BENDIGO kindergartens are trading out singing and storytime for more outside play to manage the new COVID-19 requirements.
Shine Bright chief executive Suzi Sordan said attendance numbers across the organisation's centres had increased to about 90 per cent capacity in the past few weeks as restrictions eased in the regions.
Less than half of the students were attending classes in the first COVID-19 outbreak.
"We're back to a pretty good attendance - we're pretty equivalent to normal," Ms Sordan said. "The second wave has been very different to the first for a lot of families and staff.
"They were much more at ease. We have been following the requirements and there are various risk mitigation rules in place."
Ms Sordan said those changes included signing in children so families would not need to come on site, increased hand hygiene, and more time spent outdoors.
The Department of Education and Training also banned activities like singing and storytime to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
Ms Sordan said the centres had developed alternatives to storytime - including reading more books outside and having children sitting at tables to ensure social distancing.
Ms Sordan said the staff, students, and families have embraced the changes.
"It's gone surprisingly well," she said. "We will continue to operate as far as we're allowed to. With numbers going down, we're hopeful we can get back to some level of normal.
"If not, we will continue to adjust and accommodate."
While there had been concerns some students would be behind due to the year of on-and-off remote learning, Ms Sordan said there had not been many requests for students to repeat a year of kindergarten.
"We have been open the whole time, even though the attendance has fluctuated," she said. "We have provided remote learning at the same time for those children who weren't coming in.
"So it hasn't been as much of a dramatic disruption as in schools."
The Victorian government subsidised four-year-old sessional kindergarten for families throughout 2020. Ms Sordan said Shine Bright extended that relief to three-year-old classes for most of the year.
She said that could continue in 2021 if the state government extended the funding.
"It will be a case-by-case basis," Ms Sordan said. "We will go to our board and if it's financially viable, then it will be something we intend to do."
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