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.

What is the difference between 3 and 4 year old kindergarten?

Four-year-old kindergarten (Funded program)
Four-year-old kindergarten is a one year program for children delivered by a qualified early childhood teacher in the year before they start school. The Victorian Government provides funding to services to contribute to the cost of running a funded program. Children eligible to attend a funded four year old kindergarten program must:

  • be at least four years old on or before 30 April of the year in which they are enrolled to attend the funded kindergarten program
  • not be enrolled in a funded kindergarten place at another kindergarten or daycare, and
  • have not previously attended a funded kindergarten program at another kindergarten or daycare service

    Kindergarten is free for children eligible for kindergarten fee subsidy.

Three-year-old kindergarten
Three-year-old kindergarten is a full fee paying program for children who turn 3 years of age before 30 April each year. The program is taught by a qualified early childhood educator and varies in length from 3 to 6 hours per week. Children who have not turned 3 by the start of the kindergarten year are not able to attend until they have turned three. To hold a place for a child who is unable to start as they have not turned 3 by the start of Term 1, parents/guardians will need to pay the full term/s fees in advance.

The Victorian Government subsidises fees for some children so that they may attend for free. This is call Early Start Kindergarten. To be eligible, your child must be at least 3 years old by 30 April and be either:

  • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
  • Known to Child FIRST or Child Protection?

Please contact us if you are unsure whether to enrol your child in a 3 or 4 year old program.

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 their funded kindergarten year. 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 whether their child will commence kindergarten in the year they turn four or the year they turn five. Parents and carers will need to make an informed choice about which year their child attends their funded kindergarten program in the year before school.  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 20192020
1 May 2016 to 30 April 2017 20202021
1 May 2017 to 30 April 2018 20212022
1 May 2019 to 30 April 2020 20222030

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.

Can my child attend two years of kindergarten?

Children are eligible to receive a second funded year of kindergarten if:
• the child is observed as having delays in at least two outcome areas of learning and development (detailed in the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework) available at www.education.vic.gov.au, and
• there is evidence to suggest that the child will achieve better outcomes if he/she attends a second year of kindergarten to strengthen learning and development of skills in these areas and better facilitate transition to school the following year.

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 enrollment 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 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 in person by cash or eftpost, by direct debit, cheque, money order or credit card. Cheques/money orders are to 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
When you are offered a kindergarten place, you will be asked to secure your child’s place by paying either a $100 Enrolment Acceptance Fee for a Kindergarten (4 year old) place (families who are eligible for the Kindergarten Fee Subsidy are not required to pay the enrolment acceptance fee) or a $125 Enrolment Acceptance Fee for a Kindergarten (3 year old) place. This fee will be deducted from your first term Kindergarten Program fees.

Kindergarten Program Fees
The Department of Education and Training (DET) provides funding as a contribution toward the cost of providing a four year old kindergarten program. BKS meets the balance of costs through charging fees.

Payment of fees
Fees will be invoiced directly to parents/guardians and must be paid by the due dates indicated on the invoice. Fees are paid in advance of each kindergarten term. First term fees must be received in full prior to the child starting kindergarten. Families with children enrolling after the commencement of a term, will receive a pro rata invoice for that term. Receipts will be issued when payment is made and regular statements detailing payments received will be provided.

Three year old Kindergarten is funded exclusively by parent fees. Fees vary depending on the number of hours offered by the kindergarten your child attends. Sessions are typically 2 to 5 hours and children attend once or twice each week.

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.
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 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.