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Early Years

NOTICE

Kindergarten registrations open 1 May - 30 June 2023, for children who will attend kindergarten in 2024.

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Kindergarten registrations open 1 May - 30 June 2023 for children who will attend kindergarten in 2024.

At any time, click here or use the button below to submit an online Expression of Interest form to be notified of when registrations open for your child’s kindergarten year.

Please contact our Early Years team on 1300 366 244 or by email to earlyyears@wellington.vic.gov.au for further information.

Please note that Wellington Shire Council does not manage or coordinate kindergarten programs. In Wellington Shire, kindergarten services are delivered by private and community-based Committees of Management and early years managers.

For more information about kindergarten, locations, fees and how to register please see the drop-down lists below.

Further information about kindergarten is available from the Victorian Government Education - Information For Parents website.

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Kindergarten

The benefits of kindergarten

Kindergarten is not compulsory but is encouraged as it helps improve children’s health and wellbeing, it helps children to develop strong social skills, and encourages a love of learning. It provides a strong foundation for a child's learning and development. Kindergarten improves language and helps children learn through play-based programs that support social, emotional, physical and cognitive needs.

Kindergarten helps children adapt to new people, situations, and environments, and sets them on a path of learning for life and helps to prepare your child for school. Find more information about the importance of kindergarten here.

Starting age for kindergarten

Your child must turn 3 years old before 30 April in the year they attend 3-year-old kindergarten and turn 4 years old before 30 April in the year they attend 4-year-old kindergarten. A helpful guide is below:

 Date of Birth: 1 May 2019 - 30 April 2020

  • Can attend 3-year-old kindergarten in 2023 and 4-year-old-kindergarten in 2024

 Date of Birth: 1 May 2020 - 30 April 2021

  • Can attend 3-year-old kindergarten in 2024 and 4-year-old-kindergarten in 2025

 Date of Birth: 1 May 2021 - 30 April 2022

  • Can attend 3-year-old kindergarten in 2025 and 4-year-old-kindergarten in 2026

 Date of Birth: 1 May 2022 - 30 April 2023

  • Can attend 3-year-old kindergarten in 2026 and 4-year-old-kindergarten in 2027

If your child is born between the months of January and April, you can choose when they are enrolled in kindergarten. Children may not be able to attend kindergarten until they turn three. E.g. if your child's birthday is in April, they may miss all, or part of their first term of 3-year-old-kindergarten. For more information, please click here.

Types of kindergarten programs

All funded kindergarten programs are delivered by a qualified early childhood teacher.

Sessional kindergarten programs usually operate in stand-alone kindergartens during school terms. Generally, children attend on set days with the same group of children. Sometimes sessional programs are also rotational, where children are in smaller groups, and each group attends on different days. Some long day care centres offer sessional kindergarten, with or without wrap-around day care.  

Integrated kindergarten programs in long day care settings can provide flexibility for families who have commitments during standard working hours. Long day care centres typically operate for at least eight hours each day, and for a minimum of 48 weeks per year. Integrated kindergartens charge on a per-day basis and children can access funded kindergarten programs at many long day care centres.

Mixed kindergarten programs usually include both 3-year-old and 4-year-old kindergarten.

For more information, please refer to the Wellington Shire Council Kindergarten Central Registration Service FAQ document using the button below.

Nature Kindergarten

Many local kindergarten providers include regular nature kindergarten (sometimes called bush kindergarten) sessions where children travel to a local park or reserve to enjoy the significant mental and physical benefits of playing in natural undeveloped settings.

Due to the significant mental wellbeing benefits that come from nature kindergarten, it is recognised as a key initiative in Council’s Municipal Health and Wellbeing Plan 2021-2025 'Healthy Wellington'.

Kindergarten providers can use the Council Managed Reserve Booking Form to notify Parks staff about nature kindergarten sessions. Please use the button below to submit your booking.

Kindergarten fees

From 2023 and in accordance with the recent Victorian Government's Free Kinder announcement, most kindergarten programs will be free across Victoria at participating services. All kindergarten providers under the Wellington Kindergarten Central Registration Service are participating providers for Free Kinder.

