FAQs

Registering my child at a GEKA Kindergarten:

Does my child have to attend kindergarten?

The Victorian kindergarten program is a one to two year pre-school program for children before they enter primary school. Kindergarten is not compulsory in Victoria but it does help children to develop social, mental and physical skills in preparation for school. In 2010, 95% of eligible Victorian children attended kindergarten. Victoria offers a range of kindergarten options.

When will my child attend kindergarten?

To attend 3 YEAR OLD kindergarten, your child MUST turn three (3) by 30th April in the year they attend.

To attend 4 YEAR OLD kindergarten, your child MUST turn four (4) by 30th April in the year they attend

Your child can start school if they turn five years old by 30 April of the year they start school. Your child must be enrolled in school by the age of six, unless they have an exemption. So, if your child’s birthday falls before 30 April in the calendar year, you have a choice about whether to enrol your child in school in the year they turn five or the next year. Children learn at different rates, in different ways, and at different times. In some cases, your child may benefit from starting a kindergarten program later

In 3 YO kindergarten, if your child has not turned three by the start of first term (but must turn 3 by the 30 April), you can either:

  • stay on the waiting list and if a place becomes available you will be notified, or
  • secure your child’s place by payment of the first term’s fees, but your child may not attend until he/she has his/her third birthday, or
  • you may visit the kindergarten for short periods of time with your child until they turn three. This will be prearranged with the teacher

When should I register my child for kindergarten?

To attend 3 YEAR OLD kindergarten, your child MUST turn three (3) by 30th April in the year they attend.

To attend 4 YEAR OLD kindergarten, your child MUST turn four (4) by 30th April in the year they attend

Your child can start school if they turn five years old by 30 April of the year they start school. Your child must be enrolled in school by the age of six, unless they have an exemption. So, if your child’s birthday falls before 30 April in the calendar year, you have a choice about whether to enrol your child in school in the year they turn five or the next year. Children learn at different rates, in different ways, and at different times. In some cases, your child may benefit from starting a kindergarten program later

In 3 YO kindergarten, if your child has not turned three by the start of first term (but must turn 3 by the 30 April), you can either:

  • stay on the waiting list and if a place becomes available you will be notified, or
  • secure your child’s place by payment of the first term’s fees, but your child may not attend until he/she has his/her third birthday, or
  • you may visit the kindergarten for short periods of time with your child until they turn three. This will be prearranged with the teacher

Ready or not? When to put my child into kindergarten

If you are unsure about the best time for your child to start a kindergarten program, ask GEKA’s Inclusion Practice Coordinator for advice (tel 9570 5866). Find out how the kindergarten program can support your child. You can also attend a tour of the kindergarten that your child is likely to attend.As well, you can talk with your child’s Maternal and Child Health nurse, family doctor and any other professionals your child sees (for example, Speech Therapist, Physiotherapist or Paediatrician).

It is important to carefully consider which year your child will start kindergarten, because you are only able to receive one year of funded 4 year old kindergarten to the year prior to school (unless there is significant benefit to the child’s development). It is very difficult to secure a second year of funding at your kindergarten of choice. It is recommended that your child has completed their Maternal and Child Health Centre check before starting kindergarten.

What will it cost?

Please see individual Kindergarten Pages for more information on fees.

Kindergarten fees are pro-rated if your child commences mid-term.

Children who attend 4 year old kindergarten will be exempt (No fee payable) from term fees if the family hold a current:

  • Health Care Card
  • Pensioner Concession Card
  • Asylum-seeker on Bridging Visas A-F
  • Aboriginal / Torres Strait Islander
  • Triplets or Quadruplets in the same year of kindergarten
  • Resolution of Status (Ros) visa, Class CD, subclass 851
  • Temporary Protection/Humanitarian Visas 447, 451, 785 or 786
  • Refugee or Special Humanitarian Visa 200-217

Children who are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, or known to Child Protection, or referred by Child Protection to Child FIRST can go to kindergarten for free or at low cost for two years before they start primary school, usually starting when they are three years old.

