As we near the end of another great year at Grace Village, we look to 2019 and those parents begin to think about enrolling their children in preschool next year.
And if that’s you, this guide has been created just for you!
Below you’ll find answers & resources to some of the most common questions we’re asked about your child’s starting on their early learning path.
Let’s jump in!
- Are kindergarten / preschool / daycare the same thing?
- What age can my child start preschool in NSW?
- When can my child start school in kindergarten in NSW?
- When should I enrol my child in preschool/ kindergarten?
- Is my child ready for preschool?
- How do I prepare my child for preschool?
- How to enrol my child in kindergarten/ preschool?
- How much does daycare/ preschool cost?
- How do I take advantage of the Child Care Rebate with my Grace Village childcare fees?
- What forms do I need to complete to enrol my child?
- Does my child have to be immunised to enrol in child care?
1. Are Kindergarten / Preschool / Day Care the same thing?
This is where it can get confusing as people often intermix these terms. To add to the confusion, each state or territory in Australia has different definitions.
Preschool can also be referred to as childcare, day-care, nursery school or kindergarten. What separates these institutions is their focus on early learning and academics.
Day-care centres are long day child care, usually opened for up to 48 weeks per year from early morning to early evening, as they provide a place for working families and carers to look after their children whilst they are at work.
Day-care can accept babies from 6 weeks old right up to children to the age of 5 years.
Day-care will provide all meals, including a hot lunch. They have separate sections for the different age groups and will mix the ages to enhance the children’s socialisation skills.
Preschool accepts children between the ages of 3 and 5 years and works to familiarise children to the school routine. The hours are shorter than a day-care, usually, 8:30 am to 3:30 pm and follow school terms.
Similar to school, lunch and morning & afternoon tea is brought in by the child.
Kindergarten is compulsory for all children and is the first year at a primary school.
2. What age can my child attend preschool in NSW?
Preschool is considered in the one year before they start primary school (kindergarten).
In NSW, you can enrol your child in an NSW preschool in the year they turn four years old before 1 August. Some preschools will accept children between the ages of 3 to 5 years, so check with the preschool.
Enrolments for preschool usually take place in the year before your child is starting, so early contact with your preschool is recommended.
3. When can my child start school in kindergarten in NSW?
For NSW primary schools, enrolment for children in kindergarten is determined by your child’s age and birthday.
You can enrol your child in kindergarten at the beginning of the school year (end January) if they turn 5 on or before 31 July of that year. For children who turn 5 after 1 August, they will need to enrol in the following year.
For example, if your child turns 5 on 20th May 2018, they can start school in the year 2018. If your child turns 5 on 5th August 2018, they can start school in the year 2019.
All children must be enrolled by their sixth birthday.
4. When should I enrol my child in preschool/ kindergarten?
Enrolments for preschool usually take place in the year before your child is starting, so early contact with your preschool is recommended, as some centres have limited spaces for children.
Enrolments are usually accepted from the beginning of Term 2 (end March, early April) of the year before your child starts preschool.
5. Is my child ready for preschool?
There are no set abilities or skills your child must have to enrol in preschool.
Preschool is a nurturing place where time is spent teaching children how to play with others, share, converse, eat independently, toilet train, respect others, follow schedules, and rules – all important skills for when they start school.
Studies have shown that an early start with children’s learning is vital for their education.
If you are concerned or have any hesitation, discuss with your preschool. They can help you assess your child and give you helpful tips on building your child’s ability before their first day at preschool.
6. How do I prepare my child for preschool?
Set up small routines during the day. Start small by setting up a morning or night routine.
Ensure your child knows the importance of rules and to respect them.
Organise play dates with other children to help them share and play with others just like at preschool.
Familiarise your child with their new preschool before their first day. Some preschools offer open days so you and your child can visit and become familiar with the facilities, teachers and lots of fun activities.
This is a good opportunity to meet some parents and their children to set up a few playdates, so your child has some friends for their first few days at preschool.
It is perfectly normal for your little ones to have some issues with their first few days at preschool, and the teachers will help settle your little one and transition them into the day. We find they are not upset for long once they see the other children doing activities and having fun.
The Grace Village orientation process is tailored towards your little one’s needs. We open up as many ‘play dates’ as you would like prior to their official start date.
Play dates run for 1 to 2 hours. Parents are required to stay on site during the play date. Please feel free to contact Grace Village to arrange a session time/s with us.
