How Kindergarten Schools Should Respond to Covid19 Pandemic

21 October 2020

The early childhood education and care sector (ECEC), along with the rest of the community, is experiencing the impacts of the COVID-19 virus and the significant challenges it poses to the families, early childhood educators and providers of early childhood education and care services.

Early Childhood Australia (ECA) is advocating to the government, on behalf of the ECEC sector, and our plan is to identify information useful to early learning services, as you navigate these challenging circumstances and review your contingency plans. Here is how kindergarten schools should respond to COVID-19 pandemic.

Early Education Restrictions

Under the Stage 4 lockdown, early childhood education and care services (including kindergartens) will cease normal operations from 6 August 2020. From this date, services may provide sessions of education and care for two categories of children only: the children of ‘permitted workers’ and ‘vulnerable‘ children.

Children of Permitted Workers

Permitted workers are able to access onsite childcare and kindergarten if there is no one else in their household who is able to supervise the children. It is up to families to make this assessment about their eligibility. Early childhood education and care services have no independent way of verifying which families are eligible for sessions of care.

The Victorian Department of Education and Training provides further detail on permitted workers’ eligibility. The Department notes that: if there is another carer in the household, permitted workers can still access onsite childcare if the other parent/carer cannot supervise the child/ren. Both carers do not have to be permitted workers to access early education and care – but the Government is asking that families only use services if they have to.

Vulnerable Children

The Victorian Government provides the following examples: ‘children in out of home care or known to child protection, medically/socially vulnerable children, Koori children’. The Victorian Department of Education and Training advises that vulnerable children are those residing in the care of the State or in out-of-home care; or deemed vulnerable by a government agency, funded family or family violence service, and assessed as requiring education and care outside the family home.

Lastly, they qualify if they are identified by a school/service as vulnerable, including where the vulnerability is the result of severe family stress including via referral from a government agency, or funded family or family violence service, homeless or youth justice service or mental health or other health service.

‘Learning From Home’ for Children in Lockdown?

The Victorian Department of Education and Training is encouraging services in the Stage 4 lockdown zone to ‘make reasonable efforts to engage with families and support learning from home, in line with the families’ individual circumstances and resources’. The Department has a website with advice and resources for supporting learning from home for young children.


Early Childhood Australia. (2020, October 02). ECA Response: COVID-19, The Latest Updates: Victoria. Retrieved October 20, 2020, from Early Childhood Australia: