Preschools offer so much more in education

Preschool or kindergarten, is a program for young children that is delivered by a qualified Early Childhood teacher.

Youngsters enjoying kindergarten in Stawell.

Youngsters enjoying kindergarten in Stawell.

Children usually attend a preschool program in the year before starting school when they are four years old, but sometimes it is better to start them a little later.

Stawell and District Preschool educators are available to discuss this issue with parents if they are unsure of when to start their child in a preschool program. The legal requirement is that children start school in the year that they turn six.

Preschool is a very important step in a child's development. It improves health and wellbeing, develops social skills and encourages a thirst for learning. The independence skills learnt and confidence skills gained by children will aid in a smoother transition to prep (school).

When choosing a Preschool, look for the Kindergarten Certificate on display. This will mean that the provider is funded by the State and Federal Government. Also look at the qualifications of educators providing the service for your child.

The teacher should hold a Diploma of Teaching Early Childhood or a Bachelor of Education Early Childhood or equivalent.

Stawell and District Preschool Association is a community owned and operated organisation that has provided pre-education services for more than 60 years. This Association runs two centres:

Cooinda Preschool is located at 74 Cooper Street Stawell. This facility was opened in 1967 and was funded by donated land and money raised by the Stawell West Ladies Auxiliary. Cooinda Preschool has great community links and support and is a popular centre.

Marrang Preschool is located at 87-89 D'Arcy Street Stawell. This facility was built after the closure of Lady Brooks Kindergarten in 1996. Marrang Preschool is located within the Council's Children's Precinct at Taylors Gully, but is not a council service. It is a relatively new facility that was opened in 1998 and has evolved into a wonderful learning environment for children.

Dates to Remember - Education Week:

May 19, 2014 Open Hour 2:30pm to 3:30pm, Marrang & Cooinda - An opportunity for your child to play, view facilities and meet the educators.

May 21, 2014 Funded Kindergarten and School Expo - Stawell and District Schools 'Creating Opportunities Together'. The Expo is to be held at the Stawell Secondary College Language Centre, 5:00pm to 6:30pm. An opportunity to gather information on all funded kindergarten services within Stawell, local and rural primary schools and the Stawell Secondary College. A one stop information session on education services from Preschool to Primary to Secondary Education.

Registrations - On May 28, 2014 Registration sessions for Stawell and District Preschool 9am to June 18, 2014 11am, or request postage of information by telephone -July 16, 2014 - 53581249.

When choosing a Preschool program, it is important to look at the full cost for your family.

Stawell and District Preschool charges have no hidden costs:

Offer a low cost four-year-old program for children of 15 hours a week (2014). The actual cost of service is $2.06 per hour, or $31 per week.

Offer free kindergarten programs to four-year-old children where families hold a Health Care Card or Pension Card. This is 15 hours of Preschool (2014) free of charge.

Offer free early start programs to three-year-old children of up to 15 hours per week (2014) for children of Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander origins or children that are known to Child Protection.

Offer a limited placement three-year-old service. As the three-year-old program is not funded by the government, the actual cost is $5.37 per hour or $21.50 per week (2014).


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