In Tasmania (Tas.), 'Kindergarten' is the term used for educational programs provided to children in the year before full-time schooling (i.e. Year 1 minus 2 years) which is referred to within this manual as 'preschool'. 'Preparatory' is the term used for a child’s first year of full-time school (i.e. pre-Year 1 year). Preschool programs are offered to children who are a minimum age of 4 years 0 months as at 1 January of the reference year. Exceptions may be granted for gifted children (who must be at least 3 years and 6 months of age as at 1 January of the reference year) or where children were previously enrolled in a preschool in another state or territory.
LEGISLATION AND LICENSING
In Tas., a service provider can only be recognised as offering a preschool program if it is registered as a school. Preschool education provided by government and non-government schools in Tas. is covered under the Education Act 1994 (Tas.) and associated Education Regulations 2005 (Tas.). Under the Education Act, preschool programs provided in government schools are regulated by the Tas. Department of Education (Tas. DoE). Non-government schools and LDCs registered as a school are regulated by the Schools Registration Board. LDCs not registered as a school are not officially recognised as a preschool by the Tas. DoE. These LDCs delivering a preschool program are regulated under the Child Care Act 2001 (Tas.).
As preschools in Tas. are registered or delivered as part of the school system (including preschool provided in LDCs registered as a school), all teachers are required to be qualified and registered. Most preschool teachers in Tas. are trained in early childhood education as a part of their degree, but this is not mandatory.
All teachers in Tas. must be registered by the Tas. Teacher Registration Board. As a result of the registration process, some long-term teachers have Certifications of Teaching or 3 year degrees. The registration process requires all teachers to demonstrate, through teaching experience, that they meet the criterion for an equivalent 4 year degree standard. If a teacher meets this criterion, they are deemed to have a 4 year teaching qualification for registration purposes. Teachers within LDCs are not required to be registered by the Tas. Teacher Registration Board.
Service providers in Tas. that offer a preschool program as their main type of activity have the following management arrangements.
Government preschools in Tas. are delivered, funded and staffed by the Tas. DoE. All government preschools are integrated with a primary or district high school and are normally located on the same campus. The preschool curriculum is part of the school curriculum.
Independent schools: Registered non-government schools with a primary school component that provide preschool programs within their school curriculum. These service providers receive some funding from Tas. DoE.
Catholic schools: Catholic schools with a primary school component that provide preschool programs within their school curriculum. These service providers receive some funding from Tas. DoE.
Long Day Care
Service providers in Tas. that offer a LDC as their main type of activity and may also offer and deliver preschool programs have the following management arrangements.
Long Day Care with a Preschool Program
While Tas. has a number of LDC providers, only one service provider is currently recognised by Tas. DoE as being able to offer a preschool program. This LDC is regulated under the Education Act, is registered with the Schools Registration Board, and is therefore registered as a school for the purposes of providing a preschool program. This LDC did not deliver a preschool program in Tas. in 2011.
There are a number of other LDCs in Tas. that offer preschool programs as defined by the National ECEC Collection, however these services are not registered with Tas. DoE and are therefore not recognised by Tas. DoE as delivering a preschool program.