Children attending a GEKA kindergarten are not eligible for the Child Care Benefit or Child Care Rebate.

Is there extra funding for children with additional needs?

The Kindergarten Inclusion Support Service offers supplementary assistance to kindergartens to support the inclusion of a child with additional needs into the program. Applications are made by the Kindergarten Teacher in consultation with parents, early childhood intervention agencies and Preschool Field Officers. Applications are made in the year prior to the child starting kindergarten and strict criteria exist for an application to be made.

Please speak to GEKA’s Inclusion Practice Co-ordinator for further information on funding availability to children with additional needs.

Contact GEKA

Can I view a GEKA Kindergarten?

GEKA run regular kindergarten tours. If you would like to see our kindergarten’s in action, please click here to view the full list of tour dates. This is a great way to get a ‘feel’ for each program, to ask questions  and to share information about your child.

What to look for when you visit a service
  • Were you made to feel welcome? High-quality kindergarten programs are based on a partnership between families and educators. Did the educators ask questions about your child and your family? Were the educators interested in your questions and concerns?
  • If your child was with you, did the educators engage directly with your child (rather than speaking to your child through you)?
  • Are there a variety of fun and challenging learning opportunities that celebrate the cultures of the children who use the service?
  • Do the indoor and outdoor areas offer the children stimulating learning experiences – for example, the opportunity to explore and discover new things? Is there space for the children to play with others or alone? Are there spaces where children can go to be quiet?
Have your questions ready
  • How will the educators work with you to support your child’s learning?
  • How will the educators include your child’s interests?
  • What opportunities will there be to discuss your child’s progress?
  • If your child has additional needs, how will the service support you and your child?
  • How does the program encourage positive behaviour?
  • What will happen if your child becomes unwell or upset?
  • Does the service have a kindergarten certificate on display? This certificate shows that a kindergarten program receives funding from the Victorian Government and is taught by a qualified early childhood teacher.
  • What is the service’s rating against the National Quality Standard (part of an Australia-wide quality system of education and care services)? Can you see the written assessment?
  • Is there a waiting list for places?  Do you need to pay a deposit to enrol or to be put on the waiting list? Tell the service if you are not able to pay the deposit.

Can I receive a refund if my child withdraws from kindergarten?

TERM FEES:
4 weeks’ notice prior to term commencing (in writing to enrolments@gekaoffice.org.au) is required to withdraw a child from kindergarten.If such notice is not given, TERM FEES ARE NOT REFUNDABLE.

3 Year Old APPLICATION FEE:
The $100 3 year old application fee is non-refundable

4 Year Old HOLDING DEPOSIT:
The 4  year old application fee is refundable if you have withdrew your child and they have not attended kindergarten

Does my child need to be toilet trained to attend a GEKA Kindergarten

There is NO expectation that your child must be able to use the toilet prior to starting at a GEKA Kindergarten.

To support ease of toileting, we ask that your child attends a GEKA Kindergarten in pull ups if they are not yet able to use the toilet independently (rather than nappies) as this will help to transition to underwear and when learning to use the toilet.  ‘Training underwear’ is also great when starting out (as it is thicker and more absorbent.

Learning to use the toilet is a significant milestone in your child’s life.  It is one that is achieved in a supportive and trusting environment.  There is no ‘set age’ at which a child learns to use the toilet and it will be different for every child.  Research informs us that typically, children are between 18 months and 3 years before they are developmentally mature enough to recognise the urge to use the toilet.  The key is to not decide for your child.  The secret is to wait for signs that your child is ready to start using the toilet, rather than determine this for them.  Some children get the knack quickly, while others need adult patience and support.

