About Kindergarten

Going to kindergarten is an important step for your child. It will help them learn skills that they will build on throughout their life.

Why should I send my child to kindergarten?

At kindergarten your child will grow socially and emotionally. Their ability to think, use and recognise language and their fine motor skills will be developed through play, art, dance, music, movement and interacting with others.

Most importantly, your child will be learning to become an effective learner as they develop and extend their communication skills, build their self-confidence, learn to be creative, and develop skills that assist them with reading, writing and mathematics.

The benefits of kindergarten

Kindergarten programs are designed to improve your child’s development in the following key areas:

  • social skills, like how to play with other children in a calm, sharing and rewarding way
  • self-awareness and respect for others
  • emotional skills, for example understanding their feelings
  • language, literacy and numeracy skills, such as reading stories and counting objects
  • a joy for learning and group activities, such as talking, drawing and making things together with other children their own age
  • ability to make new friends
  • exposure to new ideas and concepts.

Kindergarten also provides families with access to:

  • support and assistance for children with special needs
  • resources and links to community support services.

When should I send my child to kindergarten?

Children go to kindergarten in the year before school, usually when they are four years old. However, some services and centres also offer kindergarten programs for three-year-old children.

You can enrol your child in a funded kindergarten program in a variety of settings, including children’s centres, long day care centres, community kindergartens, independent schools and a small number of government schools. A range of organisations manage these programs including local government, parent committees, community organisations, private operators, independent schools and some government schools.

Does my child need a second year of kindergarten?

Your child is eligible for a second year of kindergarten if your child's early childhood teacher has assessed that your child has developmental delays in at least two key areas of development and will achieve better outcomes at kindergarten rather than going to school.

During the kindergarten year, the early childhood teacher will work with you to plan together for your child's transition to school. In exceptional circumstances, a second year of funded kindergarten may be considered. To find out more, see:

Kindergarten programs

Fifteen hour programs

Victoria provides all children with access to a quality early childhood education program for 15 hours a week in the year before they start school.

There is significant benefit for children in attending a quality early childhood education program. Increasing kindergarten hours and access to programs in a range of different early childhood settings further increases that benefit.

Providing all children access to quality 15 hour early childhood education programs in the year before school:

  • recognises that quality early childhood education programs improve children’s learning, health and behaviour with positive impacts extending into adult life
  • enables children and families to have access to a high quality developmental program in a range of settings such as public, private and community-based kindergartens and child care services
  • supports a successful transition to school.

Early Start Kindergarten

Early Start Kindergarten provides free or low cost kindergarten to eligible children where programs are offered by a qualified teacher. Your child is eligible 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).

To find out how to enrol your child, see:

Find a kindergarten near you

To find a kindergarten near you, see:

Further information

To find out more about kindergarten and what to expect, see:

To find out about the different types of services and the legislation and regulations around these, see:

To find out about interpretation services and to access a list of translated resources, see: