Jump to content

Does your child learn at their government kinder

  • Please log in to reply
43 replies to this topic

#1 PolkaDots

Posted 15 July 2015 - 12:45 PM

I recently volunteered at my DD kinder and I was really disappointed with what the teachers are like. The kids basically just wander around from activity to activity. They don't learn anything - i couldn't even find a book or a chart with the alphabet on it!

The only time the kids are assembled on the mat together is 20mins before pick up when they read a book or two. I've spoken with some other mums and they're all saying the their kids are saying that they're bored.

I've spoken to some friends who have their kids in kinders with other councils and it's pretty much the same. They're not learning anything. Whereas, at the kinder at daycare, they're learning a letter a week, basic Mathis and skip counting. I don't understand why it's so different when the kinder teachers all complete the same course!

Would love to know if anyone else's kinder is the same (I'm in VIC in the Hume Council).

Edited by PolkaDots, 15 July 2015 - 12:47 PM.

#2 Literary Lemur

Posted 15 July 2015 - 12:59 PM

Many kinders are play based learning.  Our children went to one that sounded similar to yours.

Lots of activities to choose from, some reading time.

My children learned social skills, some structure and routines, and generally how to feel confident in a group setting.

There was no direct literacy teaching which was exactly as I wanted.

I wanted them to be curious and want to learn about the world around them not learn academics in such a structured way.  That happens soon enough at school!

My eldest is now at high school, is still curious and creative, and loves learning.  Academically she is excelling.  She is also healthy and social and self driven.

She still looks back with fondness to the magical kinder days.

#3 robhat

Posted 15 July 2015 - 01:01 PM

How old are the kids? 3-4 year olds? Is Kinder in VIC the same as preschool in NSW?

If so I would NOT expect to see alphabet charts and I'd pull my kid out if they were doing maths and letters. They should be doing play based learning at that age, not sitting in chairs doing school work. It is possible for children to learn heaps without direct instruction but by guided playful activities.

That said, you should be seeing more than just kids being left to their own devices, wandering around from activity to activity. I would expect to see teachers doing a few things with the whole group together and other activities of just small groups of 2-6 kids. It's also usual to see the teachers talking with children about what they are doing, extending their learning while they are playing etc.

And boredom from 3-4 year olds is not a good sign that the teachers are engaging the kids appropriately.

#4 lozoodle

Posted 15 July 2015 - 01:03 PM

So you're talking pre school? I woudn't expect much more, its play based learning. Plenty of time for that in actual school.

#5 born.a.girl

Posted 15 July 2015 - 01:07 PM

View Postlozoodle, on 15 July 2015 - 01:03 PM, said:

So you're talking pre school? I woudn't expect much more, its play based learning. Plenty of time for that in actual school.

Yes, kinder in Vic is pre school - generally 15 hours per week, the year before Prep.

#6 Jingleflea

Posted 15 July 2015 - 01:15 PM

My 5yr old DD is at preschool in the ACT and they do play based learning. They don't specifically teach the alphabet bit if the kids know it they use that knowledge and let them write their own names on their artworks etc.

From what I know, they should have a folder for each child you can look through to see what they've done so far this year and if there are any common themes in the room.
Most recently our PS talked about families. So their artwork etc was based on families(and friends).
They were all growing a class crystal for some science competition, etc.

But mostly they seem to play.
It's done WONDERS for my DD! Mostly socially, which is what I wanted.

Go in at various times of the day, see what the day's schedule is. We were given a rough breakdown of the day's activities. What time meals were, when they played outside etc.

#7 fooiesmum

Posted 15 July 2015 - 01:15 PM

NSW doesn't have the 15 hours before school option avialable, you can choose to attend preschool (9am til 3pm) at either a council run or private centre or LCD.

My daughters preschool was part of the proressive eductin network - there was a lot of learning going on, but not in the traditional rote learning way.

#8 SusieGreen

Posted 15 July 2015 - 01:17 PM

I happily sent my children off to school having had NO formal learning. I'm not sure they could even write their name.lol
I'm glad that year prior was play-based learning, I wouldn't have sent them otherwise. There is no real advantage at that age.

#9 Empress NG

Posted 15 July 2015 - 01:18 PM

The lack of alphabet charts not necessarily cause for concern.  Those are considered a bit old hat these days.  There should be some educational purpose to the play though - even if not immediately apparent to an outsider.  This piece on 'play based learning' is quite good:  


#10 Suz01

Posted 15 July 2015 - 01:27 PM

I would have thought they had some structure to their day, unlike what you are saying going around doing any old activity.

I'm in NSW, but raised in VIC, and my DD4.5 in in LDC and does part of the time as structured learning.  They often do things like counting games, colour associations and mix paint up from primary colours to make secondary colours in play setting rather than class setting.  She can identify the alphabet and can write her own name.

