Friday, 19 September 2008

Early Education

So here in my area of the States preschools are private, often expensive, competitive, and hard to get in to. Most places recommend applying for a spot a whole year before your child would start. Kids usually start preschool the September after they turn 3 years old. My little on will be turning 3 in December, just one month before we relocate to New Zealand.

In New Zealand, preschools (often called Kindergartens or simply Kindy) are also private. The big difference is that the government now pays for 20 hours a week of early education for 3 and 4 year olds. This has apparently led to more kids enrolled, and fewer spaces free in qualifying centres. Knowing this, and being accustomed to the year-in-advance registration rule here, I've worried that little Nys won't have a spot in a preschool when we get there. And she is SO ready for preschool, seeing her big sis Bic go off to school every day is so sad for her.

So I've started emailing preschools in the areas we're looking at in Hawkes Bay. It seems like we won't have too much of a problem. Two of the Kindergarten associations I've contacted - Napier Kindergarten Association and the Heretaunga Kindergarten Association - have wait lists for their many centres, but the list order is based on the age of the child, not how long the name as been on the list. The oldest child on the list when a spot opens up gets the spot. And spots open up all the time, because as I explained previously, children move on up to real school when they turn five, be it at the beginning of the year, the middle, or near the end. There's no problem in waiting, then, till we arrive and visit a few of the centres before putting her name on the waiting list, because the term begins at the end of January, and she'll get a spot when she's the oldest on the list.

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