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Department of Education – About Kindergarten in Victoria

Best Start, Best Life

Kindergarten programs in Victoria

Kindergarten, also known as kinder, is an early education program for young children where they learn through play.

Kindergarten programs are available in standalone (sessional) kindergarten services and long day care centres. No matter where your child goes to kindergarten, teachers and trained educators will lead the program.

In Victoria, Three-Year-Old Kindergarten programs are available 5–15 hours per week, and Four-Year- Old Kindergarten
programs are available 15 hours per week. Over the next decade, these hours will increase as part of the roll-out of Best Start, Best Life reforms.

To find out more, visit: vic.gov.au/sendingchild-kinder

Benefits of 2 years of kindergarten

Two years of quality early childhood education is shown to have more impact than 1 year and can lift children’s outcomes
across all aspects of learning. By the time a child turns 5 years old, around 90 per cent of their brain development has occurred. Between the ages of 3 and 5, children learn important social and emotional skills, such as how to regulate their emotions and behaviour. Kindergarten is a safe place for children to build these skills, as well as their independence and
concentration, while forming positive relationships and making friends.

For these reasons, it is recommended children attend kindergarten programs for 2 years before school.

When to start kindergarten

When your child starts at kinder directly relates to the age they will start at primary school. To help you decide when a child can start kindergarten, use the Starting Age Calculator, vic.gov.au/kinder-age-calculator

Choosing and enrolling in a kindergarten service

Look for the Kinder Tick — when a Kinder Tick is displayed at an early childhood service, families can be confident that:

  • the program will be led by a qualified teacher
  • children will benefit from play-based learning
  • the kindergarten program is Victorian Government funded and approved
  • the program complies with government guidelines and the National Quality Framework.

Families can register for a kindergarten program through their local council’s Central Registration and Enrolment
Scheme (CRES) or through their preferred service (if it is not part of a council CRES) a year before a child starts a
kindergarten program.

Speak with your preferred kindergarten service or local council today about how to register for a place.

To find kindergarten services, visit: findakinder.educationapps.vic.gov.au

Best Start, Best Life reforms

The Victorian Government’s $14 billion Best Start, Best Life reforms are the most significant change to Victoria’s early
childhood sector in a generation. These reforms include:

  • Free Kinder: Free Kinder is now available for Victorian 3- and 4-yearold children. Children enrolled in participating standalone (sessional) kindergarten services receive a free program — a saving of up to $2,500 per child. Children enrolled in participating long day care centres will receive a fee offset of up to $2,000 per child. A Health Care Card or Australian Citizenship is not required to access Free Kinder.
  • Three-Year-Old Kindergarten: The roll-out of Three-Year-Old Kindergarten continues, with programs increasing to 15 hours a week across the state by 2029.
  • Pre-Prep: Over the next decade, Four-Year-Old Kindergarten will gradually transition to ‘Pre-Prep’ — increasing from 15 hours to a universal 30-hour-aweek program of play-based learning.
  • Early learning and childcare centres: 50 Victorian government-owned and operated early learning and childcare centres will be built in areas with the greatest need, with the first centres opening in 2025.

To find out more visit: vic.gov.au/best-startbest-life-reforms

Information in your language

Information is available in 30 languages about Free Kinder, the benefits of 2 years of kindergarten and how to enrol, at:

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