(For more on preparing your child for their childcare journey, read our top tips here)
7. How to enrol my child in kindergarten/ preschool?
Grace Village ELC highly recommends you arrange for a private tour of our village. This allows you to meet our passionate and professional educators, to see our modern and clean facilities and the array of equipment and toys.
If you are happy with our village (we know you will be!), let us know you are interested, and we will start the enrolment process for you.
- We will email you our online enrolment form link. You will be able to attach a copy of your child’s birth certificate and My.Gov immunisation record.
- You will also receive an email from our unique mobile app called Xplor. It’s easy to create your Xplor password, using your username as your email.
- GV ELC will email you our direct debit link for your child care fees. Simply follow the steps to upload your payment details.
- You will be emailed your child’s start date and time
8. How much does daycare/ preschool cost?
Preschool fees will vary between centres and are usually charged on a per day basis. There may be charges for administration, bonds and other fees. It is best to check with each childcare centre.
Centrelink has available child care benefits for eligible families. You will need to set up your childcare benefit with Centrelink.
This benefit is based on income and calculates a child care benefit package percentage (CCB%) which will vary between families. This percentage will determine how much your preschool fees will be.
In addition to the CCB, there is also a Child Care Rebate (CCR) available depending on your work or study status. This is also calculated as a percentage off the cost of childcare and can be paid directly to the childcare centre or into your bank account.
Check out our blog on the Child Care Rebate for more details and how to claim.
9. How do I take advantage of the Child Care Rebate with my Grace Village childcare fees?
- Call Centrelink on 13 61 50 or contact them via your Centrelink online account via gov.au or through the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app.
- Set up your child care benefit account. Centrelink will ask you questions based on your income to work out a childcare benefit package percentage (CCB%). From your CCB %, Grace Village will be able to calculate your out of pocket child care fees.
Grace Village will only charge you out of pocket fees based on what is not covered by Centrelink.
- Ask about Child Care Rebate as well. Depending on your work/study status you may be entitled to 50% of your fees being covered through the CCR. You can choose to have this amount paid to yourself or Grace Village Early Learning.
10. What forms do I need to complete to enrol my child?
Each child care centre has its own enrolment procedure, so it is best to check with the centre on the exact requirements. Basic documentation such as birth certificate, immunisation records, proof of address will be needed.
Grace Village Early Learning requires you to complete our enrolment form with your child’s birth certificate.
We will also need a few more documents from you.
Documentation proof regarding your child’s immunisation must be supplied. Parents/carers must provide a copy of one or more of the following documents to enrol your child with us:
- an AIR Immunisation History Statement which shows that the child is up to date with their scheduled vaccinations or
- an AIR Immunisation History Form on which the immunisation provider has certified that the child is on a recognised catch-up schedule (temporary for 6 months only) or
- an AIR Immunisation Medical Exemption Form which has been certified by a GP.
No other form of documentation is acceptable (such as the Interim Vaccination Objection Form or Blue Book).
- Proof of your child’s address – the originals of significant documents such as a council rates notice, a residential lease and electricity or water bill.
- A low-income health care card (if applicable).
- Any family law or relevant court orders (if applicable).
11. Does my child have to be immunised to enrol in child care?
Yes. Full documentation of your child’s immunisation will need to be shown upon enrolment.
The NSW Immunisation Schedule sets out the age-appropriate vaccines for children and you can find the schedule here.
You can check your child is up to date with their vaccinations on their AIR Immunisation History Statement.
The only unimmunised children who can be enrolled in child care after 1 January 2018 are those who are on a recognised catch-up schedule (provided that the appropriate documentation has been provided), or those who are unimmunised due to medical reasons as described in the Australian Immunisation Handbook) (the appropriate documentation will need to be provided), or children who are too young to be immunised (under 2 months of age).
What if my child was vaccinated overseas?
Overseas immunisation records need to be assessed by an Australian immunisation provider first.
The immunisation provider will transfer the information to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).
Parents then request an AIR Immunisation History Statement which can be used for their child care enrolment.
We hope you found this guide to enrolling your child in preschool helpful?
Did we answer your question? If we did, please share this post with your friends & family!
And if you do have a question you don’t see answered here, leave us a comment below, get in touch with our amazing team on 1300 854 388, or via the contact form – we’re happy to help!