By Laura Michell
Fewer four-year-olds are attending kinder in Brimbank, with the municipality’s participation rate falling below the state average.
Kindergarten attendance data from the Department of Education and Training reveals that in 2018, 88.1 per cent of four-year-olds living in Brimbank attended kinder.
The state attendance average for 2018 was 92.1 per cent.
Speaking at a recent council meeting, Cr Margaret Giudice said the council had developed a kindergarten participation project to examine kinder attendance.
The project was developed in conjunction with the education department and kinders and provides the council with a snapshot of attendance date at six kindergartens.
“Children are tracked to see if they are going, why not, if they are late and where the gaps are,” Cr Guidice said.
“As we know, going to kinder is one of the most important things children can do.
“[The project] will help children and mothers to understand how important kinder is.”
Brimbank council acting community wellbeing director Ashley Fleming said it was not compulsory for four-year-olds to attend kindergarten.
“It’s a parental decision whether they choose to send their children to kindergarten,” he said.
“It is well known children who attend kindergarten have better social and cognitive skills compared to children who do not attend kinder, and have a smoother transition to primary school.”
Mr Fleming said the council does not operate kindergartens but managed a registration service for all funded kindergarten programs in Brimbank that are not attached to a long day care service.
He said the council had identified vacancies at sessional kindergartens, which could be because more parents are choosing to send their children to kindergarten at a child care centre.
“Some families choose to send their children to kindergarten programs in long day care centres which provide longer hours than the sessional model,” he said.