Frequently Asked Questions
When can my child start 3 year old Kindergarten?
Children are eligible to apply for three year old kindergarten provided they turn three years old by 30 April the year they attend. However no child can commence sessions until they have turned three. The fact that your child is eligible to attend three year old Kinder does not mean that they must attend that year. You can delay your child's attendance until the following year depending on your child's requirements. Three year old groups will have children between the ages of three and four in them so they will still be attending with their peers.
When can my child start 4 year old Kindergarten?
Children are eligible to apply for four year old kindergarten provided they turn four years old by 30 April the year they attend. Even though you can enrol your child when they are of eligible age you do not have to, you can delay your child's pre-school attendance until the following year if you believe that it is best for your child. Four year old kindergarten programs will have children who are four, five and sometimes even turning six in them. It is important for you to consider if your child is ready for four year old kindergarten.
How do I know if my Child is ready to start Kindergarten?
Although every child will reach the same developmental “milestones” they will all reach them at different rates. Some parents will be confident that their child is ready to start Kinder, where other parents are unsure. If you are unsure or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss your Childs readiness. Our educational staff will be able to provide more information based on your child’s needs. Our contact details can be found HERE.
How do I Enrol my Child?
Enrolments for both our 3 Year Old and 4 Year Old Programs are co-ordinated through a central enrolment system called the Maroondah Integrated Kindergarten Association (MIKA). Enrolment forms are simply completed online (hard copy is available if need be). Every enrolment form must be accompanied by an administration fee ($28), up-to-date immunisation record (doubling as proof of age) and proof of your residential address. Proof of residential address is required to establish residential proximity to your preferred kindergarten. Please follow the links below for further details on enrolment.
What is the enrolment process and when will I know if my child has a place
at North Ringwood Pre-School?
The enrolment process for both three and four year old commences on the 1st of March each year, for the following year.
Enrolments close on the 30th June and all enrolment applications received by this date are treated equally, there is no advantage in submitting an early application. Applications must be on the current relevant form. Applications will still be accepted after 30 June however, they will be considered as late applications and are held in order of receipt, to be actioned once all on time applications are placed (subject to availability of positions).
You will be notified of your place by the 15th August.
Are children in the 3 year old program automatically offered a place in the 4 year old program?
No, all children who attend a 3 year old program and wish to attend the following year in a 4 year old program will need to complete an application form through MIKA.
I feel that my child needs an additional year of 3 or 4 year old Kinder, can we repeat a year and is it funded?
Currently our 3yo Kinder program is not funded, so there is an option to enroll in a second year of 3 year old Kinder. This would be an informed decision by the family, with ongoing discussions, support and advice from the child’s teacher.
4 year old Kinder is government funded for 1 year. If it is recommended for a child to complete a second year of 4yo Kinder, ongoing observations and assessments of the child will be taken to ascertain at least 2 or more areas of development that are delayed. An application can be made for a second year of funding to the government based on these recommendations, but it is not a guarantee. If you have concerns regarding your child’s readiness to start 3 or 4yo Kinder, you can discuss options with our teachers.
Should my child be toilet trained before they are able to attend?
At North Ringwood Pre-School our educational Staff understand that each individual child develops at his/her own rate. We encourage families to establish toilet training at home before starting kinder however, we are able to provide support for those who need more time. If your child requires assistance or has an accident, it will be managed discretely by one of the educational staff members. Please discuss your Childs needs with their Teacher.
Does my child need to be immunised?
The Victorian Government’s ‘No Jab, No Play’ legislation came into effect in January 2016. This legislation aims to reduce the risk of vaccine-preventable diseases through increased immunisation rates in the community.
The legislation requires all children enrolling in early childhood education and care services to be up to date with their vaccinations or to have an approved exemption. This includes long day care, kindergarten, occasional care and family day care. For more information, see Department of Health and Human Services.
How is Kinder different to day care?
Sessional Kindergarten provides a targeted program for the full 15 hours of Kinder, rather than the program being spread out over the whole week where children may miss parts due to only attending on certain days.
Each session is focussed entirely on the child, and involves teacher/child interactions and programs that can be tailored for individual needs and interests. Studies have shown that Kindergarten (or Preschool) provide higher quality early childhood education than the average long day care centre through focussed programs and high quality training and education of our staff. Within each session children follow a similar routine and structure, and experience a tailored education program, with the consistency of having the same staff. In doing this, your child benefits from a predictable routine and forms friendships that remain consistent for the year, providing them with a sense of security and identity, which in turn encourages them to focus on their learning, development and confidence. Educators can respond to the group as a whole, as well as working with children to support their individual needs.
The advantage for parents and families is meeting other children and parents at drop off and pick up times, forming new friendships and involvement in the community. Children looking to attend local primary schools can make connections with other children and families attending the same school. There are more opportunities to be involved with the Kinder community – through parent helper duties, special events, social gatherings, fundraising events or joining the Committee.