#11 Heather11

Posted 15 July 2015 - 01:28 PM


Lots of activities to choose from, some reading time.

My children learned social skills, some structure and routines, and generally how to feel confident in a group setting.


Along with singing, being exposed to new experiences.  They had a garden the children helped with.  They had living eggs and watched the chicks hatch etc.  Farm and native animal incursions.  

They were exposed to numbers by singing songs like 5 Little ducks or they would count how many children were there that day.  

All my kids wanted to do was to run around outside with their friends :rofl:

#12 Astrocyte

Posted 15 July 2015 - 01:45 PM

I would pull my child out of a pre-school that was doing explicit teaching of maths and alphabet learning, there is plenty of time for that in primary school. Play-based learning is what pre-school is all about rather than explicit teaching of literacy and numeracy. I think you would find that your child is doing a lot of learning at kinder, even if you don't see it. Have a look at 'Being, Belonging and Becoming' which is the document that guides early childhood educators in their planning of learning activities for children and enhancing developmental outcomes. Also why not have a chat with the kinder teachers about what the children are 'learning' (just bear in mind that it probably won't be what you are expecting; instead it might be to play nicely with everyone, to sit on the mat, to follow a routine/instructions, singing songs).

I think it's attitudes like yours that continue to contribute to the child care industry being seen as 'babysitting' and "fluffy play and activities' rather than early childhood education.

Edited by Astrocyte, 15 July 2015 - 01:46 PM.

#13 FuzzyChocolateToes

Posted 15 July 2015 - 01:53 PM

I'm not sure why you expect literacy skills to be taught at kinder? Our kinder is the same as yours.  I suggest you arrange  a meeting with the teacher and they will  explain to you the aim of play based learning and the planning that goes into each session.

I can honestly say I've never heard a child complain of boredom at kinder.

#14 hills mum bec

Posted 15 July 2015 - 02:00 PM

When my older children went to preschool they had play based learning but there was still a bit of structure.  There would be periods where the kids got to choose whatever they wanted to do but then there would be periods where they would have a choice of activities that were still fun but provided more of an indirect learning opportunity.  I found their program to be excellent & my kids really thrived there.  When DD started school we moved to a different area so all the kids she started school with had gone to the local rural preschool which was a lot less structured & more of "let the kids explore & do what they want" type of setup.  All of the parents raved about the preschool but her FYOS teacher told me that it was very evident that DD had gone to a different preschool because she was a lot more ready for school than the rest of the students.  Now my DD will be due to start pre-school next year & we have chosen not to send her to the local preschool but to send her to one a bit further away that has a more structured program.

#15 IkeaAddict

Posted 15 July 2015 - 02:13 PM

Play based learning is becoming increasingly important in preschools and day cares. Our daycare director recently attended a few conferences overseas and they have been using play based learning a lot longer than Australia has and have seen exceptional results from it. Kids kid enough structured learning once they start formal schooling

#16 libbylu

Posted 15 July 2015 - 02:17 PM

Play based learning is what research recommends is best for children of pre-school age.  Good educators will create learning opportunities through play.

#17 MakesMeHappy

Posted 15 July 2015 - 02:34 PM

My DS did kinder (council run) last year in vic. They did a lot of play based learning but also had a letter a week, were taught colours, shapes, were encouraged and taught to write their name, encouraged to write/copy words, taught counting and number recognition. I'm sure there was more but that is all I can think of at the moment. They also had mat time for reading and singing.

All of the above was encouraged but if the child didn't want to do it they were not pushed.

It was a fantastic kinder! I had assumed this is the way most kinder's operated.

#18 Veritas Vinum Arte

Posted 15 July 2015 - 02:53 PM

Our kinder would introduce the letter of the week in the second half of the year.

Mostly it was play based learning.

Colours/shapes etc are taught tgroght play based learning.... Like the artwork painting has different shapes to use/colours to use and the teachers informally sit down with the kids doing that activity.

#19 Beancat

Posted 15 July 2015 - 03:21 PM


We are in the council next to yours, Macedon Ranges Shire council

My son attended the local council kinder and it was pretty good.  They did a lot of play based learning and it was structured around two themes per term.  The room was set up to represent the theme. Some themes were home, jobs, farms, hospitals and volcanoes/dinosaurs

They also did inquiry learning and some rote learning of numbers and letters.  They did a letter of the week.  By the end of kinder DS could recognise all of the letters and numerals, read some basic words and count to about 50.  They also did structured group activities like daily yoga, singing, stories and show and tell

they also did activities based around particular times of the year, ie like cooking ANZAC biscuits, making Christmas decorations, football grandfinal day, etc

Overall I was pretty happy with it and intend to send my 2nd and 3rd children there

#20 Let-it-go

Posted 15 July 2015 - 03:43 PM

OP - I think I know what you are saying, I had the same experience at our govt kindy last year with DD.  I was all for play based learning and still am but I do believe structure and the play based learning needs to have an outcome, which it did at the nursery school she attended.  So for example they would have a topic of Bees for the week (this is at the nursery school).  They would look at a bee hive, read bee books, make bee craft, pretend to buzz like bees, look at honey.....then she would tell me for weeks about bees and how they make honey and nectar and fly from flower to flower etc.  I thought that was awesome.  There were loads of examples where she would say things like - look, that's the earth and that's Australia.  Stuff that I hadn't taught her.

