If your child attends a kindergarten that is funded by the Victorian Government, a Preschool Field Officer (PSFO) can help support them. PSFOs help children with additional needs access and participate in their kindergarten program.
Help is available before your child starts kindergarten, as well as during your child's time at kindergarten.
Support PSFOs provide
A PSFO can provide a range of support, including:
- discussions about your child's learning and development
- kindergarten program strategies and resources
- educator mentoring
- identifying where to get additional support.
PSFOs use a locally responsive approach that includes consultative support, resourcing and practical advice to assist kindergarten teachers.
Their role also assists kindergartens to link families into supports and services available for children with developmental concerns and broader child and family supports.
There is no cost to the kindergarten program or families for the PSFO service.
Children covered under PSFO program
The PSFO program defines children with additional needs as children in a funded kindergarten program presenting with developmental concerns.
Developmental concerns may be associated with any area of a children’s development, from language delay or challenging behaviours through to multiple disabilities.
How to get support
Before your child attends kindergarten
If you feel your child needs some support the year before they attend kindergarten, please complete a Starting Kindergarten PSFO Referral form. The main timeframe to get support is between October to December the year before kindergarten.
Please submit the form to us:
While your child is at kindergarten
We provide support for children who are currently attending a kindergarten program. Find below how you can request help and what we can do for your child.
1. Talk to the teacher
If you are concerned about your child's development, the first step is to have a discussion with your child's kindergarten teacher. The teacher can provide advice and may encourage you to seek support from a PSFO.
2. Request help from a PSFO
To request help from a PSFO, you and your child's kindergarten teacher must submit a PSFO Support Request form.
The PSFO will contact you after receiving your referral to arrange a phone consultation.
3. Arrange a phone consultation
Due to COVID-19, PSFO's are currently holding phone consultations. A PSFO will arrange a phone consultation with you at a suitable time.
During this consultation, they will:
- discuss your child's capabilities
- discuss your child's learning and development needs
- record appropriate information to provide to your child's kindergarten teacher.
4. Hold a meeting
Your PSFO will hold a meeting with your family and your child's kindergarten teacher. During this meeting, everyone can share knowledge and strategies about your child.
5. Make a referral
Based on the previous sessions, your PSFO will recommend pathways for additional support services.
Second year of kindergarten
If the kindergarten teacher observes your child demonstrating development and learning delays in at least 2 key outcome areas, your child may be eligible for a second year of kindergarten.
If your child is eligible for a second year of kindergarten, it is important to discuss your options with your PSFO and kindergarten teacher.
Your PSFO and kindergarten teacher is available to support you in your decision of whether your child may benefit from a second year of kindergarten.
The Victorian Department of Education and Training's has more information about eligibility for a second year of kindergarten.