Children doing an activity on the floor


What is Kindergarten?

Kindergarten (sometimes called ‘state funded kindergarten’ or ‘preschool’) is one year of early education for children in the year before they start primary school.  Kindergarten gives your child important opportunities to learn, make friends and develop skills through a play-based curriculum, it helps prepare your child for their transition to primary school.

Kindergarten is offered in a range of settings including community kindergartens, child care centres, children’s centres and schools. They are managed by volunteer parent committees and not-for-profit early years managers.

Children must turn four on or before 30 April to be eligible to attend a funded kindergarten program in that year.

Eligible children can attend a sessional program which offers 15 hours of kindergarten per week or an integrated program which offers a combined kindergarten program (15 hours per week) and child care. 

Kindergarten programs are developed and delivered by qualified degree trained Educators to deliver the National Early Years Learning Framework, Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework; they must abide by the National Education and Care Law and Regulations.


Choosing a Kindergarten

When you are ready to start looking for a kindergarten, there are questions you can ask the service provider about what you can expect when your child starts kindergarten. Visit the Department of Education and Training website for more information.

There are a large number of Kindergarten providers in Greater Dandenong

How Much Does Kindergarten Cost?

The Victorian government provides funding to  early years services to support the cost of operating a funded kindergarten program.  Fees are set by individual services and can vary depending on how many hours your child attends, group size and extra costs such as excursions.

How can I access free or low cost kindergarten for children in the year before school?

Your child may be eligible for free or low-cost kindergarten through the kindergarten fee subsidy or the Early Start Kindergarten extension grant.

Kindergarten fee subsidy

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:

  • If your child identifies as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander ​​
  • If your child is identified on their birth certificate as being a multiple birth child (triplets or more).
  • If your child holds or has a parent or guardian who holds, one of the following: a Commonwealth Health Care  Card
  • A Commonwealth Pensioner Concession Card
  • A Department of Veterans Affairs Gold Card or White Card​
  • Refugee or Asylum Seeker visa (200-204 or 866)
  • An ImmiCard

If your family or child has a humanitarian or refugee visa listed by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection which is not included in the above list, your child may still be eligible for the kindergarten fee subsidy. Please speak to your kindergarten service for more information.

How do I apply?

You can talk to the staff at your kindergarten service about your child's eligibility, and show them your concession card, visa, birth certificate or other relevant document.

Your kindergarten service will apply for the kindergarten fee subsidy on your behalf. The payment will be made directly to your child's kindergarten and will allow your child to attend up to 15 hours a week for free or at low-cost.

You can apply for the kindergarten fee subsidy at any time during the year, even i​f your child moves to another kindergarten.

The cost of kindergarten varies depending on which kindergarten your child attends. The Victorian Government provides free kindergarten to the following eligible families:

  • Those on concession cards, health care cards and/or Department of Veterans’ Affairs gold cards
  • Refugees, special humanitarian entrants and those on asylum seeker visas
  • Triplets and quadruplets in the same year of kindergarten can receive a kindergarten program for 10 hours a week for free. The number of hours may differ in some kindergartens and/or services, as the Early Years sector is currently undergoing a major review, this amount of free hours is in the process of transition
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged three and four years old can access up to 10 hours a week of a funded early childhood program planned and delivered by a qualified early childhood teacher

For information on costs contact our Central Enrolment Officer on 8571 1817, your local kindergarten, or visit the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development website.

Further information:

Early Start Kindergarten Funding

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children - Koori Kids Shine

Translated Resources - Free and Low Cost Kindergarten

Is my child eligible?

Is my child eligible?

To be eligible to attend kindergarten children must be four years of age or older by 30 April in the year they start kindergarten, or be eligible for programs offering Early Start or Access to Early Learning Kindergarten Programs

Child's Date of BirthEligible Year
01/05/2016 - 30/04/20172021
01/05/2017 - 30/04/20182022
01/05/2018 - 30/04/20192023
01/05/2019 - 30/04/20202024


What is the priority of access allocation criteria?

What is the priority of access allocation criteria?

Children are allocated on the basis of priority, in accordance with State Government guidelines and subject to resident and non resident criteria, into a kindergarten program.

There are four levels of criteria:

Priority 1

Priority 1 criteria include a child if they are:

Residents of the City of Greater Dandenong and are at:

  • At risk of abuse or neglect (including children living in out of home care)
  • Are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
  • Are an asylum seeker or refugee
  • Are eligible for Kindergarten Fee Subsidy
  • Have an additional need
  • Are eligible for a second year of funded kindergarten or have delayed their kindergarten year.

Priority 2

  • Residents of the City of Greater Dandenong not identified in the Priority 1 criteria.

Priority 3

  • Non residents of the City of Greater Dandenong with children who attend childcare within the municipality for a minimum of three days per week, or whose parent/guardian works or volunteers within the municipality for a minimum of three days per week.

Priority 4

  • Non residents of the City of Greater Dandenong.

For further information

Visit the Victorian State Government's Kindergarten Funding Guide 

My child has additional needs - who can I speak with?

Pre-school Field Officers support children with a range of developmental concerns and additional needs who are usually not receiving support from kindergarten inclusion support service packages.  They are funded by the Department of Education and Training (DET).

  • Pre-school field officers are highly qualified early childhood professionals specialising in early childhood education and development.
  • They support kindergartens by providing consultation, resources and advice to teachers and families.
  • Any family with a child attending a state-funded kindergarten program with additional needs can access this service.
  • A referral can be made by a parent or kindergarten teacher. 

Preschool Field Officer Referral Form - 238KB 

The Preschool Field Officer Referral Form are also available from kindergartens.

For further information contact the Kindergarten Enrolment Team -

Further information:

Second Year of Kindergarten Funding – Does my child need a second year of kindergarten?

How will Kindergarten Will Benefit Your Child?

No Jab No Play - What does this mean?

More information about 'No jab, no play' including questions and answers​ is available through the Department of Education and Training, see:  No jab, no play - frequently asked questions

Where can I find translated resources?

The Department of Education and Training website has many translated resources to support families to access kindergarten and early years services.

If I have further questions, who do I contact?

If parents, family or caregivers have any questions about enrolling in a kindergarten program, please contact the Kindergarten Enrolment Team -

Council works with families to ensure fair access to sessional kindergarten programs for children.
There are a large number of Kindergarten providers in Greater Dandenong. Find the right one for your child.