About Kindergarten

Why should my child come to kindergarten?

Kindergarten is an important part of young children’s growth and development and attendance is strongly recommended for all children. Attending kindergarten improves children’s health and wellbeing, supports their development, helps them to develop strong social skills and encourages a love of learning.

Children who go to a kindergarten program are more likely to be independent and confident and to make a smooth transition to primary school.

Kindergarten aims to support children’s learning and development, social skills, emotional skills, language, literacy and numeracy skills, self-awareness and respect for others, ability to make new friends and exposes them to new ideas and concepts.

Our high quality kindergarten programs will offer your child a range of learning experiences and activities that are both stimulating and fun. Your child’s learning and curiosity about their world will be encouraged through different experiences and activities, such as exploring the natural world, being exposed to new ideas and solving problems.

Your child will have the opportunity to:
• develop their social and communication skills by forming relationships and friendships with other children and taking part in group activities and cooperative play
• express their creativity through dance, music and art
• increase their independence and develop an identity that is strong in culture and community
• develop the skills and knowledge that they need for reading, writing and mathematics
• increase their problem-solving skills and their understanding of the world around them.

Kindergarten is for all children and is inclusive of all children. If your child has a disability or needs additional help with their learning and development, the educators will work with you to ensure that the program and learning environment meet the needs of your child.

Some of our centres also include bush and beach kindergarten sessions, so that children learn to care for and learn from the natural world around them.

When should my child come to Kindergarten?

All children learn and develop in different ways.  Some children may benefit from starting school at a younger age, while other children may benefit from starting later.  It is important that children are ready to transition to school after kindergarten. Therefore, it is important that parents and carers carefully consider the best time for their child to start kindergarten.

Families of children with birth dates between 1 January and 30 April have a choice about when their child will commence kindergarten. Parents and carers will need to make an informed choice about when their child attends kindergarten.  For further advice and information regarding the right time to start kindergarten, please contact BKS enrolments, educators at your local kindergarten or go to www.education.vic.gov.au.

Date of Birth 3 year old kinder 4 year old kinder
1 May 2015 to 30 April 2016 2019 2020
1 May 2016 to 30 April 2017 2020 2021
1 May 2017 to 30 April 2018 2021 2022
1 May 2018 to 30 April 2019 2022 2023

Please contact us if you would like to discuss the specific needs of your child.

My child is turning 6 next year – can they still come to kindergarten?

Children who turn six at any time during the kindergarten year need to be exempt from attending school. Parents/guardians must obtain an approved exemption before the child starts kindergarten by submitting an Exemption from school due to attendance in kindergarten program form to the Department of Education and Training. BKS must sight the approved exemption form and note that it has been sighted on the child’s registration

Can my child start kindergarten early?

If a child is less than four years of age by 30 April in the year they are to attend a funded kindergarten program, the parents/guardians must first request approval for early school entry for their child to attend school in the following year. Applications for early school entry are not commonly approved. Please note that children granted early entry to kindergarten are not eligible to apply for another year of funded kindergarten in the following year if the child does not attend school.

A copy of the written request for early school entry must accompany the child’s kindergarten registration form. BKS must sight this request and include a copy in the child’s enrolment record. Further information regarding early entry to kindergarten is available at www.education.vic.gov.au.

Funding to attend another year of Four Year old Kindergarten

If our educators observe a child who displays learning or development delays, we may consider allowing the child to attend another year of four-year kindergarten as a funded place. We make these assessments in term 3.

A child is eligible for another funded year of 4 year old kindergarten if:

  • the child is observed as having delays in at least two areas of learning and development and;
  • it will help to strengthen the child’s development and better facilitate transition to school the following year.

     To determine that a child is eligible to access another funded year of four year old kindergarten, the teacher will work in collaboration with the parents/guardians to develop a term 3 plan for learning and development. This plan is then reviewed towards the end of term 3.

     If the term 3 plan goals have not been achieved, the teacher will lead a discussion with the parents/guardians to determine whether a second year of 4 year old kindergarten or transition to school will achieve better outcomes for the child. A review of the term 3 plan for learning and development will inform the decision about whether the child should transition to school or attend a second year of four year old kindergarten.

    Which kindergarten is best for children with additional learning needs?

    All BKS kindergartens provide an inclusive program for all children. Parents and carers are encouraged to provide details of any additional needs or medical requirements your child may have, in the relevant section on the BKS Kindergarten Registration Form. BKS can then work to ensure families and children have access to available assistance to ensure a smooth transition into kindergarten programs for every child.

