What you need to know about Preschool
In the Northern Territory, Preschool is the year of learning prior to Transition which is the start of Primary Schooling. In other states, Preschool may be referred to as Kindy, and Transition referred to often as Kindergarten or Prep.
If your child turns four between 1 January and 30 June, they may start Preschool at the beginning of the school year (Term 1). Traditionally in the NT, Preschool was/is offered at Primary Schools as a 15-hour week program which children who turn four before July each year can attend. Offering this year of learning based in schools was initiated and funded by the Federal Government in 1972. Over the past 47 years, a fair few things have changed!
The NT School’s Policy around School based Preschools is; If your child turns four after 30 June in the school year, they may start preschool on or after their fourth birthday if the preschool has places available and, on the understanding, that your child will attend preschool for more than 12 months by re-enrolling the following year.
No such Policy exists at Journey Durack. We base our decisions on the knowledge we have and share with the children and the families based on the development of the child, not of their age, as we all know that children learn and develop at their own pace, in their own time. This ensures our Preschool program is responsive and reflective of our current families, not of families back in 1972.
For one, the dynamic and structure of the family has massively diversified. For example, families who were once maybe a single income family, with a parent staying home are now dual income families, single families, shared families or foster or kinship families. With this diversification comes new needs for families and a shift in needs for their children.
The majority of modern families especially in the NT simply don’t have the opportunity (or the time!) to be able to structure their busy lives around school specific 15-hour sessions, which often change each term. For parents or carers who would like it, finding consistency of care for the addition of 12 weeks of year that are the school holidays with pupil free days on top makes school based preschools a non-option!
Nearly a quarter of Australian children arrive at school without the foundation skills they need to thrive. A child’s risk of being developmentally vulnerable is closely correlated with their socioeconomic status, meaning that before they have even started school, these children's chances are more influenced by where they were born than by their own innate abilities. These inequalities often increase as children progress through school. Access to a high quality preschool program, like the one we offer at Journey Durack, is one of the few proven strategies for lifting outcomes for all children, and evidence suggests that two years has more impact than one, for all children especially for the children most likely to be developmentally vulnerable.
At Journey Durack, we can provide a full day Preschool Program for children for two full years before they need to enter Transition and start their primary school journey. This Program includes a school readiness program, not a washed-down school curriculum, that will support your child to be emotionally and socially resilient and ready to learn once they start Transition at school.
In offering a full day program inclusive of school holidays, we are better placed to provide a high quality, responsive and holistic Preschool Program that our NT children and families deserve.
If you are considering Preschool for 2020, and our Preschool sounds like the kind of innovative Preschool program that would suit your family, please contact us today and make a time to meet with our Teacher, Zoey and Centre Manager Jo to find out more about how we can support your family .