  • Funded 3-year-old kindergarten programs will range from 5 to 15 hours per week.
  • Funded 4-year-old kindergarten programs will be up to 15 hours per week.

Some providers may offer more than 15 hours per week of 4-year-old-kindergarten.

You may need to pay fees if:

  • your child attends more than 15 hours per week of 4-year-old kindergarten
  • your child attends a long day care centre and incurs childcare fees (you may be eligible for a childcare subsidy if this is the case)

Kindergarten fees and childcare fees may vary; please contact your preferred provider for fee information.

For more information, please click here.

Kindergartens in Wellington

Wellington Shire Council does not manage or coordinate kindergarten programs. In Wellington Shire, kindergarten services are delivered by private and community-based Committees of Management and Early Years Managers.

Kindergarten open days

Generally, open days for kindergarten services in Wellington Shire are held in May each year. Please contact individual kindergarten providers for more details. Links to kindergartens are included below.

Kindergartens in Wellington Shire

Kindergarten programs require an appropriately qualified educator to deliver the early years program. Some early childhood services in Wellington are suffering staff shortages and are not able to provide a kindergarten program. Please check with your preferred provider for updates.

Kindergarten providers in Wellington Shire

Please note that providers marked * are not currently involved in the Wellington Kindergarten Central Registration Service.

 For an interactive map of kindergartens please click here.

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Registering for Kindergarten

Wellington Shire Council does not manage or coordinate kindergarten programs. In Wellington Shire, kindergarten services are delivered by private and community-based Committees of Management and Early Years Managers.

Steps to secure a kindergarten place through the Wellington Kindergarten Central Registration Service

Complete through Wellington Kindergarten Central Registration Service in the year before your child will attend kindergarten.

Step 1 – Register

Attend kindergarten open days (mainly in May). Register your child for 3-or 4-year-old kindergarten with 3 program preferences, between 1 May – 30 June.

Step 2 – Wait

Wait for your offer of a kindergarten place. Council reviews all registrations and allocates kindergarten places.  Some children receive priority allocation.

Step 3 – Accept

You will be contacted with an offer to one of your preference programs in early August. You will be asked to respond (accept, decline etc) by a set date in late August.

Step 4 - Enrol (Direct with Kindergarten)

You will be connected with your child’s kindergarten to begin the enrolment process. You will now deal directly with your kindergarten, but Council staff are still here to help if needed.

Kindergarten Central Registration Service

The Wellington Kindergarten Central Registration Service is a new service provided by Council to improve the kindergarten registration process for parents, carers and guardians.

The Kindergarten Central Registration Service is quick, easy, fair and transparent for both families and kindergarten providers. The service supports all eligible children to access a kindergarten place.

The Wellington Kindergarten Central Registration Service provides a single point for families to register for all participating kindergartens, which means families only need to complete one registration form to apply for multiple kindergarten programs in Wellington Shire.

Participating kindergarten providers

 Not all kindergarten service providers in Wellington Shire participate in the Wellington Kindergarten Central Registration Service.

Participating providers are:

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Long day care providers (Gumnuts Early Learning Centre, Kath Foley Kindergarten and Children’s Centre, and Yarram Early Learning Centre) have a very limited number of kindergarten places available through the Wellington Kindergarten Central Registration Service. We encourage you to contact these providers individually to register if they are your preferred kindergarten location.

Services which do not participate in the Wellington Kindergarten Central Registration Service are:

Please contact these services directly to register for kindergarten or childcare.

Allocation of kindergarten places through the Central Registration Service

Allocation of kindergarten places is in accordance with a fair and transparent process agreed on by participating services. Registrations are allocated points depending on priority access criteria (E.g. if a child is at risk of abuse or neglect, has additional needs, has a connection to the preferred kindergarten provider, or a connection to Wellington Shire).

Kindergarten places are allocated in line with the highest-scoring registrations placed first. Where there are several registrations at the same priority level and limited kindergarten places, there is a random ballot selection. For more information about priority of access criteria, please click here or view the Wellington Kindergarten Central Registration Service FAQs using the button below.

