Early Start Kindergarten

Kindergarten programs help children with their language, development and self-confidence. Research shows an earlier start and more time at kindergarten prepares children for success at school and has a positive impact later in life.

Early Start Kindergarten provides free or low cost kindergarten to eligible three year old children where programs are offered by a qualified teacher. Some services will be able to offer your child a place in a program for four year olds or a mixed age group.

Is my child eligible?

Your child is eligible for Early Start Kindergarten if they are aged three by 30 April in the year they will be attending a kindergarten program, and:

  • your child is Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, or
  • your family has had contact with Child Protection (or been referred by them to Child FIRST).

How do I enrol my child?

You can enrol your child by contacting a kindergarten service near you and asking to access Early Start Kindergarten.​

To find a kindergarten service in your area, search: Find an Early Childhood Service or School or talk to your local council by searching: Find your local council​.

You can also contact a Department of Education and Early Childhood Development regional office to get help to enrol your child in Early Start Kindergarten:Regional Offices​​

Applications for Early Start Kindergarten funding are made by the service on your behalf and the grant is paid directly to the service.

Should my child go to four year old kindergarten as well?

Yes, a kindergarten program in the year before school will build on the strengths your child will develop through Early Start Kindergarten.
Children who have accessed Early Start Kindergarten are eligible for free or low cost four year old kindergarten as well. 


More information

Kindergarten fee subsidy​ - information about free or low cost four year old kindergarten

Find an Early Childhood Service or School 

Find your local council​

Regional Offices – contacts for your regional office ​​​​