While there is no ‘right time’ to start learning to use the toilet, look out for the following indicators:

    • has dry nappies for several hours at a time – this shows they are able to store wee in the bladder
    • is becoming interested in watching others go to the toilet (this can be awkward or make you uncomfortable at first, but is a good way to introduce things)
    • tells you (or shows obvious signs) when they do a poo or wee in their nappy – if they can tell you before it happens, that’s also a good sign they are ready to transition to the toilet
    • begins to dislike wearing a nappy, perhaps trying to pull it off when it’s wet or soiled
    • has regular, soft, formed bowel movements
    • can pull their pants up and down and is becoming more independent when it comes to completing tasks

Working together to support your child to learn to use the toilet is critical.  We encourage the following strategies:

    • There is NO expectation that your child must be able to use the toilet prior to starting at a GEKA Kindergarten.
    • To support ease of toileting, we ask that your child attends a GEKA Kindergarten in pull ups if they are not yet able to use the toilet independently (rather than nappies) as this will help to transition to underwear and when learning to use the toilet. ‘Training underwear’ is also great when starting out (as it is thicker and more absorbent.
    • Dress your child in clothes that are easy to take off – for example, pants with elastic waistbands
    • Pack LOTS of spare clothing – including additional socks and shoes. Accidents happen and that’s ok – but we need to be able to quickly and discretely support your child to change clothes so they can continue their day.
    • Consistency is key – once you have committed to starting the process of toilet learning, it’s important to follow through. Changing back and forth from nappies to pants can be really confusing for a young child.
    • Before introducing the toilet, it helps if you have an established routine with your child at home. This way, the new experience of using the toilet can be slotted into your normal routine.
    • Teach your child the words needed for toilet training, such as wet, dry, wee, poo, ‘I need to go’. Choose words that you are comfortable with and share these with the educators so these words can be used there too.
    • Give your child lots of fibre to eat and water to drink so she doesn’t become constipated, which can make toileting difficult. Your child’s diet is the best way to handle this, rather than using fibre supplements.
    • Use lots of encouragement for all efforts made throughout the whole process
    • The educators at GEKA will remind your child to use the toilet and will provide the appropriate support needed (with clothing, wiping their bottom etc.). Children will very often get caught up in play and not realise they need to use the toilet until it’s too late. It’s good to follow through with this at home too – Gentle reminders are enough so your child doesn’t feel pressured.  Five minutes is long enough to sit on the toilet.
    • Educators at GEKA Kindergartens will teach your child how to wash their hands after using the toilet, and there will be visual cues in the bathroom too.
    • Educators have a lot of patience and are trained to support children to learn to use the toilet! If your child gets upset because of an accident, educators will reassure them that it’s ok to have an accident and there’s no need to worry. Once your child is using the toilet, don’t be disappointed if there are a few accidents. A few accidents are to be expected even when children are trained. Sometimes toilet training can go backwards when there is a new stress or something is troubling your child.  If you feel there might be a problem or you’re worried about how your child is adapting to toilet training, check with your doctor or child and family health nurse.

I have applied for my child to attend a GEKA Kindergarten:

When and how will I receive an offer of place??

Places are offered by date of application (the time you lodge your application is not a factor). Where the number of applications received on the same day exceed places available, offers are then determined through a random ballot.If you receive an offer of place, to accept it you must return the Enrolment Acceptance form by the date specified with a $100 application fee (non-refundable for 3 YO offers). The kindergarten place will remain secure until the due date of term one fees.

Where waiting lists occur, 3 YO kindergarten offers will comply with the following priority of access guidelines:

  • Children who have been approved to repeat a second year of three year old kindergarten.
  • Children who were eligible to attend in the previous year but deferred or withdrew from the service on or before the last day of Term 1.
  • Families who have had another child attend the kindergarten in the last five years. Sibling preference ONLY applies to applications submitted on 1st May.
  • Children who have disabilities or additional needs
  • Children who are eligible for the Early Start Kindergarten Program (three-year-old Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, and children known to Child Protection may be eligible for this scheme). Details are available at education.vic.gov.au/childhood/parents/kindergarten/Pages/earlystart.aspx

To view 4 YO kindergarten propriety of access guidelines visit the City of Glen Eira Council website at www.gleneira.vic.gov.au

3 and 4 year old places will be offered in June/July in the year prior to commencement of kindergarten.  Subsequent offers will be made until all kindergartens are full and/or all children on the list have been offered a place.

