Before we review the differences and similarities between the types of preschool/kindergarten, let’s define “what is preschool & kindergarten?”.
Preschool (as it is called in NSW) & Kindergarten (as it is called in VIC & QLD) helps prepare children for primary schooling. This normally occurs in the 2 years prior to starting school, from 3 years old up to school age.
Preschool/kindergarten is a stepping stone to the next big stage in a child’s life and by attending an early learning preschool/kindergarten children are able to experience a learning setting that is designed to be a transition from early childhood to primary school.
How does preschool /kindergarten in a long daycare setting differ from a community centre?
Preschool/Kindergarten in long daycare is a complete preschool/kindergarten education program offered to children 2 years before formal schooling. At Only About Children, families are offered a unique opportunity to attend a specialised preschool program within a more flexible environment that cater for parents working and studying with extended hours of education and care. At Only About Children, we also offer more with all meals included from breakfast to late snack, nutrition, as well as allied health & wellbeing programs all included in the daily fee.
Only About Children, have university qualified Early Childhood Teachers who develop and deliver the preschool/kindergarten educational program along with qualified educators.
At Only About Children, like all long daycare and other community preschool/kinder services, we are rated and assessed under the same standards and frameworks. All are governed by the same laws and regulations and need to meet the same national standards including the requirement for qualified university Early Childhood Teachers to develop and deliver the curriculum and follow the national mandatory educational frameworks.
Additionally, one of the benefits of attending preschool/kindergarten in a long day care setting is consistency for children and families, a child can begin in the Nursery or Toddler groups and move through to the preschool/kinder age groups having developed a sense of belonging to the service and educators.
In Victoria, the ‘Kindergarten Tick’ identifies a service that offers an approved funded kindergarten program. Every service that displays that tick offers a quality kindergarten program that is approved and regulated by the Victorian Department of Education.
In Queensland, the Government Approved Kindergarten Program tick identifies a service that provides a government kindergarten program for children currently the year before Prep that is delivered by a qualified Early Childhood Teacher.
Age Requirements for preschool/kindergarten
Research suggests that children benefit from attending preschool/kindergarten at least 2 years before formal schooling. Therefore, at Only About Children we offer continuity of our unique Grow Curriculum stretching from Nursery, through to Toddlers and our Preschool/Kindergarten Program in the final 2 years before formal schooling. The age of preschool/kindergarten is from 3 years to school age – up to 6 years. (It’s important to note that a child cannot attend an early childhood service over the age of 6 without authorisation from The Department of Education, and Training.) In long daycare, children may start preschool/kindergarten before or after they turn 3 depending on their readiness as well as availability. The decision to transition a child to the next age group should always be conducted in consultation with the family.
Children at Only About Children will either be in a classroom of children from ages 3 -5 years or in a 3-year-old room and 4-year-old room, this will depend largely on the size and lay out of the campus.
Hours at preschool/kindergarten
With long daycare being open for up to 12 hours a day there is incredible flexibility for families, while some community preschool/kindergarten only centres operate on a 9am-3pm basis, a shorter set period of the day.
Children at Only About Children long day preschool/kindergarten have access to a high-quality learning program for the whole day that children are attending the service which allows for an extended educational program to be delivered up to 12 hours per day.
Additionally, the preschool/kindergarten curriculum runs throughout the calendar year, including school holidays and is only non-operational when the service is closed. Whereas, community preschool/kindergarten services correlate to school terms with limited shorter, set hours.
In New South Wales & Queensland, community preschools/kindergartens are traditionally run from 9am-3pm and are non-operational during school holidays. In Victoria, community preschool centres are run on a sessional basis and are non-operational in school holidays.
At long daycare, Child Care Subsidy is available to reduce daily fees according to eligibility of families.
Educators at preschool/kindergarten
The ratio is the same for a preschool/kindergarten in a long daycare setting and in a community preschool/kindergarten centre. Classroom sizes are similar and staffing arrangements will be based on classroom size as well as any specific individual needs.
In all preschool/ kindergarten programs, the curriculum is designed and implemented by a university-trained Early Childhood Teacher.
Philosophies & Learning Outcomes
School Readiness at Only About Children is more than a program that we offer, the Grow curriculum aims to prepare children for school throughout their time at the campus. It sits across all areas of learning to develop a holistic preparation for the next stage of a child’s learning journey. We believe that school readiness is more than a program that is offered in the last few months of the year, it considers each individual child’s learning and development and ensures they are prepared for the transition to school.
At Only About Children, the 2 years before school are essential to create a strong and holistic transition to school for every child. In addition, in the year before school, educators work more closely with each child and their family and provide a robust, holistic approach to preparation for school that is based on the child’s individual learning and development plan for the year. Educators will share with families how our play-based curriculum is supporting a positive transition to school throughout that year.
At Only About Children, we recognise that the foundations for a positive transition to school start before the preschool age and that through engaging in an intentional play-based curriculum that develops the child holistically will assist in preparing each child for school throughout their time at Only About Children.
How to decide between preschool/kindergarten in a long daycare setting versus a community centre?
We welcome you to book a tour at your local Only About Children campus, talk directly to our incredible educators and find out if our preschool/kindergarten program suits you and your families needs.
Learn more about our holistic approach to learning with preschool/kindergarten children at Only About Children.