Types of kindergarten programs

There are different types of kindergarten programs your child can go to.

For four-year-olds

This is also called 'funded kindergarten'. The government will help the kindergarten with the cost of your child attending for 15 hours each week. This helps keep your kindergarten fees low.

It's usually for children who are in the year before they start school. Find out how to choose a kindergarten.

For three-year-olds

Funded kindergarten

The Victorian government is rolling out funded Three-Year-Old Kindergarten. Kindergarten programs will be run in sessional kindergartens and long daycare centres. They will be available in certain areas from 2020, and across the state from 2022.

Early Start Kindergarten


Early Start Kindergarten gives eligible children 15 hours of free or low-cost kindergarten a week for two years before starting school.

To be eligible, your child must be three by 30 April in the year they start kindergarten and meet one of the following criteria:

  • be from a refugee or asylum seeker background
  • identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
  • your family has had contact with Child Protection.

Children can also access free or low-cost Four-Year-Old Kindergarten through the Early Start Kindergarten Extension Grant.

Even if a funded Three-Year-Old Kindergarten program is available in your area, you should still enrol your child in Early Start Kindergarten, if they are eligible. This will mean that they have access to 15 hours each week and that your fees are kept as low as possible.

You can enrol your child by contacting the early childhood service you wish to attend. Find here a kindergarten service or childcare centre with a funded program near you. You can also contact us or your local council for assistance.

Other kindergarten programs for three-year-olds

Many councils, community groups and some long daycare centres offer kindergarten for three-year-old children.

Check your local council’s website or search for a kindergarten near you.

Generally, these programs are not funded by the government if they aren't part of Early Start. These programs will become subsidised by the government over time as the Three-Year-Old Kindergarten reform rolls out across the state.

Koorie Kids Shine at Kindergarten

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families can learn about the benefits of kindergarten, including how services create culturally safe places for Koorie children and families, and how to enrol in free or low-cost kindergarten for three- and four-year-old children through Koorie Kids Shine.