There are 3 types of kindergarten to consider depending on your family and your circumstances.
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 2 to 4 days per week. Many of these kindergartens are managed by volunteer parent committees.
Many sessional kindergarten enrolments are conditional upon receiving funding from the Victorian Government to secure a place.
Kindergarten in long day care (childcare centre)
Long day care centres offer childcare for children from 0 to 6 years old. 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.
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.
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. The Kinder Tick helps Victorian families find a funded kindergarten program for their children.
When you see the Kinder Tick:
- 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.
You can find out more about the Kinder Tick on the Victorian Government website.
You can see a map of kindergarten programs that have the Kinder Tick using the Find a Kinder map tool.
Visiting a kindergarten will tell you a lot about the atmosphere, activities and facilities. It will also give you an idea of how the staff interact with you and your child. This may help you decide whether the kindergarten is a good fit for your child.
If your child already goes to a child care centre, they may run information sessions for parents about their kindergarten programs.
Most kindergartens welcome enquiries throughout the year and can arrange a time for you to visit. Member kindergartens of the Boroondara Kindergarten Central Enrolment Scheme hold open days each year in May. You can also contact member kindergartens directly to arrange a time to visit. Visit Member kindergartens to find their contact details.
Find more information about choosing a kindergarten from the Victorian Government website.