Frequently asked questions

How and when do I enrol my child at Thornbury Kindergarten?

Registration for 3 year old and 4 year old kinder can be completed online via the Darebin Kindergarten and Childcare Registrations Portal or you can obtain a hard copy of the form from the Darebin Council office at 274 Gower St, Preston. The main registration period is from the 1st of February to the 30th of April in the year prior to attendance. Late applications are accepted but, in the case of a late application, your child will not be offered a place in the first round.

Children must be three years old on or before the 30th of April in the year that they are to attend the three year old program and may only commence the program once they have turned three years old.

Children must be four years old on or before 30th April in the year that they are to attend the four year old program.

It’s important to note that the Victorian Department of Education and Training requires that we provide what’s known as “priority of access” to vulnerable children, children from Indigenous backgrounds, children known to child protection, children with disability or developmental delay and children having a second year of 4 year old kindergarten. These children, in a specific order, are given their parents’ or guardians’ preferences first.

Can I come and see Thornbury Kindergarten?

Tours are 30 minutes and booked by appointment. Please ring 9484 1095 to discuss a suitable time.

How many children are in a group?

There is a maximum of 22 children in each group.

Does my child need to be immunised to attend Thornbury Kindergarten?

Yes. The 'No jab, no play' law requires that all children are age-appropriately immunised before enrolment in an early childhood service can be confirmed. Once you have been offered a place, you will be required to submit your child's Immunisation History Statement from the Australian Immunisation Register to confirm your child's enrolment. Immunisation History Statements can obtained by:

  • Accessing your myGov account
  • Calling the Australian Immunisation Register on 1800 653 809
  • Visiting a Medicare or Centrelink office

How does the government funding work for kindergarten?

Currently there is no government funding for 3 year old kinder.

Government funding for 4 year old kinder is always subject to change, however the current funding arrangement includes funding from the State Government Department of Education and Training (DET) and the Federal Government. Both provide per-capita funding as a contribution towards the cost of 4 year old kindergarten.

The fees for parents are the amounts payable after the funding has been taken into consideration.

Families who are eligible for the Kindergarten Fee Subsidy will not be required to make fee payments, but must present a current Concession Card or Visa to the Thornbury Kindergarten Director or Fees Officer prior to their child commencing.

Do you offer before or after care?

No. Our current staffing levels do not allow us to offer care beyond the session times.

Are incursions and excursions part of your program?

Yes! Incursions and excursions are part of our 3 and 4 year old programs. Please refer to the relevant pages on this website for more details.

What does the Committee of Management do?

Thornbury Kindergarten is managed by a parent-run, incorporated Committee of Management. This committee functions as the licenced provider and employer at the kindergarten. The Committee consists of parents or guardians of children attending the centre (or those on the waiting list). These parents volunteer their time to ensure that the kindergarten remains operational and delivers a high-quality service to the community. Being involved in the committee is one way parents can participate in their child's preschool education. You benefit by:

  • having direct input into decision-making at the kindergarten;
  • developing new skills in areas such as financial management, policy development and employee relations;
  • making a valuable contribution to the future of your own child, as well as all children attending the kindergarten;
  • developing friendships and social networks.

What social activities run outside of kindergarten hours for families to get to know each other?

There are numerous social events organised by the Committee of Management's fundraising team each year. Some of these events also function as fundraising events for the Kindergarten.

Including, but not limited to:

  • Welcome Picnic

  • Trivia Night

  • Working Bee (2 per year)

  • Halloween Disco

  • End of Year Picnic

We also encourage one parent from each Kinder group to volunteer as the social representative for the group. The social rep can organise park or cafe dates throughout the year.

Which primary schools do children from Thornbury Kindergarten mostly go to?

There are many local primary schools surrounding Thornbury Kindergarten. Including:

  • Wales Street Primary School
  • Bell Primary School
  • Penders Grove Primary School
  • Thornbury Primary School
  • St Mary’s Primary
  • Holy Spirit Primary
  • Preston South Primary School

Children move from Thornbury Kinder to all of these schools and many others.

What is the ratio of staff to children in each group?

1 adult to 11 children.

When are fees payable?

To secure a kindergarten place families must pay a holding fee of $50 payable in early December in the year prior to commencing. This invoice will be included in your enrolment pack. Eligible Concession Card/Visa holders need to present their card to our Director by the due date of the holding fee invoice and are not required to pay the deposit (this only applies to our 4 year old program).

Fees are invoiced on a term basis and are payable prior to the commencement of each term.

Are there any subsidies available for eligible concession card holders?

Early Start Kindergarten provides free or low cost kindergarten to eligible 3 year old children where programs are offered by a qualified teacher. We can offer your child a place in a program for 3 or 4 year olds. We make applications for Early Start Kindergarten on your behalf and the grant is paid directly to our service. Please contact our Director for further information.

Kindergarten Fee Subsidy is a state government subsidy to enable eligible families to attend a funded kindergarten program at no cost. Eligibility conditions change from time to time – please contact our Director for further information.

Families who may be eligible for the Kindergarten Fee Subsidy (4 year old programs only) include:

  • Health Care Card holders
  • Pensioner Concession Card holders
  • Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold Card or White Card holders
  • Bridging Visas A–E
  • Refugee Visa (subclass 200)
  • In-country Special Humanitarian visa (subclass 201)
  • Global Special Humanitarian visa (subclass 202)
  • Temporary Humanitarian Concern visa (subclass 786)
  • Protection visa (subclass 866)
  • Emergency Rescue visa (subclass 203)
  • Woman at risk visa (subclass 204)
  • ImmiCard
  • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children
  • triplets or quadruplets attending a funded kindergarten program in the same year.