As a not-for-profit centre, all our funding goes back into providing a high-quality, well-resourced program of learning for your child.
What differentiates North Ringwood Pre-school from other Pre-schools ?
North Ringwood Pre-school has a fabulous natural outdoor play space, set next to a wonderful playground that acts as an extension to our Kindergarten. This next-door playground perfectly showcases out Community Kinder philosophy with many families gathering before or after kinder sessions, building friendships and community.
We are extremely lucky to have a brilliant team of Teachers, many who have worked together for a number of years and in a variety of settings, that have allowed them to build a strong cohesive team. Our educators are highly qualified, exceed educational expectations and are dedicated to their own continuous learning, all to the benefit of the children who attend our Kindergarten. North Ringwood Pre-School has a well-established and successful Bush Kinder program. We have had the pleasure of assisting other services in establishing their own Bush Kinder programs.
How will staff support my child’s learning and development?
We assist the children to develop many skills through their own interests by incorporating them into their play in meaningful ways. At North Ringwood Pre-School you can expect your child to be exposed to a blend of curriculum approaches. These include a 'play-based' approach, where we value the importance of play, as this is the way in which children experience most of their learning at this age. An emergent curriculum' approach where we will be guided by your child’s interests to provide an engaging learning experience. A further approach focuses on 'intentional teaching' to make certain that all aspects of the Early Years Learning Framework are met.
You can also expect to see your child learning and developing skills through 'guided play'. That is, the environment is set by the educators, considering children’s interests, with materials and additional equipment accessible to the children. The children are challenged to direct their own play, learn from peers and think for themselves.
We provide a happy, secure, friendly and inviting environment where a child's self-esteem is of the highest importance. Everyone is an important member of the group and has a valuable contribution to make. We provide experiences that allow the child to easily succeed along with activities that provide that little extra challenge. The children are assisted to develop skills in many areas such as physical development, creative development, social/emotional development and awareness, intellectual skills and language skills through their own interests and ideas.
How many children are in each group?
- 4 year old Red Wattle Birds -26 Available place, 3 Teachers during normal program and 4 Teachers during the Bush Kinder program.
- 4 year old Eastern Spinebills- 26 Available place, 3 Teachers during normal program and 4 Teachers during the Bush Kinder program.
- 3 year old King Parrots - 22 Available place and 2 Teachers during normal program.
Child to Teacher ratios are inline with the Department of Education regulations, North Ringwood Pre-school has also considered the size of our class room and the interests of the children when setting group sizes.
Why is a play based curriculum important?
Play provides opportunities for children to learn as they explore, discover, identify, negotiate, take risks, create meaning, improvise and imagine. Play provides a supportive environment where children can ask questions, engage in critical thinking and solve problems. When children play with other children they create social groups, test out ideas, challenge each other’s thinking and build new understandings. Play can expand children’s thinking and enhance their desire to know and learn, creating positive dispositions towards learning. Play provides active exploration that assists in building and strengthening brain pathways, and creates a brain that has increased ‘flexibility and improved potential for learning later in life’. Children who engage in quality play experiences are more likely to have well-developed memory skills, language development, and are able to regulate their behaviour, leading to enhanced school adjustment and academic learning. Play is a context for learning that:
- Allows for the expression of personality and uniqueness
- Enhances social dispositions such as curiosity and creativity
- Enables children to make connections between prior experiences and new learning
- Assists children to develop relationships and concepts
- Stimulates a sense of wellbeing
What is Bush Kinder and why is it important to my child’s development?
Bush Kinder is a play-based approach to nurture children's relationships with nature. It's an opportunity for children to explore the natural environment in an open-ended and play-based way, as such, 'no tools, no toys, no art supplies'. Each week we spend 2-2 ½ hours in the natural bushland area of BJ Hubbard Reserve, before walking back to Kinder
Children will have the opportunity to engage in a range of experiences within the natural environment through unstructured play such as nature science, Indigenous culture, climbing, balancing, investigating, storytelling and more, as well as developing critical life skills such as road safety when walking to and from the site.
Bush Kinder provides experiential opportunities allowing children to respond positively to challenges and responsibilities, to manage risk and to cope with change. Active outdoor learning and nature play readily develops the learning skills of enquiry, experimentation, feedback, reflection, review, communication, problem-solving and cooperative learning. Some benefits of Bush Kinder are:
- Enhanced personal and social communication skills
- Increased physical health and wellbeing, supporting the development of healthy, active lifestyles
- Enhanced sensory and aesthetic awareness
- Improved academic achievement
- Develop skills and independence in a wide range of environments
- Make learning more engaging and relevant
- Develop active citizens and champions of the environment
- Understanding and awareness of sustainability and caring for the natural world
- Stimulate, inspire and improve motivation
- Develop resilience and the ability to deal with uncertainty
- Provide challenges and the opportunity to take managed risks.
