Kindergarten is an education program offered at either a stand-alone kindergarten, a long day care (childcare centre) or an independent school. Kindergarten programs are taught by qualified early childhood teachers.
From 2022, children can attend a kindergarten program in the 2 years before they start primary school. Most kindergartens deliver their 3-year-old and 4-year-old programs during the 4 school terms and usually run over 40 weeks. Some kindergartens in long day care may offer programs throughout the year.
Kindergarten (sometimes called 'preschool', especially in other states in Australia), is an important step for young children as it can support a smooth transition to primary school. Kindergarten also enhances children’s health and well-being and helps them to develop social skills and other important skills for life.
Two years are better than one. Taking part in a quality kindergarten program at an earlier age boosts children’s learning, development, health and wellbeing outcomes. It has even more benefits for children who need extra support or are in vulnerable circumstances.
Attending kindergarten has many benefits. Find out why kindergarten is strongly recommended.
In line with the school starting age in Victoria, children born between January and April can start school at four years of age. This will mean that some children will be two years old when their Three-Year-Old Kindergarten year starts.
If you are enrolling your child in 2 years of kindergarten before starting school, your child must be 3 years of age on or before 30 April to attend 3-year-old kindergarten in that year. Most kindergartens will require your child to be 3 years of age before they start attending kindergarten.
If you choose to only enrol your child in 4-year-old kindergarten, it is best that they attend the year before they start school.
Some children have a choice about what year to start kindergarten
If your child's birthday falls between 1 January and 30 April, you have a choice about whether they start school the year they turn 5 or the year they turn 6. If they start the year they turn 5 they may be younger than many other children in their class.
We have developed a kindergarten dates calculator to help you figure out your options and add important enrolment dates to your calendar.
How do you know your child is ready for kindergarten?
It can be difficult to know when your child is ready because children develop and learn in different ways. Talk to your Maternal and Child Health nurse or a qualified early years teacher to help you decide. Kindergarten open days also provide a great opportunity to talk things through with an experienced professional.
The Victorian Department of Education and Training (DET) has resources to help you decide when to start kindergarten.
Some families may work part-time or combine childcare or help from grandparents if they live nearby, in order to attend a stand-alone kindergarten.
Attending a long day care centre that also provides a kindergarten program may suit your family better or you may opt for an independent school kindergarten, depending on your family and your circumstances.
If your child attends both a sessional kindergarten, and a long day care centre, the Victorian Government will only provide funding for kindergarten at one of these centres. Families should discuss this with their long day care centre when enrolling their child.
Many sessional kindergarten enrolments are conditional upon receiving funding from the Victorian Government to secure a place.
Some kindergarten programs are taught in purpose-built centres. Children attend programs at set days and hours. These are known as 'sessional' or 'stand-alone' kindergartens. The sessions are usually shorter than a business day and run two, three or four days per week. Many of these kindergartens are managed by volunteer parent committees.
Most stand-alone kindergartens in Boroondara are part of the Boroondara Kindergarten Central Enrolment Scheme which is administered by Council.
Kindergarten in long day care (childcare centre)
Long day care centres offer childcare for children from 0 to 6. Most also offer kindergarten programs that children can attend as part of their time at care that are taught by early childhood teachers. Hours of care vary across centres, but most offer 40 hours per week.
Kindergarten in an independent school
Some independent schools offer kindergarten programs. Some of these schools offer 'K-12', meaning they provide schooling from kindergarten through to year 12. They sometimes refer to their kindergartens as Early Learning Centres or ELCs.
Look for the Kinder Tick
The Victorian Government is making it easier for families to find funded and approved kindergarten programs. For kindergartens you can count on, just look for the Kinder Tick. The Kinder Tick helps Victorian families find a funded kindergarten program for their children.
When you see the Kinder Tick, you can be confident:
- the program will be led by a qualified teacher
- children will benefit from play-based learning
- the kindergarten program is funded and approved by the Victorian Government
- the program meets government guidelines and complies with the National Quality Framework.
Find out more about the Kinder Tick.
Find a kindergarten
Type an address and select from the drop down menu.
Kindergarten fees and funding
The government provides funding directly to kindergartens to keep fees low.
Early Start Kindergarten grants are available to help eligible children attend programs for free or at a reduced cost.
Learn more about kindergarten fees and subsidies.
Under the Victorian Government's 'No Jab, No play’ legislation, children must present an up-to-date Immunisation History Statement (IHS) when they enrol in kindergarten, childcare or school. Learn how to access your child's Immunisation History Statements.
Use our immunisation dates calculator to see when your child is due for scheduled immunisations and add those dates to your calendar.
Quality and safety
Kindergartens and childcare services are regulated and assessed under the National Quality Framework to ensure they meet quality and safety standards, and work to improve outcomes for children.
Find out more about the regulation of kindergartens in Victoria.