Knox boost forkinders

Still playing: Aiden, Julian and Jun at Riddell Road Kindergarten in Wantirna South. Picture: Rob CarewWHAT DO YOU THINK? SCROLL TO BELOW THIS STORY TO POST A COMMENT.
Nanjing Night Net

KNOX Council says it ready to implement federal reforms that make it compulsory to offer access to 15 hours of four-year-old preschool every week.

The council last week endorsed two new session models for its kindergartens to introduce in January as part of Council of Australian Government reforms.

Federal Minister for Early Childhood Peter Garrett applauded the council’s effort to make room for the new rules without affecting any of its other services.

Mr Garrett said the federal reforms were based on the best possible advice from childcare experts. “All the experts tell us that a year of preschool before school is absolutely necessary .”

But many municipalities have expressed concern about the feasibility of implementing the new reforms without rate rises or affecting three-year-old preschool services.

Mr Garrett said Knox Council was “showing other councils how it should be done”. “It’s exciting to see a council like Knox get stuck into and serving the needs of the kids. They worked really hard to get the reform done.”

Across most Knox preschools, there will be two sessions types from which to choose – two seven-and-a-half-hour sessions a week or three five-hour sessions.

Council officers decided these were the most suitable models for Knox after a questionnaire was circulated to parents.

Mayor Adam Gill said community spirit would be needed in some circumstances, because there would be some changes.

Liberty Avenue Preschool now operates three four-year-old preschool groups, but only two groups will be offered once the reforms are introduced.

Some three-year-old services at West Gully Preschool may need to relocate to either Alexander Magit or Windermere preschools. The reforms to four-year-old preschool also means more staff would be required.

Cr Gill said there would be no changes to fees except for the usual CPI rises.