WARRNAMBOOL City Council is encouraging parents with children who will be at least four years old by April 30 next year and have not yet enrolled them in kindergarten to do so.
The council’s community services director Kellie King said four-year-old kindergarten enrolments for 2014 were 436, down from the present number of 460.
Ms King said the drop in enrolments defied the general trend for increasing enrolments that had occurred in Warrnambool since 2006.
The trend complied with the projections for Warrnambool’s growth, she said.
Ms King said that while applications for kindergarten closed on June 28, council still accepted late enrolments.
However late applications were less likely to get their first choice of kindergarten because they might already be full. She said it was not unusual for there to be a significant gap between enrolment numbers at this time of year and numbers next year.
The council has nine kindergartens in Warrnambool, Dennington and Allansford providing a program for four year olds.
Ms King said staff numbers at kindergartens were allocated according to enrolments.
The state government’s introduction this year of a minimum 15 hours a week kindergarten for four-year-olds had made staffing more complex, she said.
Kindergarten attendance was increased to a minimum of 15 hours in recognition that quality early childhood education programs improved children’s learning, health and behaviour, with positive impacts extending into adult life.
It also supported a successful transition to formal schooling and supported planning for integrated service systems.