Parents often don’t realise that the three year old Kindy program offered at child care centres is exactly the same as stand-alone Kindergartens and follows the same framework.
Child care expert and owner of Treasured Tots Early Education Simone O’Brien said there had been a surge in the availability of three-year-old kindy programs in recent years leaving parents with misconceptions about the programs.
“I’m seeing many parents moving their children from child care to attend a 3 and 4 year old kindy, not realising that the child care offers their own program based on the same framework,” said Mrs O’Brien.
“The educational program is required to be delivered by law to every child enrolled in an education and care service whether it be child care or kindergarten,” she said.
“The children do the same curriculum regardless of where they go.”
“Parents seem to feel that because a centre refers to itself as a kindergarten there is some kind of difference in the educational benefit in sending their children there, rather than child care when this isn’t the case.”
“The Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) Being – Belonging – Becoming, are the principles, practices and outcomes that support and enhance young children’s learning from birth to 5 years of age as well as their transition to school.”
The five outcomes covered in the EYLF in all early childhood settings include areas such as having a strong sense of identity and wellbeing, being connected and contributing to their world, being confident and involved learners and effective communicators.
“All child care and kindergarten centres develop their own strategies to implement this framework,” she said.
As stated in the National Child Care Regulations, all early learning services must have an Early Childhood Teacher or an Educator who is actively working towards this qualification.
Mrs O’Brien said when parents realise the same framework is offered at childcare centres there is a sense of relief because of advantages such as:
- Some child care centres offer kindy sessions or long day care hours which is more flexible for parents
- Drop off and pick up: Families with younger children only have to do one drop off and pick up
- Siblings can see each other throughout the day
- Toilet training: Child care centres are well equipped for managing children who aren’t toilet trained whereas kindergartens often require children to be fully toilet trained before they will accept them
Mrs O’Brien says it is very important for families to know that national regulations have now made child care centres an exceptional option when choosing a 3 and 4 year old kindy program.
“It’s a shame that some children are being unsettled by having to transition from their safe haven in child care to a pre kindy due to parents not realising that their child’s education can continue in the child care setting,” said Mrs O’Brien.
Mrs O’Brien owns Treasured Tots Early Education Centres in Fremantle and Bibra Lake which cater for children from birth to age five including offering a kindergarten program. For more information on these services please visit www.treasuredtots.com.au