Submit an Expressions of Interest Form

If your child is not yet old enough to attend 3 or 4-year-old-kindergarten, you may submit an Expression of Interest Form to be notified when registrations open for your child's kindergarten year.

You will need to advise of any changes to your contact details to ensure notifications are received. Please contact us on 1300 366 244 or email earlyyears@wellington.vic.gov.au. Expressions of Interest Forms are easy, quick and free to submit using the button below.

For more information, please read the Wellington Kindergarten Central Registration Service FAQs here.

Submit a Kindergarten Registration Form

Registrations for kindergarten through the Wellington Kindergarten Central Registration Service are open between 1 May to 30 June in the year before your child will attend kindergarten.

Registration is free and you don't need to attach any documents to the registration form.

You will need to know the following information to complete the registration process:

  • Your child's personal details
  • Parent/carer details
  • Information relevant to Department of Education priority of access criteria (E.g. special needs, concession cards, second year of funded 4-year-old kindergarten etc)
  • Information relevant to local priority access criteria (connection to preferred provider and/or connection to Wellington Shire)
  • The year your child will commence kindergarten
  • Program type (3-year-old or 4-year-old kindergarten)
  • Kindergarten program preferences

Please submit a registration form using the button below.

For more information, please read the Wellington Kindergarten Central Registration Service FAQs here.

When an offer of a kindergarten place is received

Once you receive a kindergarten placement you must:

  • Accept the offered kindergarten place. Families will be connected with their kindergarten provider to begin the enrolment process.
  • Accept the offered kindergarten place but be put on a waitlist for a higher preference program. Families will be connected with their kindergarten provider to begin the enrolment process.
  • Accept the offered kindergarten place but defer it. You will be given priority for your place in the following year. You will need to complete another Registration Form for the following year.
  • Decline the offered kindergarten place. Your place will be allocated to the next child, and you will not receive any further offers.
  •  Decline the offered kindergarten place and be put on a waitlist for a higher preference program. There is a risk that no places will become available.

For more information about the Wellington Kindergarten Central Registration Service (including changing preferences, later registrations etc) please read the Wellington Kindergarten Central Registration Service FAQs here.

Wellington Shire Council’s Early Years team is here to help, please contact us on 1300 366 244 or earlyyears@wellington.vic.gov.au.

Maternal and Child Health

Maternal & Child Health Centres are managed by two health services in Wellington, Central Gippsland Health and Yarram and District Health Service.

Maternal & Child Health Nurses are registered nurses and midwives with additional qualifications in Maternal & Child Health. The Service is confidential and free to families with children between 0-6 years of age.  Families can attend the centre of their choice by appointment, or by dropping in to an open session, appointments are not required.

Your Nurse can assist with assessment of your child's growth and development at various key Ages & Stages - at arrival home after your baby's birth, 2 weeks, 4 weeks, 8 weeks, 4 months, 8 months, 12 months, 18 months, 2 years and 3 1/2 years of age.

The service also runs new parent groups, particularly for first time parents and young mothers under 20 years of age.

For messages and appointments please call:

Immunisations

Wellington Shire Council offers immunisation for members of our community. For more information, please visit the Immunisation page.  

Under the ‘No Jab, No Play’ legislation, before enrolling a child, early childhood education and care services must obtain evidence that the child is up to date with all vaccinations that are due for their age, or that they are able to receive, or for which they have a medical exemption if applicable. An Immunisation History Statement from the Australian Immunisation Register is acceptable for this purpose. For more information, please visit Better Health Channel or Council’s Immunisation page.

Playgroups

Parenting Support Groups

In Wellington Shire there are several places a parent or carer can visit to seek friendship and support. Support includes, social support via a playgroup, or develop parenting skills through parenting workshops.  

There are many local organisations that run parenting support programs throughout the year, including:

Health and Wellbeing Plan

Healthy Wellington

Healthy Wellington has replaced the Municipal Early Years Plan (MEYP). Healthy Wellington is an important strategic plan that promotes collaborative action towards improving the health and wellbeing of our community.

Please visit the Strategies and Plans page to view Healthy Wellington.

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This page was last published on: 
Thursday, January 19, 2023