Four year old kindergarten is a one year program for children the year before they start school. It aims to support children’s learning and development, social skills, emotional skills, language, literacy and numeracy skills, self-awareness and respect for others, ability to make new friends and exposes them to new ideas and concepts. Kindergarten is an important program for all 4-year-old children to attend, as it provides young children with the opportunities to improve skills that are important for life, and helps prepare them for school. Kindergarten will support your child to develop:

  • language and listening skills
  • confidence and independence
  • physical and creative skills
  • the ability to work cooperatively with other children and adults

The kindergarten teacher is responsible for planning an educational program to meet the children’s needs and interests, and to develop a desire to learn.

There is an emphasis on a play-orientated approach to learning, to suit the developmental level of individual children.

To be eligible for 4-year-old kindergarten, your child must turn 4 by 30 April in the year of kindergarten attendance.

Most of our 4 year old programs have an enrolment registration process that is centrally managed through Local Council (Excluding Beverley Hills Kindergarten, Doncaster Gardens Preschool and South Yarra Preschool).

Kindergarten central registration is a streamlined and transparent application and allocation process that is fair and equitable for all families to support their access to community kindergarten programs across the council area.

In Victoria, four year old kindergarten is not compulsory; however it is acknowledged that the kindergarten experience is valuable in providing children with the opportunity to learn and develop skills through a play based curriculum and can also assist children in their transition to primary school.

Kindergarten Funding

4 year old kindergarten is funded by the Department of Education and Training (DET), however parents are asked to pay fees to cover the gap between this funding and the cost of running the centre..

All families have access to 15 hours of kindergarten per week (600 hours per year). Session times and fees can vary between services, however a subsidy is available from the DET for families that meet the eligibility criteria.

The Kindergarten Fee Subsidy allows children to access up to 15 hours of kindergarten delivered by a qualified early childhood teacher in the year before school for free or at low cost.

Your child is eligible in any of the following circumstances:

– the child is identified by a parent, carer or legal guardian as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander

– the child individually holds, or has a parent or guardian who holds one of the following:

– the child is identified on their birth certificate as being a multiple birth child (triplets or more). For more information on the Kindergarten Fee Subsidy click here:

Second year of funded kindergarten

All children are eligible for 1 year of 4-year-old kindergarten, under the funding provided to kindergartens by the Victorian Government. The Victorian Department of Education and Training (DET) has strict eligibility criteria for a second year of funded kindergarten. In order to be eligible, a child will:

  • have already received a year of funded kindergarten
  • be eligible to enter school the following year
  • have identified developmental needs in 2 or more areas
  • be expected to benefit from a second year of kindergarten

The kindergarten teacher prepares the application in consultation with parents, and may consult an early childhood specialist, if required. Click here to Find out more about eligibility for a second year of funded kindergarten.

When is my child eligible to attend?

Children are eligible for four year old kindergarten if they turn four prior to 30 April in the year they attend.

If your child was born during Your child is eligible to attend the 4 year old program in
May 1 2014 – April 30 2015 2019
May 1 2015 – April 30 2016 2020
May 1 2016 – April 30 2017 2021
May 1 2016 – April 30 2018 2022
May 1 2016 – April 30 2019 2023

If your child was born between January and April, you have the choice of which year to enrol your child, including the year the child is eligible or the year after. You should be aware that some children who start kindergarten early may experience issues later, as they start school early.