Department program

Kindergarten for three-year-old children

​The Victorian Government is investing almost $5 billion over ten years so that children across the state will have access to two years of kindergarten programs.

This means that an extra year of play-based learning will be added to Victorian children’s education. The learning is led by a teacher.

Victoria will be the first state or territory in Australia to introduce funded Three-Year-Old Kindergarten for all children. Funded kindergarten means the government will help the kindergarten service with the cost of your child attending. This helps keep your fees low.

Roll-out schedule

Funded Three-Year-Old Kindergarten will become available in stages.

In 2020, three-year-olds in six council areas will be able to access up to 15 hours of kindergarten. These areas are:

  • Buloke
  • Hindmarsh
  • Northern Grampians
  • South Gippsland
  • Strathbogie
  • Yarriambiack.

In 2021, families in the following 15 council areas will also have access to up to 15 hours each week

  • Alpine
  • Ararat
  • Campaspe
  • Central Goldfields
  • Colac-Otway
  • Corangamite
  • East Gippsland
  • Glenelg
  • Hepburn
  • Indigo
  • Loddon
  • Murrindindi
  • Southern Grampians
  • Towong
  • West Wimmera.

These first roll-out areas have been chosen because they already have the physical capacity to meet local demand.

From 2022, three-year-olds across the rest of the state will have access to five hours in a kindergarten program led by a teacher.

The hours will then progressively increase up to the full 15-hour program by 2029.

Options available now

There are some kindergarten options for three-year-olds available now, including the Early Start Kindergarten program that means eligible children can attend a kindergarten program at low or no cost. Other three-year-old kindergarten programs are not currently subsidised by the government.

Funded kindergarten is already available for four-year-olds.

Learn about the different types of kindergarten to find options.

Benefits of attending kindergarten

Research shows that quality play-based learning is a powerful way to support children’s learning and development. The benefits last into the school years and beyond.

Evidence also shows that two years are better than one when it comes to early learning. Taking part in a quality kindergarten program at an earlier age leads to positive effects on child development. It has even greater benefits for children who need extra support or are in vulnerable circumstances.

Where to go to kindergarten

Funded Three-year-old Kindergarten will be available in both long day care centres and sessional or “standalone” kindergarten services. This is the same way that kindergarten for four-year-olds is available now. Find out how to choose a kindergarten.

Fees and funded kindergarten programs

The commitment to fund kindergarten programs will mean fees are kept as low as possible.

Subsidies for three-year-old kindergarten programs will work the same way as they do for four-year-old kindergarten. See how much kindergarten costs for costs and subsidies.

We will support long day care centres so they can run quality kindergarten programs led by teachers. This will ensure all Victorian children get the benefits that come with early learning.

Further information

See our child care and kindergarten section for information on enrolment, fees and service quality.

Find out about financial support to study or work in early childhood and funding for services​ to prepare for the roll-out.