The prospect of three year kindergarten programmes being cut makes me think of my own kinder experience, which was as a four year old at a kindergarten in Hallam, in the outer south eastern suburbs of Melbourne.
For many, kinder memories are about painting, climbing frames and having milk and apples for snack time- well at least that’s what I remember about 1975.
I also remember painting a picture of my mum and dad when they went to a Halloween Dance and my kinder teacher being so excited I used more than one colour of paint. Red was my comfort colour and the fact I had used oranges and browns and yellows was considered a breakthrough.
My more recent memories are of the little BGs’ own kinder experiences. No milk and apples- they are required to bring their own snack box and bottles with them. Their 3 year kinder programme is not as extensive nor as structured as the 4 year kinder programme (which involved excursions to Sovereign Hill, the Art Gallery and Scienceworks!), but it is often the first experience of children away from their care giver. I remember a lot of tears from little three year olds when they were farewelling their mum, dad or nanna.
Usually the 3 year programme is about establishing a routine or playtime, snacktime, then outside play, learning to pack up and learning to play with other children. Master BG did 3 year kinder twice, as he was one of the younger ones in his initial group and the kinder teacher thought he would benefit from being held back. Both little BGs loved and love kinder, preferring it to daycare!
It would be a shame to see this experience be diminished, which will happen unless the appropriate funding is provided by the State Government to allow kindergartens to be expanded to allow concurrent 3 and 4 year programs.