    What is No Jab No Play and what does it mean for my family?

    Under the ‘No Jab, No play’ legislation that came into force on 1 January 2016, children are required to be fully vaccinated for their age before they can be enrolled in a kindergarten program.

    Conscientious objection is not an exemption.

    To have your child’s enrolment confirmed, you need to provide:
    • a current immunisation history statement from the Australian Immunisation Register, and
    • the statement must show your child is up to date with all vaccinations that are due for their age. Or they’re up to date with the vaccinations they’re able to receive.

    This is known as “No Jab No Play”.

    The immunisation history statement from the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) is the only document accepted for enrolments. Letters from GPs or local councils are not accepted.

    You can find out more about No Jab No Play on the Better Health Channel.
    Parents and carers can print a copy of their child’s Immunisation History Statement from their myGov account or:
    • call the AIR on 1800 653 809
    • visit a Medicare or Centrelink office.

    Families who do not hold a Medicare card must call the AIR to request an immunisation history statement. A translating and interpreting service is available by calling 131 450, Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 4.45pm

    How much will kindergarten cost?

    Kindergarten Fees – 3 and 4 year old

    Registration Fee
    A kindergarten registration fee of $35.00 should accompany your Kindergarten Registration Form. Families registering on line will need to make the $35.00 payment via credit card.  Online registrations submitted without payment will not be recorded on the database and will need to be resubmitted with payment for the child to be registered for kindergarten.  Families who are eligible for the Kindergarten Fee Subsidy are not required to pay the registration fee. This fee is not refundable and contributes to administrative costs. The registration fee can be paid directly into the Bethany Kindergarten Services bank account (details on registration form), by credit card, or in person by cash or EFTPOS. Cheques can be made payable to Bethany Kindergarten Services. Please note that Kindergarten Registration Forms without the fee will not be processed until payment is received.

    Enrolment Acceptance Fee 

    In 2021, Four year old kindergarten is fully funded by the Victorian Government. When you are offered a 2021 3yo kindergarten place, you will be asked to secure your child’s place by paying an Enrolment Acceptance Fee. 

    3yo Unfunded Kindergerten Gap Fee

    Click the link below to download the fees and charges information schedules for Bethany Kindergarten Services fees for 2021.

    Kindergarten fees are payable directly to BKS, please do not make payments at the kindergarten.
    Internet
    Bank
    Transfer

    Bank: National Australia Bank
    Account Name: Bethany Kindergarten Services
    BSB: 083 004
    Account number: 19114 1980

    Please include invoice number & parent/guardian
    surname.

    Direct Debit Forms available from
    Bethany Kindergarten Services, fees@bethany.org.au, or
    5273 0200
    Centrepay Forms available from
    Bethany Kindergarten Services, fees@bethany.org.au, or
    5273 0200
    By phone Bethany Kindergarten Services on 5273 0200
    In person Eftpos, cash or credit card at Bethany
    Kindergarten Services, 16 Ballarat Road,
    Hamlyn Heights.
    Cheque Payable to Bethany Kindergarten Services,
    mailed to P O Box 325, North Geelong, 3215.
    Please include invoice number and parent/guardian
    surname.
    Over the
    counter
    At any National Australia Bank branch
    Account Name: Bethany Kindergarten Services
    BSB: 083 004
    Account number: 19114 1980
    Please include invoice number and parent/guardian surname

    If you are experiencing difficulties paying fees, or you would like further information, please contact the Fees & Accounts Receivable Officer on 5273 0200 or fees@bethany.org.au. Further information is available at www.bethanykindergartens.org.au.

    My child is of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Island descent. Do I have to pay for kindergarten?

    No. Your child is eligible for the kindergarten fee subsidy if your child identifies as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. BKS will apply for the kindergarten fee subsidy or extension grant on your behalf. The payment will be made directly to BKS and will allow your child to attend up to 15 hours a week for free or at low-cost.

    You can apply for the fee subsidy or extension grant at any time during the year, even if your child moves to another kindergarten.

    I have triplets attending the same kindergarten in the same year. Do I have to pay for kindergarten?

    No, your children are eligible for the Kindergarten Fee Subsidy. If your child is identified on their birth certificate as being a multiple birth child (triplets or more). BKS will apply for the kindergarten fee subsidy or extension grant on your behalf. The payment will be made directly to BKS and will allow your child to attend up to 15 hours a week for free or at low-cost.

    You can apply for the fee subsidy or extension grant at any time during the year, even if your child moves to another kindergarten.

    Our family holds a Health Care Card/Pension Card. Do I have to pay for kindergarten?