Confirmation of kindergarten place & group session is confirmed via email in September the year prior to attending.

How are offers of places determined?

GEKA have recently reviewed and revised current enrolment processes, please see the Kindergarten Handbook and Enrolment Policy for further information regarding enrolments at GEKA services.

4 Year Old:

The following children are eligible for attendance in the funded four-year-old kindergarten program:

  • children who have been granted approval to receive funding for a second year of kindergarten
  • children who were eligible to attend in the previous year, but deferred or withdrew from service on or before the last day of Term 1.
  • children who turn four years of age by 30 April in the year they will attend kindergarten
  • children turning six years of age at kindergarten who have been granted an exemption
  • children who are younger than the eligible age, but whose parents/guardians have submitted an early age entry request for their child to attend school the following year.
  • three-year-old Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, and children known to Child Protection may be eligible for the Early Start Kindergarten program.

Priority of Access:

When demand exceeds availability, GEKA priorities applications based on:

  • date of application received
  • children who have received funding for a second year of kindergarten
  • children who were eligible to attend in the previous year but deferred or withdrew from the service on or before the last day of Term 1
  • families experiencing vulnerability as evidenced by referral from family support
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children

3 Year Old:

Children are eligible for attendance in the three-year-old program provided they have turned three prior to commencement.

Children will only be able to attend a second year of three-year-old kindergarten in exceptional circumstances (after consideration by the GEKA) or when all eligible children on the waiting list have been offered a place.

Priority of Access:

When demand exceeds availability, GEKA priorities applications based on:

  • date of application received
  • children recommended by an educator for an additional year in the three-year-old program
  • families experiencing vulnerability as evidenced by referral from family support
  • children who were offered and deferred the previous year
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children
  • sibling priority is given to applications submitted ONLY on the first day applications open.

To view 4 YO kindergarten propriety of access guidelines visit the City of Glen Eira Council website at www.gleneira.vic.gov.au

3 and 4 year old places will be offered in June/July in the year prior to commencement of kindergarten.  Subsequent offers will be made until all kindergartens are full and/or all children on the list have been offered a place.

Confirmation of kindergarten place & group session is confirmed via email in September the year prior to attending.

How do I cancel, defer or change preferences to my kindergarten application?

Change my kindergarten preferencesEmail your change of preference request, (listing your revised 1st and 2nd preference) to enrolments@gekaoffice.org.au.   Please keep in mind, that unless you have changed address, the date of your application will be based upon the date of your preference request.

Change my contact details

Email your change of contact details to enrolments@gekaoffice.org.au. Remember to include your child’s full name in the email.

Cancel my kindergarten application

Email enrolments@gekaoffice.org.au to cancel your child’s kindergarten application. Please include your child’s name and reason for cancelling the application in the email.

Defer my  kindergarten application

Email enrolments@gekaoffice.org.au to defer your child kindergarten application.

How do I withdraw my kindergarten place?

To withdraw your child from a GEKA kindergarten, you are required to notify GEKA via email to enrolments@gekaoffice.org.au.  4 weeks’ written notice (via email) prior to term commencing is required. If such notice is not given, TERM FEES ARE NOT REFUNDABLE.

Do I still need to enrol my child for 4 yo kindergarten if my child already attends 3yo kindergarten?

Yes, if your child attends three-year-old kindergarten you are still required to register for 4 year old kindergarten. Your child does NOT get automatic entry into 4 year old kindergarten if attending 3 year old kindergarten. To learn when and how to apply for 4YO kindergarten please visit 4 year old enrolments

My Child is attending a GEKA Kindergarten:

Does my child need to be immunised?

