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Retention of the 3 day a week class at KU Cheltenham

This petition had 125 supporters

KU Cheltenham Memorial Preschool has traditionally offered preschool aged children a quality preschool program under a two-day / three-day a week class structure.  This structure provides students with a consistent classroom environment on consecutive days to prepare them for their years ahead at school.  Children have a consistent group of classmates who they form strong bonds with, many of whom they will remain classmates with throughout their school years.

KU is now proposing to implement a different model only offering two days per week starting in 2019. Under this model, the third day offering will be removed. Children will attend two days, however there will be a lack of consistency in the classroom environment. Some will attend on non-consecutive days, for example Monday and Wednesday. There will be no consistency of classes, such that the children in your class will be different on the two days they attend. This model more closely resembles that of a day care environment than a classroom environment.

KU have indicated to parents that this is as a result of the State Government’s Start Strong funding, which provides funding for all children in the year before school who attend at least 15 hours of preschool education per week. The more children that attend for these two days, the more funding KU will receive. However, this will clearly come at the cost of the quality of program offered and will erode the benefits to those children in preparing them for the classroom environment.

The Start Strong program does not govern how preschools structure their days. It is up to pre-schools to determine their structure and then allocate children to spots in accordance with the Priority of Access Guidelines. All of the other local preschools are maintaining their two-day / three-day a week structure and children in these preschools will continue to benefit from the consistent classroom environment. This indicates that not only is KU not obliged to change their structure to meet the Start Strong program requirements, but that they are failing to recognise that our local community would prefer quality over lower fees (if in fact the funding does result in lower fees). The lack of consultation with prospective parents in the community, and continuing with a structure that does not meet the wants and needs of our parents will no doubt lead to children attending preschool elsewhere, at the cost of the wonderful preschool we all know and love.

Further guidance on the Start Strong Program can be found here

We are requesting that KU Head Office maintains the current quality program offered at KU Cheltenham ahead of a structure designed to increase access to funding. Please sign this petition if you support the retention of the quality three day program currently offered at KU Cheltenham. This affects anyone who has a child on the waitlist for the next several years at KU Cheltenham. If parents do not object to this, the two-day program will be implemented unchallenged.

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