Frequently Asked Questions
We want the entry into kindergarten to be as smooth and as easy as possible for both children and families so we have listed the most often asked questions from parents.
If there are questions which we have not answered, please do not hesitate to contact us on 03 5721 2755.
NERPSA office hours are 10.00am to 3.00pm - Monday to Friday, with other open hours by appointment, however the office may be unattended due to meetings, site visits or events from time to time. If we are unavailable, please leave a message and we will return your call.
Registering my child for kindergarten:
4 Year Old Programs
Your child must turn four before April 30th April in the year they are to attend kindergarten. Children are able to access one year of funded four-year-old kindergarten, however a second year is available upon determined eligibility by teaching staff where areas of delay are evidenced.
3 Year Old Programs
Your child is eligible for three-year-old kindergarten if they turn three before April 30th, however your child must be three before they can start attending kindergarten . If your child turns three shortly before this date and you are unsure when to send your child to kindergarten, you are welcome to talk to the kindergarten teacher at your preferred kindergarten or call NERPSA on 03 5721 2755.
There is only one year of three-year-old funded kindergarten.
Date of Birth 2022 2023 2024 2025 1 May -20 Dec 2018 3 Year Old Kindergarten 4 Year Old Kindergarten Prep - 21 Dec 2018 – 30 Apr 2019
(Families have a choice in which year to start)
3 Year Old Kindergarten 3 or 4 Year Old Kindergarten Prep or 4 Year Old Kindergarten - 1 May -20 Dec 2019 - 3 Year Old Kindergarten 4 Year Old Kindergarten Prep
The Victorian Government is investing almost $5 billion over a decade to introduce three-year-old kindergarten – a nation-leading initiative that will benefit children across the state. This will mean another year of learning, growing, playing and making friends for Victorian children.
This initiative has been progressively rolled out across Victoria, starting with six Local Government Areas (LGAs) in 2020. In 2021, it was also introduced across another fifteen LGAs with fifteen hours being offered. In 2022, five hours of funded three-year-old kindergarten is available to children across the rest of the state, including Rural City of Wangaratta and Benalla Rural City. By 2029, three-year-old kindergarten programs across the state will offer fifteen hours a week to families.
There is a difference in the programs offered at each kindergarten. Each kindergarten is unique and each early childhood teacher offers their own program (which reflects the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework and meets the National Quality Standards). The Open Days are a great way to make a decision about which kindergarten would best suit your child. They provide parents/guardians with the opportunity to see each kindergarten, hear how each program is run, meet the early childhood teachers and educators and to ask any questions that you may have in order to make an informed decision about kindergarten.
Open days are held at each Kindergarten at the commencement of the registration period. You and your child are encouraged to visit the kindergartens you are interested in having your child attend. If you cannot make the open days, you are welcome to attend at other times, however please be aware that teachers have a duty of care to the children attending each session. It is recommended that you phone the kindergarten first to make an allocated time to ensure the teacher is available to speak with you.
NERPSA has an open registration period from mid-May to mid-July for the following year.
A Registration Form needs to be filled out and submitted to NERPSA in order to register your child. You will receive a letter with a place offer at a later date.
Please see the enrolment timeline for more information.
There is no expectation that your child must be able to use the toilet prior to starting kindergarten.
To support ease of toileting, we ask that your child attends kindergarten in pull ups if they are not able to use the toilet independently (rather than nappies). This will help the transition to underwear and learning to use the toilet.
There is no set age at which a child learns to use the toilet and it will be different for each child. If you feel there might be a problem or you’re worried about how your child is adapting to toilet training, you may like to check with your doctor or Maternal and Child Health Nurse.
If you are unsure about the best time for your child to start kindergarten, please speak to NERPSA for advice.
You may also like to talk with your Maternal and Child Health Nurse or any other professional your child sees (for example speech therapist, physiotherapist or paediatrician).
NERPSA also encourages each family to access the 3-year-old assessment check, available through the Maternal Health and Child Nurse.
Some parents believe that if their child is 'not ready' for school after one year of four-year-old kindergarten, they will automatically receive a second year of kindergarten. This is incorrect as it is a case by case situation and must follow the guidelines set by the Department of Education and Training.
A child will only be eligible to receive a second year of funded four year old kindergarten if they are assessed by the kindergarten teacher as having at least two areas of significant developmental delay that are not age-related.
In order to receive a second year of funded four-year-old kindergarten an application form will need to be completed (by the teacher) and then approved by the Department of Education and Training.
The Kindergarten Inclusion Support program (which is managed by SCOPE) offers additional assistance to kindergartens to support the inclusion of children with additional needs into the program.
Applications are made by the kindergarten teacher in consultation with parents and early childhood intervention agencies in the year prior to the child starting kindergarten.
Strict criteria exist for these applications so please speak to NERPSA for further information on the eligibility criteria and how that is applied.
Kindergarten programs are funded by the State of Victoria under the Department of Education and Training and are run on a sessional basis through a stand-alone kindergarten setting or within a funded program within a long day care centre.
Long day care centres provide care and education for babies and children from 6 weeks to 6 years and these centres are funded by the federal government.
A child may attend a long day care/child care centre and a stand-alone kindergarten setting at the same time, however they can only receive funding for one kindergarten program per year.
