Choosing a Kindergarten

Every family is different, so it's important to think about your own family circumstances and needs when choosing a kindergarten program for your child.

Finding a Kindergarten

To find a kindergarten in your area, see: Find an early childhood service or school

What to look for when you visit

Most kindergartens welcome enquiries and will organise a visit that gives you an opportunity to see the centre, its staff and the children attending it.

If your child already attends child care, you should also go along to any information session your child care centre holds to find out about their kindergarten program. You can tell if a centre offers a kindergarten program because they will have a current Kindergarten Certificate on display.

When you first enter you will be able to tell if the kindergarten’s atmosphere is inviting or cold, relaxed or frantic. It should be a safe and comfortable place and the children should have a choice of fun and challenging activities.

There should also be information about the service’s operations, policies and procedures displayed and made available to you on request. These policies should be child and family focused, and sensitive to each family's cultural and social background, lifestyle and child rearing practices.

The available information should include:

  • the service's education and activities program
  • the contact details of the responsible regional department office
  • the fees charged
  • the name and telephone number of the person you can contact if you have any complaints or concerns
  • their behaviour management policy
  • staff qualifications
  • their children's service licence.

The Department is responsible for the regulation and assessment of education and care services, including preschools (kindergartens) operating under the National Quality Framework. These services must meet the requirements of the Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010 (National Law) and the Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011 (National Regulations).

The Department is also responsible for the licensing and regulation of a number of Victorian children’s services operating under the Children’s Services Act 1996 (Victorian Act) and the Children's Services Regulations 2009 (Victorian Regulations).

For more information please, see: Regulation and Quality Assessment

Questions you can ask

To help decide if a kindergarten program is suitable, ask the following questions:

  • Are places available for the day/s and hour/s I need?
  • Does the kindergarten operate throughout the year or only during specific times like school terms?
  • Does the service offer a funded kindergarten program?
  • What are the fees?
  • Are there any other costs over and above the fees?
  • Is there a fee to be placed on the waiting list?
  • Does the service offer extended care?
  • How does the service support children with additional needs?
  • What is the process if my child is unwell, upset, or unsettled?
  • How are food and drink provided for the children?
  • What is the process for administering medication?

Once you find a kindergarten program that meets your needs, you can find out more about how to enrol and prepare your child for starting kindergarten, see: Enrolling and Starting Your Child in Kindergarten

More information

For more information about choosing a kindergarten program, see:

Choosing a Kindergarten Program (pdf - 662.82kb)
Choosing a Kindergarten Program (docx - 33.15kb)