How Much Does It Cost to Send My Child to a Sparkways Early Learning Centre?
Fees between services can vary depending on the programs they offer, the age of your child and the cost of operating the service.
As a not-for-profit organisation, we are committed to providing a high-quality service and education to all children while keeping our fees as low as possible.
Our top priority is always to our families and our community, which is why we are constantly reinvesting every dollar into improving our early learning programs and services.
Begin the Adventure at Sparkways today!
Due to a recent initiative by the Victorian Government, funded kindergarten programs for 4-year-old and eligible 3-year-old Victorian children will be free in 2021.
This means that all of our 4-year-old kindergarten programs are free, saving families up to $2000 in fees over the 2021 kinder year. And families enrolled in our 3-year-old kindergarten program can expect to see a $1600 reduction in fees.
For more information about the Free Kinder initiative and how this affects your family, please feel free to get in touch with your chosen kindergarten service or visit the Department of Education and Training’s website.
How does Free Kinder affect Sparkways Early Learning?
As part of this initiative, Sparkways has reduced its parent fees for 2021, with applicable parent fees outlined below:
- Funded sessional kindergarten for 4-year-old children (15 hours per week) - no parent fee
- Kindergarten in long day care for 4-year-old children – parent fee will be reduced by a $2000 offset
- Unfunded sessional kindergarten for 3-year-old children – parent fee will be reduced by a $1600 offset (which will be prorated for less than five hours)
Sparkways Early Learning will reimburse families in full for any deposit or fee payments that have already been made for 2021 within a reasonable timeframe (excluding any voluntary parent donations/payments that you agree to in writing.)
How do I access funding for Free Kinder?
Payments will be made directly to Sparkways Early Learning, with savings passed onto families through reduced fees.
Fee reductions will be made proportionally across the year to families’ bills, i.e. fortnightly or monthly. Only children receiving a funded kindergarten place at Sparkways Early Learning service led by a qualified teacher, are eligible under this initiative
Will Free Kinder affect childcare fees?
Parent fees will be reduced by a $2,000 offset.
This is processed on a fortnightly basis with a Free Kinder credit applied to each eligible account.
Families enrolled in a Sparkways Early Learning service will be billed on a fortnightly basis, and are expected to pay two weeks in advance.
This process is set up through our payment gateway Debit Success with payments being deducted from the Parent’s or Guardian’s nominated Bank Account or Credit Card (Mastercard or Visa) every fortnight.
On 2 July 2018 the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) replaced the Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate. The Child Care Subsidy is paid directly to services.
Three things determine a family’s level of Child Care Subsidy:
- the combined family income
- the fortnightly family activity level – how much your family works, undertakes recognised learning, training, studying or volunteers
- the fees charged by the early learning and care service.
The Child Care Subsidy is paid to Sparkways Early Learning and is passed on to families as a fee reduction. Families pay the gap between the fee charged and the subsidised amount.
- If an account is overdue by eight days without prior notice, a late payment fee of $22 (inc GST) will be charged. When the account is overdue for 9-15 days, families will be contacted by Sparkways to verbally request payment.
- If an account is outstanding for more than 15 days, the family will receive an account statement calling for immediate payment of arrears.
- If an account is overdue by 31 days and the family has not made suitable payment arrangements the child’s place at the service will be forfeited, until the account has been settled. Non-settled debts will be put out to debt collection.
- Under exceptional circumstances, the above can be waived with approval from the Finance Manager or General Manager for Early Learning.
Early Start Kindergarten is a funding program that enables three-year-old Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, and children known to Child Protection to attend a kindergarten program that is planned and delivered by an early childhood teacher for up to 15 hours per week.
Your child is eligible for 15 hours of free kindergarten for two years under the Early Start Kindergarten program if they:
- Are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
- Are known to Child Protection
- Are from a refugee or asylum seeker background
Children who have used Early Start Kindergarten or are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander can access free or low cost Four-Year-Old Kindergarten through the Early Start Kindergarten Extension Grant.
Families experiencing additional stresses, including financial hardship are encouraged to talk to our customer service team who can support the setup of a payment plan with Sparkways that is designed to clear debts while maintaining regular payments for ongoing kindergarten and ELC services.
The Privacy and Confidentiality Policy of the service will be complied with at all times in relation to a family’s financial/personal circumstances.
Begin the Adventure at Sparkways today!