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Melbourne Kindergarten Will Consider Saturday Kindergarten To Meet Surging Demand

The Victorian government’s expanded free kinder program has created an overwhelming demand, prompting some centres in Melbourne to explore the option of Saturday programs. 

At least four centres in the City of Glen Eira are planning to trial Saturday kindergarten for three- and four-year-olds next year to accommodate the influx of children needing kindergarten places.

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While some parents have expressed concerns about sacrificing family time on weekends, others see it as a beneficial option, especially for shift workers. 

Glen Education acting chief executive officer Melissa MacMaster told The Sydney Morning Herald that the small facilities could not be expanded instantly, leading them to innovate to meet the demand.

“We can’t change the structure of our building at a moment’s notice,” Ms MacMaster said.

“We don’t want to reduce the number of children…so we’ve had to be innovative with how we can make this work.”

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Last year, Victoria became the first state in Australia to offer two years of funded kindergarten before school. 

The surge in demand has put pressure on some providers, leaving parents at risk of being turned away due to limited capacity.

While Saturday placements may disappoint some parents, Ms MacMaster also finds some interest from staff and parents who work weekends to cope with rising cost-of-living pressures. 

The kindergartens in Bentleigh, Bentleigh East, Carnegie, and Centre Road are tentatively planning to offer Saturday kinder programs from 8:30am to 4pm, with confirmation expected in the coming weeks.

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