Frequently Asked Questions
What age will my child start kindergarten?
Starting age varies between kindergartens. It also varies at the same kindergarten at different times as this is greatly affected by the number of children leaving the centre, such as to attend school. If kindergartens have no children leaving over a period of a month this in turn means that no new children can start. Generally though, children would usually start between 3 and 3½years of age, and on occasion, a bit older. Similarly, the move of children through to the morning session from the afternoon session is affected in the same way.
What are the session times?
These vary from kindergarten to kindergarten and a list of these can be found on the web site. All kindergartens have a license to operate and their license stipulates their start and finish times.
How much does it cost?
All Northland Kindergarten Association kindergartens offer families the 20 ECE hours, so for many families there is no cost to attend. Kindergartens that run a kindergarten day option do charge over and above the 20 ECE hours with the rate being $2 an hour. Some kindergartens have a small charge for children’s portfolios and will be able to tell you what this is.
Does my child have to be toilet trained?
It certainly is beneficial for children to be toilet trained before they start kindergarten, however no child would be excluded from kindergarten because of this. Toilet training children is usually seen as the responsibility of the parents and staff will support this by reminding children to use the toilet.
Do I have to stay at kindergarten with my child?
Children often need support from their parents/whanau when starting kindergarten but once they are settled parents are free to leave them by themselves if they wish. Some parents choose to stay at kindergarten and spend time interacting with their children and their children’s friends. Parents are welcome at any time to stay.
What do children learn at kindergarten?
One of the important things that children learn at kindergarten is to socialise with other children. Through a kindergarten experience they learn about relationships, they experience opportunities to share with others, negotiate their way through differences, to be away from parents/whanau, and they learn how to relate to other adults. Whilst at kindergarten children also have the opportunity to discover and learn about numbers, words, writing, colours, painting and so on. Children are not taught to read and write formally, however they gain an understanding and knowledge of these concepts and have opportunities to use paints, pens, crayons, books etc in all areas of their play. In fact, children have the opportunity to make many discoveries for themselves with trained teachers there to guide and support the children’s interests and their learning.
What happens at morning/afternoon kai times or lunch times?
This all depends on the sessions that your kindergarten operates and it would be best to discuss this with the staff at your particular centre.
My child spends all day in the sandpit, can you get him/her inside to do some activities?
At kindergarten children get to choose the area in which they play. Spending time in the sandpit is extremely valuable to children - they are learning about co-operative play and listening to others, the properties of sand and water, they are theorising, planning and designing. The programme provided by the teaching staff is based on a child centered approach and is developed to meet the principles, strands and goals of Te Whāriki, the national early childhood curriculum. Staff are trained and skilled in providing experiences and opportunities that are appropriate for the children.
My child has lost clothes, where do I find them?
Kindergartens will have a lost property box in which collected items are usually put at the end of the session or day. However, sometimes clothing is hidden amongst the dress up clothes, under the bed or buried in the sandpit! Please remember to name all of the clothes, shoes and other personal items that your child brings to Kindergarten, this will increase the chance of the items returning to the right children.