Kindergarten, also known as preschool, is an educational, play-based learning program for 3-year-old and 4-year-old children. It is delivered by a degree-qualified early childhood teacher.
Kindergarten provides children with the chance to develop their independence, confidence, social and emotional skills.
Age calculator and deciding which year to start kindergarten
Kindergarten age calculator
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Date is not stored beyond this session
Calculate when your child can attend kindergarten based on their date of birth.
Calculated for a child born on
|Year||Age at January||Kindergarten program|
|3 years and 1 months||3-year-old|
|4 years and 1 months||4-year-old|
|5 years and 1 months||5-year-old|
Your child is eligible to start 3-year-old kindergarten this year or wait until next year.
If they start 3-year-old kindergarten this year they will be when they start school in . This may make them younger than many of their peers.
Your child is eligible to start 3-year-old kindergarten this year.
Your child will be when they start school in . .
Your child is eligible to start 3-year-old or 4-year-old kindergarten this year.
Your child is eligible to start 4-year-old kindergarten this year. Attending 4-year-old kindergarten is recommended as research shows it supports better learning outcomes.
If they start 4-year-old kindergarten this year they will be when they start school in . This may make them younger than many of their peers.
Your child is eligible to start 4-year-old kindergarten or school this year. Attending 4-year-old kindergarten is recommended as research has shown it supports better learning outcomes.
If they start school this year they will be when they start school in . This may make them younger than many of their peers.
Children can attend kindergarten, also known as preschool, in the two years before they start primary school.
Families with children born between January and April can choose which year to start their child at 3-year-old kindergarten. These children can start 3-year-old kindergarten in the year they turn three, or in the year they turn 4-years old. This is important because the year your child starts at 3-year-old kindergarten directly relates to the age they will start at primary school.
All children will receive only one funded year of 3-year-old kindergarten and will move into 4-year-old kindergarten the following year.
A second year of funded 4-year-old kindergarten will only be considered when a child shows delays in two or more key areas of learning and development that meet specific areas of eligibility set by the Department of Education and Training (DET).
Find a kindergarten near you
You can find a kindergarten that is close to where you live or work using the map on our Find local kindergartens and childcare page.
On this page you will need to type your address into the search field, and select from the filters whether you would like the map to be any or all of the following:
- child care centres
- occasional child care
Once you have done this click the 'search' button and the map will show the kindergarten or child care options close to your address.
Visiting a kindergarten
If you would like to visit a kindergarten before enrolling, please contact kindergartens directly to arrange a suitable time. Merri-bek City Council cannot arrange visits to kindergartens for families.
Some kindergartens are also offering virtual tours. You can view these by going directly to the kindergarten website.
Choosing between sessional or integrated kindergarten
Kindergartens are funded by the State Government and can be delivered as an integrated program in a child care setting or as a sessional kindergarten program.
Integrated kindergarten delivered in long day care settings is for families who need care outside of the kindergarten session times or do not have flexible work arrangements. The programs are led by degree-qualified teachers. Families attending integrated kindergarten will receive the kindergarten funding back through their child care fees and may still have to pay some child care fees.
Fees for integrated kindergarten programs may be different at each centre. You will need to contact each centre directly to discuss.
More information is available on our Child care page.
Sessional kindergarten is for families who do not need require care outside of the kindergarten session times or have flexible work arrangements. The programs are led by degree-qualified teachers. Sessional kindergarten follows the school terms and closes over the school holidays. Sessional kindergarten is funded by the State Government so families will not have to pay term fees.
Free kindergarten from 2023
The Victorian State Government has committed to making 3 and 4-year-old kindergarten free from 2023. This means you will no longer be required to pay term fees for sessional kindergarten.
For further information visit the Victorian Government‘s give your child the best start webpage.
3-year-old kindergarten is funded for up to 15 hours per week. Children can access one funded 3-year-old kindergarten program at one venue only. This can be either in a sessional or integrated setting but not both. Not all kindergartens will offer 15 hours of 3-year-old kindergarten.
Please consider your child’s age and development when choosing when to start 3-year-old kindergarten. Children cannot attend a second year of funded 3-year-old kindergarten and can only attend once they have turned 3 years of age.
4-year-old kindergarten is funded for 15 hours per week. Children can access one funded 4-year-old kindergarten program at one venue only. This can be either in a sessional or integrated setting but not both.
Please consider your child’s age and development when choosing when to start 4-year-old kindergarten. A second year of 4-year-old kindergarten can only be considered if there are concerns about a child’s development. This requires an assessment by the kindergarten teacher.
Early Start Kindergarten (also known as ESK) is a funded two-year 4-year-old kindergarten program. It is available to children who turn 3 years of age by 30 April in the year they are enrolled to attend the program.
ESK can be accessed by:
- Children whose families have been assisted by Child Protection or are in an Out-of-Home Care arrangement
- Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children
- Refugee and asylum seeker children who meet the special visa criteria
To find out more information about applying for 2023 3 or 4-year-old kindergarten please continue to the 2023 sessional kindergarten webpage. This page includes information about the registration fee and exemptions, applying from overseas, how to apply, participating kindergartens, application and immunisation requirements.
Apply for 3 or 4-year-old sessional kindergarten in 2024
To find out more information about applying for 2024 3 or 4-year-old kindergarten please continue to the 2024 sessional kindergarten webpage. This page includes information about the registration fee and exemptions, applying from overseas, when to apply and documents I need to include with my applicaiton, participating kindergartens, application and immunisation requirements and other important information.
Kindergarten Outreach Support Program for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) children and families
The Outreach team offers support to enrol your children into 3-year-old and 4-year-old kindergarten program, assist you to address engagement barriers, support transition and ongoing participation in education and linking you to other early childhood supports in your local area.
You can find out more information on the Kindergarten Outreach Support Program for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) children and families flyer (PDF). Our Outreach Workers speak some local languages and have interpreters available on request.
Services and families can refer themselves for outreach support using our Kindergarten Outreach Support Program Referral Form (PDF).
Preschool Field Officer Program
We want all children to be able to take part in and enjoy their learning. We can provide support if your child needs extra assistance during their time in kindergarten.
The Preschool Field Officer Program is available for any child enrolled in a state-funded kindergarten who has developmental or additional needs.
You can learn more about this program on our Children with additional needs page.