Children doing an activity on the floor


What is Kindergarten?

Kindergarten (sometimes called ‘state funded kindergarten’ or ‘preschool’) is two years of early education for children in the two years 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.

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.


What Year to start in 3 and 4 year old Kindergarten

Three Year Old Kindergarten

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

Eligible 3 year old 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 childcare.

Birth dateWhat year to start 3 year old Kindergarten

01/05/2019 - 30/04/2020  


01/05/2020 - 30/04/2021


01/05/2021 - 30/04/2022


01/05/2022 - 30/04/2023


01/05/2023 - 30/04/2024


Four Year Old Kindergarten

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

Eligible 4 year old 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 childcare. 

Birth dateWhat year to start 4 year old Kindergarten

01/05/2018 - 30/04/2019 


01/05/2019 - 30/04/2020


01/05/2020 - 30/04/2021


01/05/2021 - 30/04/2022


01/05/2022 - 30/04/2023



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. 

For more information visit the Department of Education and Training website. 

Visit Council's page on kindergarten providers for you to make a choice on which kindergarten suits you. 

How much does Kindergarten cost?

Free Three- and Four-Year-Old Kinder will be available across Victoria at participating services in 2023 at both long day care and sessional (standalone) services.

Free Kinder means more Victorian children can have the best start in life, no matter where they live:

  • For three-year-olds, this means 15 hours per week of a kindergarten program
  • For four-year-olds, this means 15 hours per week (600 hours a year)

Free Kinder means a saving of up to $2,500 per child, each year, participating kindergarten programs will receive funding directly from the Victorian Government, so families are not out of pocket (and don’t have to claim the savings back)

Free Kinder is for everyone. Families do not need to show a Health Care Card or Pension Card, or Australian citizenship (or similar) to be eligible to access.

Having Free Kinder supports every Victorian child to get the best start in life no matter where they live. It is strongly encouraged that all children attend kinder programs for two years before school as a crucial part of their educational journey.

For more information on costs contact your local kindergarten or visit the Victorian Government's 'Give your Child the Best Start' website.

Further information

Free-Kinder-Advice-for Families2023

What is Early Start Kindergarten?

Early Start Kindergarten gives eligible three-year-old children 15 hours of free Kindergarten sessions per week, no matter which service the child attends.

To be eligible, your child must be three year old by 30 April in the year they start kindergarten, and:

  • is from a Refugee or Asylum seeker backgrounds, or
  • identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, or
  • your family has had contact with child protection

For more information contact our Central Enrolment Officer on telephone number 8571 1817.

Read more information about Early Start Kindergarten Funding

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.

Priority 1

Children who are residents of City of Greater Dandenong and:

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

Priority 3

  • Non residents of 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 City of Greater Dandenong.

Further information

Read the Victorian State Government's Kindergarten Funding Guide

If your Child needs help, speak with a Preschool Field Officer

Pre-school Field Officers support children with a range of developmental concerns and additional needs. The Preschool field officer works in collaboration with educators, specialists, agencies, school etc to support learning, transitions and funding applications. 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 email the Kindergarten Enrolment Team  

Further information

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

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 visit 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 email the Kindergarten Enrolment Team at

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.