The Federal Government has announced an Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package, providing access to free childcare from Monday 6 April through to the end of the 2019/2020 financial year.
Based on clear government directives and advice, there is minimal risk to children going to school or childcare.
You can read more below about YMCA Children’s Programs:
EARLY LEARNING CENTRES
Our Early Learning Centres remain open to existing and newly enrolled families.
When can we start using free childcare?
All families enrolled at Early Learning Centres, School Holiday Programs or OSHC can access free childcare from Monday 6 April 2020.
How do I get free care?
Depending on your circumstances, there are now a number of options to consider. If you are:
Currently enrolled and attending: From Monday 6 April, you will not be charged for child care. You may like to add additional days depending on availability. Please note that prioritised access will be given to children of essential workers, vulnerable and disadvantaged children and previously enrolled children.
Currently using absent days: From Monday 6 April, you will no longer be required to pay the gap. There are 62 absent days available this financial year (42 standard absent days + 20 additional days for COVID-19 specific related circumstances). Families will be able to access the 20 additional days if a child is ill, quarantined or unable to attend childcare due to coronavirus (COVID-19), and without the medical evidence usually required.
In relation to any further absence days (after the 62 days absence allowance period) the Government's advice is unclear at this stage so we will provide further information once we it becomes available.
Please be aware that any absent days used prior to Monday 6 April will not be covered by this relief package.
Currently within your two week cancellation notice period: You can contact your centre directly to either re-instate your enrolment or move your status to absent. This will allow you to keep your place even if your child doesn’t attend.
What if I cancelled my child’s enrolment prior to this time?
If you’ve recently cancelled (between 17 February and 5 April) we encourage you re-enrol. You can coose whether to attend or not – either way this will ensure you keep your place at the centre and you will also be able to claim absent days at no charge.
Re-starting your enrolment will not require you to send your child to childcare and it certainly won’t require you to pay the gap fee.
What happens after 30 June 2020?
We will continue monitoring government announcements and update families as new information is released.
Are all families eligible for the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package even if parents are working / working from home / not working?
Yes. Everyone is eligible regardless of their working situation.
Can I book extra days of care?
Yes, depending on availability. Please contact your relevant centre to book. Please note that prioritised access will be given to children of essential workers, vulnerable and disadvantaged children and previously enrolled children.
How does this impact ‘absent’ days?
Families who choose to maintain their child’s enrolment yet keep them home during this time are still eligible for the funding support.
You will not be charged for the gap on these days.
If I exceed my absent day allowance 42 + 20 (additional days for COVID-19 specific related circumstances) between now and the end of June will I get charged for the extra absent days?
As per the Government announcement, families have access to 62 days absent days until 30 June 2020. These do not include absent days that have been used prior to this period.
Families will be able to access additional days where a child is ill, quarantined or unable to attend childcare due to coronavirus (COVID-19) and without the medical evidence usually required.
The Government's advice is unclear at this stage and we will provide further information once we have some clarity.
What are you doing to ensure it’s safe for my child to attend?
While we already had strict hygiene practices and cleaning standards in place, as a precaution, we have introduced a number of additional measures to reduce the risk and support a safe environment.
The Victorian Government has announced it will allocate up to $45 million in extra funding to sessional kindergarten providers.
This means you can now access up to 15 hours a week of four-year-old kindergarten programs for free in Term 2.
The funding is intended to help local kindergarten services remain financially viable during this challenging period, ensuring your child has ongoing access to this formative foundation year.
Having this service available for families to attend is important, especially for essential workers and families who are experiencing hardship.
OUTSIDE OF SCHOOL HOURS CARE (OSHC)
We are waiting for clarity from the Government on whether schools will reopen after the Easter Break for Term 2.
Before and after school program operations will be confirmed as soon as we know which locations are conducting classes.
Find out more about our OSHC services.
CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) ADDITIONAL HYGIENE PRACTICES
The following are being implemented across the YMCA Early Learning Centres, School Holiday Programs and Before and After School Programs:
- sanitising all surfaces and frequent touch points every 30 minutes
- providing sanitiser at all entry points of centres
- displaying guidelines for hand washing, social distancing and risk minimisation measures
- staff have completed the accredited Department of Health COVID-19 infection control training course
- distributing eWater cleaning solutions to families where it’s available
- replacing all scheduled incursions and excursions with in-house activities
- reinforcing to staff the importance of monitoring their own health and are advising that if they feel unwell or are showing signs of illness they must remain at home
- all staff and children must wash their hands upon entry and each site will have an increased amount of sanitizer available
- children are washing their hands hourly, as well as after toileting, before food and when coming inside
- children are not be permitted to play with clay or play doh
- professional cleaning is being undertaken in our centres every night.
Social distancing practices
- Children are separated between indoor and outdoor spaces to ensure that there is enough space between each child.
- All centres have cancelled ‘mat time’ until further notice.
- For parents and guardians - parents / guardians are not permitted past centre reception with sign in and sign out taking place at the entrance.
- Centre staff are completing the sign in/out process to minimise touch points for parents / guardians.
- No visitors permitted in centre.