These days most 3-5 year olds attend a centre that offers a preschool or kindergarten program. Most centres that offer this program will have a qualified early education teacher.
The two main types of centres are
1. Privately run Long Daycare or child care Centres. These centres often have children from as young as 6 weeks but will provide a preschool or kindergarten program for the children in the year before they attend primary school. They are open usually 48-50 weeks per year often from 6.30am - 6 pm.
2. Community based centres usually run during the school terms. The operating hours are also often the same as schools approximately 8.30 am - 3pm. They are usually a dedicated preschool or kindergarten program and only have children from 3-5 years. Depending on which state you live in these places can be called kindergarten or preschools.
The aim of the program is to -
- prepare your child for school
- develop a love of learning
- Help them make friends
- develop skills useful for life.
When children are young they often learn a lot of things through play. The learning program in preschool and kindergarten is guided by the Early Years Learning Framework for Australia. Visit mychild.gov.au for more information.
This framework outlines the best way for centres to structure the learning your child will experience while at preschool or kindergarten. Through these learning experiences your child will learn to explore and experiment. They will develop their skills in solving problems, communicating and socialising. They will also develop self-esteem, confidence and the foundations for their formal learning.