Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Increased kindergarten hours approved

City of Greater Shepparton councillors have voted to expand the area's kinder program.

JARROD WHITTAKER December 27, 2013 5:58am

Children will have access to 15 hours of kindergarten a week at all Greater Shepparton City Council preschools from next year.

The decision means four additional council preschools will increase from 11 hours a week to 15.

The change follows City of Greater Shepparton councillors voting to expand the program.

Cr Fern Summer welcomed the decision.

‘‘As of this decision hopefully all kids at council kindergartens will have access to 15 hours kindergarten a week,’’ Cr Summer said.

She said City of Greater Shepparton had been slow in introducing the program.

The introduction follows a 2008 Council of Australian Governments decision to standardise kindergarten programs across Australia.

Part of the decision included standardising the number of hours children attend preschool.

A council officer’s report identified several benefits to increased access to kindergarten, following the introduction of 15 hours at 10 preschools this year.

These included additional learning opportunities and increased attendance.

The report also said kindergartens provided a positive social experience and the extra time prepared children better for primary school.

In November last year, the council estimated the additional hours would cost $63900 this year.

However, factoring in enrolment numbers and a Victorian Government fee subsidy, the program cost $43452.

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