Children normally attend kindergarten from the age of three. However, some kindergartens accept younger children. Parents will usually drop children off at kindergarten and not always stay.
Most kindergartens follow school terms and while some kindergartens run morning and afternoon sessions, many are now full day sessions to fit more with the school day or parents' working hours. Families may be offered a choice as to whether their children stay for a whole session or are picked up before lunch.
Most kindergartens have some structure to sessions including eating times and mat time.
Traditionally kindergartens under the state system offered free ECE but regional associations today can charge fees. The fees in general are usually quite low.
The teachers working in public kindergartens come under the State Sector Act for wages and conditions of work.
Parents can be involved in fundraising and committee work for their kindergarten but kindergarten finances and operating decisions are generally made higher up at the regional Association level.
Some Kindergarten Associations also operate childcare centres and home-based ECE schemes to generate more revenue and have become registered companies.
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