MACEDON Ranges Shire Council kindergartens will reopen for term two this week with modifications in place for coronavirus.

Following the State Government’s announcement of free kindergarten for a term, four-year-old kinder will resume on Thursday.

The funding will support programs and jobs within council kindergartens and will ensure children can continue to access education opportunities, especially children of essential workers.

Staff will use pupil-free days today, Tuesday, and Thursday to plan the new program and explore models for delivering learning remotely.

Council chief executive Margot Stork said all kindergartens would reopen. However, it was understood some parents would choose to leave their children at home.

“We’d like to assure parents that we will hold the places for any registered child whether the child attends kindergarten in term two or not,” Ms Stork said.

Due to a decline in attendance of three-year-old kinder last year, the classes will not be resuming in term two.

“Families of registered three-year-old children who would like their children to attend kindergarten should contact the Early Years unit to discuss their needs,” Ms Stork said.

“We may be able to accommodate some of these children within our four-year-old kindergarten programs in term two.”

No students on placements, parent helpers, excursions, incursions, face-to-face meetings with parents will not go ahead until further notice.

Parents are welcome to contact staff via phone should they wish to discuss their child’s progress.

For more information call 5422 0333 or email eyprogramsupport@mrsc.vic.gov.au.

Education Minister James Merlino said the government would provide up to $45 million in extra funding to support sessional kindergarten providers across Victoria, who have seen numbers decline significantly as more and more parents choose the keep their kids at home.

The funding will provide approximately $485 per child for term two for each child enrolled in a funded kindergarten program – allowing providers to continue teaching and caring for Victorian children, including the children of essential workers and vulnerable children, subject to health directions.

As well as helping kindergarten services remain financially viable during this challenging period, the funding will help keep kindergarten teachers and early childhood educators in their jobs.

“We are making sure Victorian children can still go to kinder and get an early childhood education during this difficult period, without parents worrying about fees – this will save jobs, save kinders and save families hundreds of dollars,” he said.

“This funding will mean sessional kindergarten providers stay financially viable, even if enrolments drop as parents decide to keep their children at home because of coronavirus.

“Our kinder teachers and staff are doing an outstanding job ensuring Victorian children continue to get early childhood education during this challenging period – the last thing they should be worried about is losing tteir jobs.”