    No. If your child holds or has a parent or guardian who holds, one of the following:
    • 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 (200-204, 786 or 866)
    • Bridging visas for any of the above Refugee or Asylum Seeker visas
    Your family is eligible for the Kindergarten Fee Subsidy.

    After providing a copy of your valid concession card or Visa, BKS will apply for the Kindergarten Fee Subisdy funding on your behalf. This funding is paid to BKS by the Department of Education and Training, and allows your child to attend up to 15 hours a week for free or at low-cost

    Our family is in Australia on a Visa. Do I have to pay for kindergarten?

    No. If your child holds or has a parent or guardian who holds, one of the following:
    • Refugee or Asylum Seeker visa (200-204, 786 or 866)
    • Bridging visas for any of the above Refugee or Asylum Seeker visas,
    Your family is eligible for the Kindergarten Fee Subsidy.
    If your family or child has a humanitarian or refugee visa listed by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection which is not included in the above list, your child may still be eligible for the kindergarten fee subsidy. Please contact BKS for more information.
    BKS will apply for the kindergarten fee subsidy or extension grant on your behalf. The payment will be made directly to BKS and will allow your child to attend up to 15 hours a week for free or at low-cost.
    You can apply for the fee subsidy or extension grant at any time during the year, even if your child moves to another kindergarten.

    What happens if I get a concession card during the kindergarten year?

    If a family becomes eligible for the Kindergarten Fee Subsidy during a term, a full refund of the applicable term’s Fees (and the Kindergarten Enrolment Fee, where applicable) will be provided when evidence of this eligibility is provided to BKS.

    How do I cancel my kindergarten place?

    • If BKS receives written notification of a child withdrawal prior to the end of Term 3 in the year before attendance, BKS will provide a refund of Fees paid upon application. This does not include the registration fee.

    • If BKS receives written notification of a child’s withdrawal prior to the end of Term 4 in the year before attendance, BKS will provide a 50% refund of the Fees paid upon application. This does not include the registration fee.

    • If BKS receives written notification of a child’s withdrawal after the end of Term 4 in the year before attendance, the parent/guardian will not be eligible for a refund of Fees paid except in extraordinary circumstances.

    If a family no longer requires a kindergarten place during the kindergarten year, BKS must be provided with 4 weeks written notification that the position is no longer required. Where written notification is provided within the timeframe, Term fees may be adjusted to a pro rata rate for the weeks attended. Families wishing to reserve a pre-kindergarten (3 year old program) place for children turning three during the year of enrolment, will be liable to pay term Fees from the first day of Term one. Children can only commence the pre-kindergarten program after they have turned three years old. This is only applicable if the child turns three years old on or before 30 April.

    The kindergarten was closed for a day. Can I get a fee refund?

    There is no refund of fees in the following circumstances:
    • a child’s short-term illness
    • public holidays
    • family holiday during operational times
    • closure of the service for one or more days when a qualified educator is absent and a qualified reliever is not available
    • closure of the service for staff training days
    • closure of the service due to extreme and unavoidable circumstances
    • withdrawal of a child during term time, unless exceptional circumstances apply.

    There will be no refund where a family chooses not to send their child to the program for the maximum number of hours for which they are enrolled.

    For more information regarding fees, please refer to the BKS Fee Policy available at www.bethanykindergartens.org.au. Families experiencing difficulties paying fees are encouraged to contact the BKS Fees & Accounts Receivable Officer on 5273 0200 or fees@bethany.org.au.

    How can I provide feedback to BKS?

    Feedback and complaints regarding the enrolment processes can be referred in writing to the Team Leader, Kindergarten Services by emailing enrolments@bethany.org.au. If a complaint cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of all parties, it will be referred to the Kindergarten Services Manager, Bethany Kindergarten Services, for consideration and review.

    No child shall be disadvantaged when parents/guardians make a complaint. All feedback will be accepted and responded to in a cooperative and reasonable manner that seeks a satisfactory resolution for all parties.

    For a copy of the BKS Complaints and Grievances Policy please go to www.bethanykindergartens.org.au.

    What will BKS do with my personal information?

    BKS collects personal information to comply with the Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011 and Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010, and also for purposes of registering your child in the BKS Kindergarten Central Enrolment System. BKS considers it is necessary and important to collect this information to ensure that appropriate information is registered for your child. This information will be used for BKS administrative purposes and will be provided to relevant BKS educators for the enrolment of your child at the kindergartens listed in this handbook. This information will not be disclosed to any other party except as required by law.