Most parents happy with new kinder hours, services

PARENTS have given the tick of approval to reforms introduced in Warrnambool kindergartens last year requiring 15 hours of class time a week for all four-year-old children.

New teaching models and a more streamlined enrolment process were introduced while after-kinder care programs were extended from two centres in 2012 to six last year.

Eighty-six per cent of respondents were very satisfied with the new model of three weekly sessions comprising one three-hour session and two six-hour sessions, while 92 per cent felt the model met their child’s needs very well or well.

Of those who had enrolled a child in kindergarten previously (55 per cent), 81 per cent indicated the process had either improved or not changed.

The survey also showed 76 per cent were very satisfied or quite satisfied with the enrolment process.

Of those who were dissatisfied, the most common response was based on not getting a preference that provided access to after-kinder care, which is not provided at all sites due to costs.

Thirty-seven per cent of respondents indicated they would be interested in childcare at kindergarten during school holidays.

All parents who had enrolled children in 2013 were emailed the survey of 21 questions, to which 92 people responded.

“It’s been pretty well accepted,” city council community development director Vicky Mason told councillors this week.

“Enrolling a child in kindergarten for the first time can initially appear to be quite complicated, so we are happy to hear that the changes to the process have been well received.”

Cr Jacinta Ermacora said the kindergarten changes were a great example of the council consulting community members before, during and after major reform.

“It incorporated mums and children all the way along,” she said.

“After-kinder care has been a great initiative.”

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