How do the children go to the toilet when at bush kinder?
We have private access to a toilet and hand washing facilities at the reserve. As per our Hygiene Policy, children wash and dry their hands before eating.
What types of incursions do children participate in at North Ringwood Pre-School?
In addition to our Bush Kinder excursions in the local community, we have various incursions throughout the year. In the past these have included:
- Responsible Pet Program (dog safety and awareness)
- Thingle Toodle Road Safety
- Dreamer in the Deep Puppet Show
- Dinosaurs and Fossils (Melbourne Museum)
- Jack and Molly drama and music show
- Wildlife experiences
- African Drumming
- Cultural Dancing
- Drama Toolbox – Habitat Helpers and Christmas Show
When booking incursions, we look for high-quality programs that support the learning and interests of the children. These incursions may vary from year to year, as we take into consideration the needs of our groups.
Can parents participate in their Childs Kinder experience?
There are many ways parents can be involved in their Child’s Kinder experience. The North Ringwood Pre-School Committee is a fun and rewarding way to be part of the kindergarten. Regular fundraising events organised by the Committee often require extra help or support from kinder families.
Annual working bees are held, social events for families are organised, and our end of year visit to the Miniature Railway is a fun and social way to finish the year.
We also encourage parents, guardians or grandparents to share their child’s kinder experience by staying for some or all of a session each term as a parent helper. Parent helpers can assist by reading books, engaging the children in play or assisting with arts and crafts.
Do I need a Working with Children Check?
A working with Children Check is not essential for parents however North Ringwood Pre-School encourages all Parent Helpers to obtain a Volunteer Working with Children Check - this is quick, easy and completely free. All Staff, Regular Visitors (eg. Cleaner and Gardner) and Committee of Management must have a Working with Children Check.
Will I have the opportunity to discuss my Child’s progress, development, concerns with their teacher throughout the year?
From day one we provide opportunities to share information regarding your child. We recognize that parents and family are a child’s ‘first teacher’, and value information and insights into how we can support your child to learn and develop during their time at Kinder.
The teachers are available for a quick update at the start and end of sessions, where important information can be relayed. For a more in-depth discussion, a suitable time can be made in person, over the phone or via email at any time throughout the year. Regular updates and class newsletters are provided by the group teacher, as well as a Kindergarten newsletter once a term. Each teacher has their own individual reporting systems, but we endeavor to work in a way that suits each family. Observations and assessments are ongoing throughout the year, and teachers are continually reviewing and updating goals for each child.
How will my child be supported for school transition?
Transition to school is a gradual process that builds up over the course of the year, where activities and experiences will become more visible during terms three and four. There are many skills and development required for school readiness – where our focus is on strong social and emotional development. We incorporate a holistic approach to include physical, intellectual, cognitive, behavioural, problem-solving as well as language and communication. Routines are developed throughout the year, such as regular eating times with the whole group, slowly increasing the length of group times and expectations of the children to concentrate for longer periods of time. Important pre-literacy and numeracy learning is key, including recognising and writing their own name. Children are also encouraged to be responsible for their own belongings, packing bags, as well as healthy choices and self-care. Social interactions and problem-solving is also an important milestone to develop for starting school, as well as emotional self-regulation.
Transition Learning and Development Statements are completed during Terms three and four, first by the teacher and then there is a section for both the family and child to complete. This provides value information to the school your child will attend, outlining strengths and strategies to support the best start to primary education.
Our aim is to foster a love of learning in children during their Kinder years that will continue throughout their lifetime.
What Primary Schools do most children end up attending after North Ringwood Pre-School?
We have a developed great relationships with a number of local primary Schools. Many children move on from our Kinder to attend Holy Spirt Community School, Ringwood North Primary School, Ringwood Heights Primary School and The Park Orchards Primary School.
What should I pack in my Child’s Kinder Bag?
Your child should bring a bag that contains their lunch and/or snack, a water bottle, a hat and a full change of clothes (including underwear). A change of clothing is not just for toilet accidents but also for over exuberance in water and mud play!. A jacket in the colder months is also essential, as we still play outside in all most all kinds of weather.
Do the Children need to wear hats and sunscreen?
In accordance with the Pre-School’s Sun Protection policy the educators at North Ringwood Pre-School apply SPF 30+ broad spectrum, water resistant sunscreen to all children every two hours. It is recommended that parents and guardians apply sunscreen to their children’s body prior to their attendance at the Pre-School. Please be aware that children must play in the shade or remain inside if they do not bring an appropriate hat or do not wear appropriate clothing between the beginning of September until the end of April and whenever the UV Index level reaches 3 and above. If you prefer, you may provide the kinder with SPF 30+ broad spectrum, water resistant sunscreen for your child which needs to be labelled with your child’s name and left at the kinder. It is the parents or guardians responsibility to ensure there is adequate supply at the kinder. For further information, please read our Sun Protection Policy on our website or at the Pre-School.