I have applied for my child to attend kindergarten:
Group sizes and staffing arrangements will vary depending on the number of enrolments NERPSA receives each year.
Some groups will have up to 22 children, in which case there will be 2 staff members Where group sizes are required to have more children (usually up to 26) there will be 3 staff members.
NERPSA has put in place Priority of Access guidelines as part of the Enrolment Policy. This outlines how kindergarten places are allocated if there are not enough places available for children wishing to attend a particular kindergarten. The information below outlines the access priorities for the funded kindergarten programs in the policy:
- Children who have received funding for a second year of kindergarten from the Department of Education and Training.
- Children who were eligible to attend kindergarten in the previous year but deferred their attendance.
- Children of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin
- Children/families who have used DHHS services
- Children who hold an eligible concession card.
- Children who have received funding for a second year of kindergarten from the Department of Education and Training.
- Children with additional needs
- Children who have a sibling that has previously attended the same kindergarten as their preference.
- Is through a ballot system.
All kindergarten offers are posted out in August of the year prior to the kindergarten year. The letter of offer will be accompanied by an Acceptance Form and a Parent Education/Occupation Form. Completed forms must be returned to NERPSA by the specified date to secure your child’s kindergarten place.
If you do not receive your first choice of kindergarten you can accept an offer of another preference or choose to be placed on a waiting list at your preferred kindergarten. Any vacancies that arise will be offered to children based on the priority of access criteria.
If your child has been offered a place at a kindergarten which has multiple groups, the group placements are done by the individual kindergartens after all acceptances have been received. The kindergartens will notify you individually of the group placements by the end of October.
The kindergarten fee subsidy exists to make funded kindergarten programs affordable for families who hold an eligible concession or visa.
As a concession or visa holder you are entitled to subsidised fees in both the three and four-year-old program and some three-year-old programs. In such circumstances it is anticipated that there will be no fee payment required.
You can access the kindergarten fee subsidy by presenting your concession card or visa to the NERPSA office at any time during the year.
If you hold any of the following you are entitled to the fee subsidy:
- Commonwealth Health Care card
- Pensioner Concession card
- Department Veteran’s Affairs Gold card
- Temporary Protection/Humanitarian Visas 447, 451, 785 or 786
- Asylum-seeker Bridging Visas A-F
- Refugee or Special Humanitarian Visas 200-217
- Child is of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent
- Child is a triplet or quadruplet
2022 fees range from $210 - $230 for three year old programs and $320 - $385 for four year old programs.
Fees for 2023 have not been set as yet.
If fees are not paid by due dates, your child may be unable to attend kindergarten. This is unpleasant for all and we encourage you to keep your payments up to date to ensure your child’s eligibility.Please note: If a family has outstanding fee payments, siblings will not be offered a kindergarten place for future enrolments until all debts are paid.
My child will be attending a NERPSA kindergarten:
To promote nutritious eating habits and in keeping with our Food, Oral Health and Nutrition Policy, NERPSA recommends healthy eating options such as sandwiches/wraps/rolls, fruit, vegetables, cheese and other dairy, dry plain biscuits and sushi. Families are to provide only water in children’s drink bottles.
In keeping with this NERPSA policy we strongly discourage families from providing foods such as chocolates, chips or fizzy drinks.
Casual and comfortable clothes which are easy to wash are recommended or those clothes which, if stained, it is not a bother to you or your child. Your child will be actively engaged in messy activities and although protective clothing may be provided, mishaps can occur.
Please do not allow thongs or similar footwear to be worn as they are not safe for many activities. Broad brimmed sun hats and sunscreen are compulsory when the UV rating is 3 or above and appropriate clothing is also recommended for these times, for instance, tops which cover shoulders.
During cold and wet weather, a warm coat, a beanie and appropriate footwear are recommended as outside play can occur in all weather.
Some kindergartens will have logo clothing which you may purchase, however these are not a ‘uniform’ and are not a requirement.
- A kindergarten bag that is large enough to fit their belongings,
- A set of extra clothing in case of accidents and messy play
- A drink bottle (water only)
- A lunch/food box with a packed lunch for longer sessions
- A healthy snack for morning tea (depending on the length of the session)
- A protective broad brimmed sun hat for warm weather and jacket/beanie for cold weather
All items coming to kindergarten must be clearly labelled with your child’s name. It is advised that children avoid bringing valuable items and special toys, however comfort items are suitable to support transition.
Staff receive regular training in first aid which also encompasses asthma and anaphylaxis. To support staff in providing care, any child who has a medical condition will require a medical management plan signed by a doctor.
A risk management plan and communication plan will also be developed in liaison with families to ensure that any necessary information is passed on.
A parent is expected to communicate with the kindergarten teacher in regard to the child’s needs as soon as possible.
There may be sessions lost throughout the year due to public holidays, professional development and staff illness.
In the case of staff illness, a kindergarten will only be closed when suitably qualified emergency staff cannot be found at short notice. A phone tree is established at each kindergarten and you may receive a call on any kindergarten day. Please have a backup plan in place should this occur.
Kindergartens will close for one day each year, usually in Term 3 for a professional development day run by NERPSA, with a minimum of one months notice being given. Where possible, kindergarten closures are kept to a minimum for each kindergarten program.