MORE than 40 children enrolled in Buninyong Kindergarten’s three-year-old program are still yet to start the year, more than one month after they were meant to begin.
The children, all of whom were accepted into the kindergarten’s program late last year, have been unable to commence due to the facility being at capacity after it was forced to provide another four-year-old program to cope with the federal governments 15-hour mandate introduced this year.
Heather Milne, whose son Lachlan was due to start at the beginning of February, said she was concerned he would now miss out on his three-year-old program completely.
“Parents haven’t been told anything and at this stage it’s really looking like all of our children will have to go without,” Ms Milne said.
“Three-year-old kinder is very important to a child’s education and development.
“My daughter benefited from it hugely and I want the same for my son.”
Uniting Care, the organisation that manages the kindergarten, said they were waiting on approval from state government to house the three-year-old program at a nearby location.
“At present we have too many four-year-old’s at the Buninyong Kindergarten and thus don’t have room for the three-year-old program,” Uniting Care CEO Cliff Barclay said.
“We have recently signed a lease to use a facility at Royal Park where we plan to run the three-year-old program, but we are still waiting on approval from the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development before we can do so.”
Mr Barclay said he hoped the three-year-old program would be running “in a short time.”
The kindergarten already has a teacher in place who will run the three-year-old program.
A City of Ballarat spokesperson said the original site at Buninyong would expand this year to include another room to accommodate the three-year-old program, as well as maternal and child health services.
“The kindergarten has received $700,000 in funding which will see it expand into a top kindergarten facility,” the spokesperson said.