What should my child wear to Kinder? Do they need to wear a uniform?
Our kinder has logo-printed t-shirts, jumpers and wide brim hats available for purchase, but it is completely optional. The uniform is quite handy if you do not want your child’s regular clothes stained with paint, glue or grass as we do not enforce the wearing of art smocks and messy play is some times part of the program.
We have found that enforcing art smocks will deter some children from participating in the experience. Therefore, it is best to dress your child in clothes that are easily washed and not their 'Sunday best' clothes! Children cannot and should not be expected to stay clean at all times. Spills and splashes occur all too frequently as the children continue to master new skills. 'Messy' experiences are an important part of the program and the children should not have to worry unduly about keeping clean.Clothes should be easily manageable by your child for toileting so as to avoid too many accidents. Dress your child in clothes suitable for physical activities and well fitted shoes suitable for climbing and protecting their feet. Please do not send your child to kindergarten in thongs, ill-fitting shoes/sandals or heeled shoes as they are dangerous and inappropriate for outdoor play. Please also ensure that clothing is weather appropriate.
What should I pack for my Child’s snack and Lunch?
You can find some yummy and health Lunch Box ideas - HERE
Both snack and lunch should be prepared as your child likes to eat it. eg. oranges/apples, etc., peeled, quartered, chopped or whole. You may wish to pack snack and lunch separately to make it easier for your child to distinguish between them and to ensure food is spread out over the day for maximum energy. We are a nut-free kinder. We ask that nuts and all foods containing nuts or traces of nuts are not sent to kinder for snacks and lunches due to the high risk these foods can pose for children susceptible to allergic reactions. We also ask that all ‘fun food’ is kept at home, which includes chips, twisties, lollies, chocolates, rollups, fruit leather, etc.
What arrangements are there for snack and lunch times are their any food policies I need to know about?
All children are required to bring a snack and a drink for morning/afternoon tea, and the 4 year old children are also required to bring a packed lunch for their longer sessions.
For morning and afternoon teas we have a flexible snack routine, meaning children can choose when to have their snack during a particular period of time during the session. We have a permanent snack table that children can sit at to eat their snack. This caters to the children’s’ individual needs as well as encouraging their independence skills. For lunch, the children sit down together as a group, usually around midday. Our kinder promotes healthy eating, regular meals/snacks, and encourages children to drink plenty of water. Parents are required to provide all food for their child to consume at kindergarten.
My child has allergies. How will this managed by staff at North Ringwood Pre-School?
North Ringwood Pre-School is an allergy conscience and nut free environment. Many strict measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of all children attending the Kinder. Children establish a routine of washing their hands at the beginning of each session, children are educated not to share food and we have a dedicated snack table or lunch area so eating can be supervised. All staff are trained in allergy response and work with families who have allergy concerns to establish individual risk management plans. Please see our Anaphylaxis policy for more detailed information.
What happens if my child has an accident at Kinder?
All possible pre-cautions are taken to ensure the safety of every body attending the Kinder, however occasional accidents do happen. All Staff are level 2 First Aid trained and the Kinder has A very though Administration of First Aid policy, along with an Incident, Injury, Trauma and Illness policy. In the event an accident does occur, staff follow these policies administering first aid and parents are contacted. Please see the above policies for detailed information.
My Child has additional needs, can they attend and if so how will the staff support those additional needs?
Here at North Ringwood Preschool we are an inclusive Kindergarten, welcoming all children and families encompassing LGBQTI, all languages, cultures, backgrounds and abilities. We aim to work with the family and child, tailoring and scaffolding our program to meet every individual child’s needs. We will make modifications to the environment wherever possible, and staff will participate in professional development aimed at gaining a deeper understanding of how best to support any additional needs. We work closely with other professionals, including Pediatricians, Speech Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, Child Psychologists, and other support required for the child. We have close connections with Preschool Field Officers, who are able to provide additional support and offer strategies when required. We will also organize additional Assistants or employ extra staff when required to provide the best outcomes for the child.
How is North Ringwood Pre-School managed?
Our Pre-School is managed by a Committee Of Management, made up of parents from the Pre-School, who volunteer their time and experience to oversee the financial, legal, social, and facility maintanence of the Preschool.
Our Committee Of Management is guided by Early Learning Association Australia (ELAA - formerly know as KPV). The Committee Of Management is elected at the Kinder's Annual General Meeting & Information Night held in November of each year.