What kindergarten can provide
What is kindergarten?
In Victoria, 4-year-old kindergarten, sometimes called preschool, is a year of play-based learning before a child starts school.
Children attend kindergarten for 15 hours a week. It is not compulsory, but almost 98% of Victorian 4-year-olds attend.
Kindergartens are managed by volunteer committees, not-for-profit early years managers and private organisations. State-funded kindergartens also operate in some long day care centres.
Why should your child go to kindergarten?
Children develop and learn much faster in their first five years of life than at any other age.
Given it is such an important time in a child’s life, kindergarten provides a great opportunity to learn from qualified kindergarten educators and to socialise with other children and adults.
Kindergarten helps children:
- Develop intellectually, physically and emotionally
- Build confidence and social skills
- Develop independence, self-awareness and self-confidence, and
- Develop caring relationships with adults and friendships with other children.
Like schools, kindergartens have a curriculum or learning framework which is designed to help children learn and develop.
Choosing a kindergarten
You can visit a kindergarten to meet staff and see if the centre meets your needs. Please enquire with individual kindergartens.
Kindergarten Open Days were scheduled for March, however many have been cancelled due to precautions regarding Covid-19. Please contact kindergartens directly if you wish to visit.
Kindergarten funding and fees
The Victorian Government provides funding to contribute to the cost of running 4-year-old kindergarten and to keep fees as low as possible.
Kindergarten fees vary, as does the amount each family is required to pay.
You will need to pay kindergarten fees unless you hold a fee subsidy card like a Health Care Card.
Three-year-old kindergarten programs are not government funded.
Access to funded kindergarten
All children can have one year of 4-year-old funded kindergarten.
A second year can only be applied for if there are concerns about a child’s development and this requires assessment by the kindergarten teacher. Please consider your child’s age and development when choosing when to start 4-year-old kindergarten.
Each child can only attend one government-funded kindergarten program, whether at a kindergarten or long day care centre.
Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children can start 4-year-old kindergarten a year early.
This scheme is known as Early Start Kindergarten, and the child can attend for two years.
In their first year, when they are three years old, children can attend for the full 15 hours, or less if you choose.
Early Start Kindergarten is also available to children whose families have been assisted by child protection or Child FIRST.
For more information phone 9240 2271 or email kindergarten enrolment.
Support in kindergarten
If your child needs support in kindergarten, please call 9240 1111 and ask to speak to a Preschool Field Officer, or complete the Preschool Field Officer Referral Form (PDF 490Kb).
Submit the completed form to Council by:
- emailing Council Children's Services
- posting to Locked Bag 10, Merri-bek 3058, or
- visiting a Council Customer Service Centre
Record of immunisation
Children need to be immunised or be exempt from immunisations before they can be enrolled in kindergarten.
Before kindergarten enrolment can be completed you must provide a copy of the Immunisation Schedule to the kindergarten to show that your child is:
- fully immunised for their age, or
- on a vaccination catch-up program, or
- unable to be fully immunised for medical reasons.
For more information call 1300 882 008 or visit Victorian Government No Jab, No Play.