Exemption from kindergarten for ECIS exiting students
It is recognised that the preferred option for all students, in order to gain the most benefit from the available years of schooling, is participation in kindergarten, providing an important foundation year for learning.
All children who have turned four years of age by January 1st 2014 are eligible for enrolment at their local kindergarten. Any exception to this is on the basis of early entry to kindergarten for students assessed as gifted.
There have been some queries raised regarding requests for exemption for children with disability from their kindergarten year. This has then followed with a request to enrol in the kindergarten program when the child has subsequently turned five years of age by January 1st.
The years of compulsory schooling within the Education Act defines “that a child who is at least 5 years of age as at 1 January in any year, and who unless exempted or excused under the Education Act 1994, must be enrolled at a school or be provided with home education for that year and subsequent years until the child completes the school year during which he or she attains the age of 16 years.”
If a parent chooses not to enrol their child in the kindergarten year at the age of four this is permissible within the act, but not the preferred option in relation to the benefits of accessing a kindergarten education program. For these students an enrolment in prep by the time they have turned 5 years of age is required.
Seeking an enrolment in kindergarten rather than in prep at the age of 5 can only be achieved through an exemption request to the Secretary of the Department of Education as outlined in Admission Guidelines for Kindergarten and Preparatory.
In discussions with families it should be made clear that services available through ECIS are from birth (or diagnosis) until transition to kindergarten, for eligible families, and does not include additional support for a further year if families choose not to seek a kindergarten enrolment.
Where a family chooses not to access a kindergarten year the first year of formal schooling will be when the child turns five and is enrolled in prep.
If you have further queries please refer to the Enrolment, Attendance and Participation Policy, School Attendance Procedures and the Admission Guidelines for Kindergarten and Preparatory all available on the Doe website.