Her year at kindy.....nothing, zilch, not one thing came out her mouth that she was taught.  They played totally unstructured, free play with no purpose all day bar some mat time.  Apparently Mums and Dads in the cubby was what she did for 6hrs a day.  There would be puzzles, play doh, buckets of water etc all laid out so I assumed she was being moved through the activities but when I became suspicious and I quizzed her, she didn't want to do them so didn't.  She hardly brought home any art and craft (and this is a craft mad girl).

I have since asked around about other govt kindys and I did get a bad one by the sounds of it.  I am not sending DS there and am sending him to an ELC for 18mths instead.  I get that they are fine once they get to school, but their little minds are sponges at this age and it annoyed me that this year and opportunity was wasted with DD.

So I can understand that you don't necessarily want them to be doing long division but they should also be learning, be it play based.  DD made some lovely friends at her kindy and gained some confidence but that was it and I was disappointed - I think she could have gained so much more.

#21 Let-it-go

Posted 15 July 2015 - 03:47 PM

Can I just say that II think there is a massive difference between "Play Based Learning" and unstructured free play.  Massive.  Free play definitely has its place at a kindy but not as the major activity of the day imho.

So OP, if you are thinking all they do is unstructured free play, then no I don't think it is good enough.

#22 Tinky Winky Woo

Posted 15 July 2015 - 03:54 PM

Our school has the preschool attached and is a pilot school.  So basically the preschool is teaching the alphabet, writing names, and numbers.

They do still do some play learning but they do it in a more structured way - not just a free play kind of thing.  A record is kept of who has done which activity during the week and there names will be placed on a table with a different activity.  The kids find their names and know they must complete that activity before moving to another.  They also do group times a few times a day where books are read, songs, sight words and news are done.

The preschooler's also visit the primary to see how things work there as well.

#23 EsmeLennox

Posted 15 July 2015 - 04:06 PM

View PostLilymoon, on 15 July 2015 - 03:33 PM, said:

Seriously my DD doesn't learn a thing just play based.

If I had my way kids would be taught heaps in kinder but it's not the Aussie way!

My mum craps on about the Finish system where they don't learn to read until 7..!

OMG! They don't learn to read until 7? The horror!

Considering the Finnish system is consistently ranked in the world's top 10 educational systems (more often than not they are in the top 5), it doesn't seem to be working out too badly for them.

This is a good article about the impact of school starting age and play-based learning:


Edited by EsmeLennox, 15 July 2015 - 04:11 PM.

#24 Julie3Girls

Posted 15 July 2015 - 04:07 PM

I definitely think there is a middle ground.

Play to learn is a great way to go, but there still needs to be a program, a structure to it.
All free play with no real structure behind it .. That I would have a problem with.

Free choice of activities .. Great. But it needs to varied, the activities need to be aimed to meet the early years learning framework.
One year when one of my girls was in preschool, they did a "world tour". Every week was themed with a different country, (with a few special occasion weeks for other stuff).  The arts and crafts tables would be themed to it, the book during story time. Group activities, like cooking (eg they did sushi one week) or using cardboard boxes to build a big red bus and doing a tour of London :) The kids had a booklet that was their passport, so each week they would colour in a flag and stick it in their book with stamps etc.
I was astounded with the amount of general knowledge my dad picked up that year in preschool. It was fantastic.

The alphabet, the maths .. They were exposed to all that through play.  Jigsaw puzzles with the alphabet, or a clock, books, singing often has songs about the alphabet etc. cooking is a great way to bring in measuring and maths - how many eggs do you need for the pikelets. Counting the number of chicks that had hatched, how many black one, how many yellow, how many eggs left to hatch. Counting the number of hops as they hopped through them, playing what's the time mr wolf (counting steps)

A preschool that was sitting kids down and specifically teaching letters and basic maths - no thank you, enough of that when they hit school. Also, when my kids have been interested in that sort of thing at preschool age, we did it at home.

#25 Nobodyelse

Posted 15 July 2015 - 04:13 PM

My DS;s kinder is play based. I think most are. They do have more group time than you mention. They have topics that is decided on based on what the teacher has witnessed the children developing an interest in. They did several weeks on Greek methodology which they all loved.

But there is no formal learning.

DS knows his numbers up to 20 and his alphabet and has for a few years. He has started to show an interest in phonetics. But that is all natural curiosity rather than anyone deciding he needed to learn it.

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Top 5 Viewed Articles

Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.