In South Australia (SA), ‘Preschool’ is the term used for the educational programs provided to children in the year or two before full-time schooling. ‘Reception’ is the term used for a child’s first year of school (i.e. pre-Year 1 year). From 2013, SA is changing from its current rolling enrolments, where children are eligible to commence preschool at the beginning of the school term following their 4th birthday, to a model where children become eligible to enrol in a preschool program at the beginning of the year if they turn four before May 1. In addition, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and children under the Guardianship of the Minister may commence preschool from 3 years of age. This has implications on the preschool cohort in 2013, which is likely to be smaller than 'normal' years due to the removal of rolling enrolments. As a transition year, 2013 will have more children enrolled in the early part of the year and no children enrolled in Terms 3 or 4. In 2014, the transition should be complete and the preschool cohort should be close to normal.
LEGISLATION AND LICENSING
The SA Department for Education and Child Development (SA DECD) licenses, regulates or operates the majority of all child care and preschool centres in SA. The SA DECD licensing and standards unit collects information on child care services via licensing applications. SA DECD maintains a register of all services that it operates or funds, and collects service, worker and child level data from these services through an annual census process.
An independent regulatory authority, the Education and Early Childhood Services Regulation and Standards Board of South Australia, which acts on behalf of SA DECD, applies the following regulations: Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010 (SA), the Education and Care Services National Regulations, Education and Early Childhood Services (Registration and Standards) Act 2011 (SA) and the Education and Early Childhood Services (Registration and Standards) Regulations 2011.
Registration for early childhood education teachers is a requirement for preschool programs delivered in a government, non-government, Independent and Catholic school setting. Registration requirements may not apply for early childhood teachers delivering a preschool program in some LDC centre-based settings.
Service providers in SA that offer a preschool program as their main type of activity have the following management arrangements.
SA DECD manages the majority of preschool programs in SA. There are two models of preschool operations in the government managed sector:
- stand-alone or integrated centre-based programs where the main service activity type is preschool. These preschools are operated under the provisions of the Children's Services Act 1985 (SA).
- school-based programs attached to SA DECD schools.
: Community managed preschools include stand-alone preschools and integrated centre-based programs where the main service activity type is preschool. Non-government community managed providers (not attached to a school) are licensed as child care centres.
: Non-government preschools can be provided through Independent private schools or colleges in SA. Preschools attached to Independent schools frequently incorporate ‘Early Learning Centre’ as part of their name and are subject to the abovementioned Act and Regulations.
: Non-government preschools can be provided through Catholic primary schools or colleges in SA.
Long Day Care
Service providers in SA that offer long day care as their main type of activity and may also offer and deliver a preschool program have the following management arrangements.
Long Day Care with a Preschool Program
:: Private for-profit managed LDCs are those provided by for-profit corporations or entities, where the main service activity type is not preschool but a preschool program is delivered by the service provider.
Private not-for-profit managed LDCs are those provided by not-for-profit corporations or entities, where the main service activity type is not preschool but a preschool program is delivered by the service provider.
: Community managed LDCs include those that are managed by parents, a church or a co-operative where the main service activity type is not preschool but a preschool program is delivered by the service provider. Preschool programs can be managed and delivered in these community-based LDC settings.