, it provides them with opportunities to lead their learning and explore interests.
The Victorian government has chosen to invest in four-year-old kindergarten because studies have shown that children are more prepared and able to thrive in school environments after participating in a structured kindergarten program.
What are the benefits to kinder?
Kindergarten is one of the most effective ways to measure school readiness and provide parents with accurate assessments of their child’s development. There are a number of benefits to enrolling in a funded kindergarten service such as:
- Kindergarten is designed to improve emotional and social skills alongside their cognitive development
- Your child is able to make new friends who may be going to the same school as them in 2022.
- Kindergarten sets a strong educational foundation and encourages children to love learning in a fun and supportive environment.
- Educators can provide personalised assistance to help your child become school ready
- Children become confident learners
- Children can expand their knowledge and connection of themselves, their family, their culture and their community.
- Parents can be confident their child will be prepared for school and new environments.
Applying for Kindergarten
If your child is turning four before April 30th 2023, you should be considering a four-year-old kindergarten!
Child’s Play ELC offers a four-year-old kindergarten service is integrated within our long day childcare so if you are already enrolled at Child’s Play you don’t need to change childcare providers. If you are interested in enrolling your child at Child’s Play, get in touch with our centres by filling out the expression of interest form.