May 29, 2018 by admin
In limbo: Carly Marriner with Ashton, 3, says many north-west parents are yet to receive a kindergarten offer. Picture: Cathy JacksonHUNDREDS of families living in the north-west are anxiously awaiting their children’s kindergarten placements to be revealed.
Brimbank and Melton councils have begun issuing “first round” offers for next year’s kindy places, but final spots may not be known for more than a month.
Parents fear that if they miss out on their preferred preschool they will be forced to travel further to take their children where a place is available, disrupting their school and kindy drop-off routines.
This year’s wait for positions has been complicated by new federal regulations.
From January 1, kindergartens must provide 15 hours per week for four-year-old programs – up from 10.75 hours a week.
While federal and state governments have provided funding for infrastructure, the ability of kindergartens to cope with extended hours is yet to be tested.
Caroline Springs mother Carly Marriner last week received a first round offer for her son Ashton at Kororoit Creek kindergarten.
She had wanted to enrol him at Parkwood Green kindergarten, where his two siblings had attended, but lack of space meant the kindy was unable to operate 15 hours per week for both three and four year-old sessions.
Ms Marriner said many parents were yet to receive placement details.
“There are a lot of kindergartens in the area, but the issue is a lot of parents may not get their preference because of the increase of children in the area,” she said.
“It’s difficult because a lot of the kindergartens aren’t flexible and don’t take into account working hours, so a lot of working parents really need their first preference.”
Caroline Springs Mothers’ Network president Deborah Watson said many local kindies may need to be expanded to cater for the increase in hours.
“It really comes down to whether you are quick enough to drop your preference form in; there are no guarantees.”
Brimbank Council’s acting general manager of community well-being, Neil Whiteside , said 1752 kindy applications had been received with 1924 spots available.
He said 172 children did not get an offer in the first round but should receive a secondary offer within two weeks.
Melton Council children’s services manager Vicky Matthews said there were 1433 applications.
She said 15 children were waiting for a placement.
Kindergarten Parents Victoria chief executive Emma King said most children would get a spot but parents could not bank on getting their first choice.
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