Following the ‘No Jab, No Play’ legislation, all parents/guardians seeking to enrol their child in a GEKA kindergarten will be requested (later in the year) to provide evidence that the child is:

  • Fully immunised for their age OR
  • on vaccination catch-up program OR
  • unable to be fully immunised for medical reasons.

Please note that ‘Conscientious Objection’ will not be an exemption.

To obtain a copy of an Immunisation History Statement for your child, contact Medicare on either:

To view the immunisation schedule (what vaccines are due at what age) go to www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au and search ‘immunisation’, or speak to your doctor.  Key Information about the ages and stages are on the back of this document.

Overseas immunisation records will not be accepted. Children who were vaccinated overseas must attend a doctor/ immunisation nurse to have their overseas immunisation record assessed and will be offered immunisation as required. You will need to provide GEKA with an Immunisation Status Certificate before your child can attend kindergarten. http://www.gleneira.vic.gov.au/Community-services/Family-and-Childrens-Services/Childhood-immunisation/Children-immunised-overseas

For further information about No Jab No Play, visit www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/no-jab-no-play

What food to pack?

A healthy lunch box has four components:

    1. Main item: such as a sandwich/wrap/roll, pasta, soup, sushi, roti
    2. Fruit or vegetable snack: such as whole fruit, veggie sticks, a small salad, canned fruit in natural juice
    3. Second snack based on a core food: such as reduced fat yoghurt, grainy crackers with reduced fat cheese, plain popcorn, a wholemeal fruit muffin
    4. Drink: a bottle of tap water is best

To promote healthy nutritious habits for lunch, and in keeping with our nutrition policy, please include healthy eating options such as:

    • Sandwiches/wrap/roll
    • Fruit
    • Cheese
    • Dry biscuits
    • Cherry tomatoes
    • Celery
    • Carrot sticks with dip
    • Sushi
    • Muffins/Raisin bread
    • Dumplings

We strongly encourage families not to provide ‘junk food’ such as chips, chocolates or fizzy drinks please.

Please provide water only in your child’s water bottle.

Please ensure lunches are wrapped so that children can easily manage them.  We also ask that you try to be as environmentally conscious as possible and where possible, use a lunchbox rather than plastic cling wrap.

Please advise the educators if your child has any relevant allergies or food and drink reactions. Lunches will not be shared between children ensuring any special requirements are met.

What to wear to kindergarten?

Casual, comfortable play clothes that are easy to wash are recommended. Remember your child is actively involved in messy activities and although protective clothing is provided, accidents can occur. Please do not wear thongs or similar footwear to kindergarten. They are not safe for activities such as climbing.Sun hats and sunscreen are compulsory when the UV rating is 3 and above. The rating will be displayed on arrival at the kindergarten. During warm weather shoulders need to be covered – no singlet tops please. Educators will encourage children to re-apply sunscreen when necessary.

During cold and wet weather please provide a warm coat (preferably water resistant), gum boots and a hat/beanie.

What to bring to kindergarten?

Clearly named:

  • Kindergarten bag/backpack that is large enough to accommodate their belongings
  • Complete set of extra clothing in the bag/backpack in case of accidents and water play/sensory play
  • Drink bottle (WATER only please)
  • Packed lunch for sessions that do NOT contain any nuts or nut products
  • Protective legionnaires or broad brimmed sun hat for warm weather and a beanie/jacket for cold weather
  • Healthy snack for morning and/or afternoon tea (depending on the length of the session).
  • It is advisable that children avoid bringing valuable items and special toys as if they are lost it can cause much disappointment (but comfort items are ok to support transition).

Can my child have a second funded year of 4 year old kindergarten?

It is important to carefully consider which year your child will start kindergarten, because you are only able to receive one year of funded 4 year old kindergarten to the year prior to school (unless there is significant benefit to the child’s development). It is very difficult to secure a second year of funding at your kindergarten of choice. It is recommended that your child has completed their Maternal and Child Health Centre check before starting kindergarten.

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