Viw Magazine

  • Written by Darren Cunningham

If you’re a new immigrant in Australia, perhaps you have plenty of questions about childhood education. What school should you pick, or what’s the best age for them to attend school? To help you, here are some FAQs to read before scheduling a school visit:

1. At What Age Should the Child Go to School?

Australia doesn’t have an “official age” for schooling since the federal government leaves it to the states and territories. For this reason, the best age for child care in Sydney is different from that of Queensland.

So far, the consensus is children should be around five years old to start their childhood education. The question is when they turn to such age. In New South Wales, they must turn five by July 31. In Queensland, it’s earlier on June 30.

The best advice is to refer to the state’s or territory’s local website for more information. It doesn’t mean, though, they must be around this age before they can begin their Australian education.

2. What Kind of Child Care in Sydney Is Available?

Parents can consider many types of arrangements. For example, they can take advantage of long daycare, especially if both parents are working.

These are centres that operate for extended periods, although they usually match the typical working hours. Parents can drop off their kids on the way to the office and pick them up after.

This arrangement is accessible for children who cannot qualify for kindergarten or more formal childhood education yet, although some facilities accept up to 12 years old.

There’s also kindergarten, pre-K, or prep. Children and parents can already expect more formal training, which means programmes now match those instituted by the state or the federal government.

These centres may be in a community or a stand-alone facility. Others may have affiliations with larger schools. Meanwhile, some long daycare centres may run a kindergarten. Classes run for only a few hours a day.

Some schools may also provide after-hour services. Others call this a casual arrangement. In this setup, a centre may accommodate children in case of problems, such as an emergency in the family or community.

3. Will Schools Vaccinate the Children?

The responsibility of vaccinating children lies on the parents, and all vaccinations go into the Australian Immunisation Registry (AIR). The specific guidelines, though, can vary between states and territories.

In New South Wales, a school may exclude a child with no vaccination from attending classes. It may also hold immunization certificates up to three years and provide these records upon request to another school if the family moves.

For families who came from overseas, they cannot immediately enroll their children even if they already have vaccination forms. They need to contact a general practitioner, who will then evaluate the immunization records.

It’s only when they receive approval from the GP can the parents log these details into the AIR. They will then have access to the certificate or statement form they will present to the school.

4. How Much Time Do Students Spend in Australia?

Child care in Sydney and Australia can be quite long. Students spend a lot of time in the classroom compared to those in other OECD countries. Primary education can reach 10,000 hours, although lower secondary education can be shorter at 6,000 hours. Children, such as kindergarten, spend significantly less, but the experience will allow them to prepare for higher education.

These FAQs will hopefully help you plan your child’s education in Australia. Remember, when in doubt, you can always ask for more information from child care centres or the local government.


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