2023 Timetable and Changes

Note: Most of the information on session times and fees on this website relate to the current 2022 enrolments - this page provides information for 2023 families so they can prepare for the coming year.

The Victorian Government expansion of 3 year old kinder has given Thornbury Kindergarten an opportunity to rethink our programs and respond to community needs. We are pleased to announce that in 2023 we will be offering a timetable that:

  • Provides the full 15 hours per week to 3 AND 4 year olds

  • Offers 6 group options for families (3 Bush Kinder and 3 Out and About)

  • Provides a mixed age setting for all groups

 

Please check out the new timetable to the left and read our comprehensive FAQ below. If you have any questions (understanding kinder can be confusing!) contact our Director Angela Storer on 9484 1095 or angela@thornburykinder.com

2023 Timetable FAQ

Q: Why are the 3 and 4-year-old classes combined?

A: Combining the groups not only gives us the ability to offer the full 15 hours to 3 year olds in 2023 (rather than expanding gradually for the next 6 years as per the government plan), it fits well with our community learning model. We have always taken opportunities to combine the 3 and 4-year-old groups where possible and the children love this; the older children become leaders and mentors while the younger children benefit from peer modelling. Our teaching staff are confident that this approach will be fantastic for the children and are excited for next year.

Q: Will my child's needs be met in a mixed group? What if they are very shy? Or need a lot of challenge?

A: Thornbury Kinder staff are already teaching effectively across an 18 month age range and taking into account both developmental and chronological age when working with each child. They actively support each child to learn at their own pace with individualised programs, flexible spaces, differentiated learning and a lot of support while they are gaining their confidence.

 

Q: Will my 3-year-old be safe outside of a kinder setting?

A: All "offsite" programs (Bush Kinder and Out and About) have an extra staff member (3 in total) and are above the required ratio - this means we can carefully manage and support the children. There is a comprehensive risk assessment for all outings and this includes weather variables, site checks and physical safety, with relocation opportunities always in place. It is our responsibility to keep your children safe at all times and we take our duty of care very seriously. The staff support children’s participation through an active teaching approach as well as individual child/family planning - please contact your teacher with any concerns and they can put a plan in place before your child starts.

Q: Does Out and About go all day? What if my child gets tired?

A: The Out and About program is typically offsite for up to 4 hours (at parks, schools, markets, etc.). However this program only begins once the group is fully oriented and ready, and have practiced the safety protocols. Locations are planned thoughtfully based on the children’s developing capacity, confidence and stamina. Children’s resilience is scaffolded and built over time with plenty of support.

Q: Where do I drop my children off for the offsite days?

A: The sessions labelled "Home Kinder" and "Out and About Kinder" on the timetable have their drop off at Thornbury Kindergarten (8c Newcastle St, Thornbury). For "Bush Kinder" sessions you will drop your children at one of the two Bush Kinder sites (Darebin Creek or Darebin Parklands).

 

Q: Does my child have to be toilet trained?

A: Definitely not. Children are supported at any point of their toilet training journey, and thorough planning has gone in to ensuring safe and dignified hygiene practices for children while offsite.

 

Q: 2 days of bush kinder seems like a lot! Will my child learn enough?

A: Absolutely. We are excited to be able to offer two bush kinder days for Yellow and Blue Group. This will increase their confidence at the bush kinder site and provide opportunities for deeper learning and engagement with the natural world. We have recently expanded our teaching materials to extend children’s learning and include ropes (for balancing) and other resources (reference books, binoculars, magnifying glasses, etc.) to support knowledge of local flora and fauna on site.

Q: Will Kinder be free in 2023? And when will 4yos be able to attend for 30 hours?

A: We are very excited about the recent commitment by the State Government, which includes funding up to $2,500 per child per year, and we are just awaiting further detail on the program to be able to confirm what this means for Thornbury Kindergarten. The increase in hours for 4 year old kinder kids will not start until 2025 (the roll out will be completed by 3032).

Q: Do children always have to attend on time/attend for the whole day?

A: No. Thornbury Kinder has a flexible and collaborative approach to attendance - for example if your child would benefit from a graded start to the year, you can work with your teacher to plan this out. One exception is the children need to be picked up on time (or late pickup fees may apply). 

Q: Will you still deliver the Spanish Program?

A: Yes. Our wonderful spanish language program has been funded for another year - so children in each group will still have a scheduled session with our dedicated teachers once a week.

Q: Which teachers/educators will be assigned to which groups?

A: We are finalising these details currently - they will be provided to all families prior to having to select their group preferences.

Q: Do the children's groups have their "own" room? Do they socialise with the other groups?

A: Yes and yes! Red, Blue and Purple Groups each have their own set days in the "Amethyst" Room (to the left as you walk in the kinder gate). Green, Yellow and Oranges Groups are allocated the "Opal" Room (straight/to the right as you walk in the kinder gate). Each room layout is slightly different and the space is customised accordingly, and in line with the group's needs. Each kinder group acclimatises to their room at Home Kinder, spending a mix of time in and outdoors with structured group activities and lots of (supported) free play. The outdoor play area is shared by both rooms and is oversized for capacity so children get a chance to socialise with the other group and feel part of the wider Thornbury Kinder community!