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WHAT IS
EARLY START
KINDERGARTEN?

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WHY IS KINDERGARTEN IMPORTANT?
At kindergarten, children learn key skills,
including creative thinking, social and emotional
skills, and early literacy and language skills.
Research shows that two years of kindergarten
are better than one, and prepares children for
success at school and for life.
WHAT IS EARLY START
KINDERGARTEN?
Early Start Kindergarten provides free or low
cost kindergarten to eligible three-year-old
children where programs are offered by a
qualified teacher.
The Victorian Government is rolling out
funded Three-Year-Old Kindergarten.
During the roll-out, there will be no change
to Early Start Kindergarten.
Applications for Early Start Kindergarten
funding are made by the service on your
behalf and the grant is paid directly to
the service.
IS MY CHILD ELIGIBLE?
Your child is eligible if they are aged three
by 30 April in the year they will be starting
kindergarten, and:
• your family has had contact with Child
Protection (or been referred to Child
FIRST), or
• your child is Aboriginal and/or Torres
Strait Islander.

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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. Alternatively
your Child FIRST or Child Protection worker
can do this on your behalf, or a Koorie
Engagement Support Officer (KESO) or Early
Childhood Learning Adviser in your nearest
Department of Education and Training office
can help you apply.
To find a kindergarten service or child
care centre with a funded program visit
www.education.vic.gov.au/findaservice
or
contact your local council. You can find
the phone number for your local council by
visiting
www.localgovernment.vic.gov.au
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 when they are three.
Children who have accessed Early Start
Kindergarten are also eligible for free or low
cost four-year-old kindergarten. All Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander children enrolled in a
funded kindergarten service are eligible for 15
hours of free or low cost kindergarten per week.
Try to enrol your child for four-year-old
kindergarten as early as possible to make
sure your child gets a place as spots at your
preferred kindergarten are not guaranteed.
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WHERE CAN I FIND MORE ABOUT
EARLY START KINDERGARTEN?
For more information about Early Start
Kindergarten, visit
www.education.vic.gov.au
and search for Early Start Kindergarten, or
contact your regional Department of
Education and Training office.
REGIONAL OFFICE CONTACTS
20-057
Published by Department of Education and Training
Melbourne September 2020 (Revised)
© State of Victoria
Regional Office
Location
North-Eastern Victoria
1300 333 231
Benalla
Wodonga
Wangaratta
Seymour
Shepparton
Glen Waverley
North-Western Victoria
1300 338 691
Bendigo
Mildura
Swan Hill
Coburg
Greensborough
South-Eastern Victoria
1300 338 738
Moe
Leongatha
Warragul
Sale
Cheltenham
Frankston
Dandenong
South-Western Victoria
1300 333 232
Ararat
Ballarat
Geelong
Horsham
Warrnambool
Footscray
Keilor