Supporting documentation must be sighted by our Director on acceptance of a place or on commencement in the program. Families are eligible for the Kindergarten Fee Subsidy for the full term in which their concession is valid.

The subsidy is paid directly to our service.

How does the Kinder handle food allergies?

At Thornbury Kindergarten we don't ban any food types. Staff and parents or guardians need to be aware that it is not possible to achieve a completely allergen-free environment in any centre that is open to the general community. We instruct staff to never assume that an allergen has been eliminated from the environment. Instead, the Kindergarten recognises the need to adopt a range of procedures and risk minimisation strategies to reduce the risk of a child having an anaphylactic reaction. The Kindergarten has a comprehensive anaphylaxis policy and procedure. There's more information here.

Can my child start before turning 3 years old?

No. Children can enrol in three year old kinder before turning three, however they cannot attend the Kindergarten until they have turned three. Payment of full year fees will apply.

Must my child be toilet training before starting at Kinder?

No, we can support a child who is on the path to being toilet trained.

How does the Kinder provide for children with additional needs?

We welcome all children at Thornbury Kindergarten. Our programs are designed to meet the needs of all children. If you have particular concerns, please contact us to discuss how we can support your child at our kindergarten.

How are group places allocated?

Families are given the opportunity to indicate their preferred group and the Kindergarten will allocate children to first preferences where possible. Priority of access criteria applies to those children who face barriers to participation.

What is Early Start Kindergarten?

Early Start Kindergarten provides free or low-cost kindergarten to eligible 3 year old children. Our programs are offered by a qualified teacher. Our service offer your child a place in a program for 3 or 4 year olds.

We make applications for Early Start Kindergarten funding on your behalf and the grant is paid directly to our service.

Children are eligible if they are aged three by the 30th of April in the year they will be attending kindergarten and:

  • Your family has had contact with Child Protection (or been referred to CHILD FIRST), or
  • Your child is Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander (more information here).

What is the Kindergarten Child Safety Policy?

The protection of children is the responsibility of everyone involved at Thornbury Kindergarten, including staff, parents and volunteers. We all share the responsibility for promoting the well-being and safety of children.

Thornbury Kindergarten has zero tolerance towards child abuse and is committed to acting in the best interests of children and keeping them safe at all times. The Committee of Management is committed to implementing the minimum(? Are we sure this is the correct version l thought we removed the word minimum?) Child Safe Standards and creating a child safe organisation.

Thornbury Kindergarten holds children's safety and well-being central to all its work in practice, recruitment, professional development, advocacy and policy work.

Thornbury Kindergarten is committed to the well-being of all children, families, staff, volunteers and partners in its delivery of quality early childhood education. We strive to create a sense of belonging for all children and families irrespective of ethnicity, culture, language, beliefs, gender, age, socioeconomic status, level of ability or family structure. This commitment is reflected in the Kinder's philosophy and everyday teaching practice.

In line with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Thornbury Kindergarten endorses the rights of all children to participate, have purpose, be protected and ensure that prevention from risk and harm is paramount in all we do.

We are committed to:

  • Empowering children
    • Thornbury Kindergarten recognises that children have a voice and are vital and active participants in our organisation. We involve them when making decisions, especially about matters that directly affect them. We listen to their views and respect what they have to say.
    • Taking all concerns, allegations and indications seriously by responding robustly and consistently in-line with the Kinder’s policies and procedures.
    • Upholding the rights of all children to feel safe, and be safe, at all times.
  • Embracing inclusion and diversity
    • Promoting a culture of inclusion as a principle for all children including Aboriginal children, children at-risk, children from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds and children of all abilities.
    • Encouraging active partnerships with parents/guardians and families and ensuring that best practice is based on a child/family-centred approach with shared outcomes for children’s learning, health, safety, wellbeing and development.
  • Fulfilling our Duty of Care
    • Ensuring that the health, safety and well-being of children in our care is protected at all times in the pursuit of promoting their learning, development and wellbeing.
    • Fulfilling our duty-of-care obligations under the law by protecting children from any reasonable or foreseeable risk of injury or harm.
    • Ensuring that people caring for children in our organisation act in the best interests of the child and take all reasonable steps to ensure the child’s safety and well-being at all times.
    • Promoting prevention of child abuse by identifying potential risks early in the pathway of emerging risk and acting.
    • Notifying appropriate organisations such as the Department of Health & Human Services, Child FIRST or Victoria Police regarding any concerns on the safety and well-being of a child.
    • Reviewing and monitoring all Thornbury Kindergarten systems and processes regularly to ensure they meet requirements to uphold child safety.
    • Implementing a robust child safe recruitment process in line with the child safe organisation indicators when employing staff and volunteers.
    • Ensuring that the Child Safety Standards are mandatory professional development requirements for ALL Thornbury Kindergarten staff.
More information here.

I have received a place at Thornbury Kinder, when can I select my group preferences?

After you receive notification that you have a confirmed place at Thornbury Kinder from Darebin Council, you will receive a formal welcome letter from us inviting you to our information night (generally held in early October). At this information night, you will receive a letter inviting you to nominate your preferred kinder group. You will receive confirmation of your group allocation at our Annual General Meeting which is held in November.

Can I enrol in the Kindergarten mid year?

Yes, if there is a vacancy available. Please visit the Darebin Kindergarten and Childcare Registrations Portal or you can obtain a hard copy of the form from the Darebin Council office at 274 Gower St, Preston. When a place becomes available, Darebin Council will contact you.