Kindergarten is an important step in your child's learning journey. At kinder, they will learn skills that they will build on throughout their lifetime in a fun, play-based setting.
On this page
- How do I apply?
- When can I apply?
- Early Start Kindergarten (ESK) for eligible children
- About the Central Kindergarten Registration Scheme
- Find a kindergarten
- How much does kinder cost?
- When should I get my application in?
- When will I receive my offer?
- Can I delay or defer my child starting kindergarten?
- Will my child be eligible for a second year of funded kinder?
- The No Jab, No Play law
- Need more information?
- For early service professionals and kindergartens
How do I apply?
Changes to three-year-old kindergarten from 2022
From 2022, if your child turns three by 30 April in the year they are going to kinder*, they can attend a funded three-year-old kinder program for up to five hours per week.
This funding will increase to 15 hours per week by 2029.
* Kindergartens will need children to turn three before they start. You should still register as they will hold your child’s place until they are old enough to start.
When can I apply?
- For three-year-old kinder, you can apply at the beginning of the year before your child starts kinder. Your child will need be three before 30 April the year they will start kinder.
- You can register for four-year-old kinder at the same time you are registering for three-year-old kinder. Select both three and four-year-old kinder under kindergarten preferences in the form.
- For four-year-old kinder. you can apply up to two years before your child starts kinder. Your child will need to be four before 30 April the year they will start kinder. Children can go to a funded four-year-old kinder program for up to 15 hours per week.
Early Start Kindergarten (ESK) for eligible children
Early Start Kindergarten is free or low-cost kindergarten for eligible three-year-old children to attend four-year-old kinder for up to 15 hours per week.
Children are eligible if they turn three before 30 April the year they will start kinder, and:
- are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander; and/or
- have had contact with Child Protection (or been referred to ChildFIRST); and/or
- are of refugee or asylum seeker background.
About the Central Kindergarten Registration Scheme
The City of Ballarat has a Central Kindergarten Registration Scheme to help our community access a fair, equal and timely system for processing kindergarten enrolments. Not all kinders are part of the Scheme.
Find a kindergarten
Purple: these kinders aren’t members of the Central Kindergarten Registration Scheme. You will need to apply directly to these kindergartens to register your child.
Red: these kinders are members of the Central Kindergarten Registration Scheme. You will need to submit an application to us to register your child.
Parents and guardians are encouraged to contact one or more kinders to make an appointment to visit or attend a kindergarten open day.
How much does kinder cost?
Kindergarten programs are partially funded by the Victorian Government, which is paid directly to the kindergarten.
The kindergarten fees you pay are set by the kinder. Some long day care programs offer sessional kindergarten and others charge long day care fees. Contact the kinder to find out their fees.
Is there help to pay fees?
The Victorian Government has a kindergarten fee subsidy for eligible families. The subsidy helps children go to kinder for free or at low cost.
A child is eligible if they:
- identify as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander,
- are a multiple birth child (triplets or more),
- hold, or has a parent or guardian who holds, a:
- Health Care Card
- Pensioner Concession Card
- Department of Veterans Affairs Card
- Refugee or Humanitarian Visa.
From 2023 the Victorian State Government is funding Kindergarten Programs for all eligible children in both 3yo and 4yo Kindergarten, therefore most programs will be FREE.
When should I get my application in?
Applications are open all year. We recommend you submit your applications by 30 June the year before your child will start kinder.
Registrations can be submitted any time in the year your child turns two year old or two years before they start four-year-old kinder.
Registrations are accepted after 30 June, however, we recommend talking to our Central Kindergarten Registration officer on 5320 5720.
Please note: places are allocated based on the Priority of Access guidelines in our Central Kindergarten Registration Policy and the date applications are submitted.
When will I receive my offer?
|First round offer||Beginning of August|
|Acceptance of offer due||Mid-August|
|Second round offer||Beginning of September|
|Acceptance of offer due||Mid-September|
|Further offers||As places become available|
How are offers made?
First priority is given to:
- Children eligible for ESK
- Children at risk of abuse or neglect, including children in Out of Home Care
- Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children
- Asylum seeker and refugee children
- Children eligible for the Kindergarten Fee Subsidy
- Children with additional needs, defined as children who: need assistance to fully participate in kindergarten, need a combination of services which are individually planned, have an identified specific disability or developmental delay.
Other applications will be given offers based on the date the registration form was submitted.
Can I delay or defer my child starting kindergarten?
You may be able to delay or defer your child starting kinder. Children should complete at least one year of four-year-old kinder before starting school.
You are encouraged to think about when your child will start school and keep that in mind when deciding when your child will start kinder.
For more information about delaying or deferring your child's start to kinder, please chat with your preferred kindergarten or our Family and Children's Services team.
Will my child be eligible for a second year of funded kinder?
A kinder teacher can decide a child should receive a second year of funded four-year-old* kindergarten if:
- the child is having delays in at least two areas of learning and development described in the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework, and
- There is evidence showing child will do better at transitioning to school if they attend a second year of four-year-old kindergarten.
*children can only attend one year of funded three-year-old kinder.
The No Jab, No Play law
Under the No Jab, No Play law, kinders must get an immunisation statement from parents showing their child:
- is fully vaccinated for their age, or
- is on a recognised catch-up schedule if they are behind with their vaccinations, or
- has a medical reason not to be vaccinated.
What if my child is not fully vaccinated?
Under the No Jab, No Play law, if your child’s immunisation record is not up-to-date your child cannot attend kinder.
NOTE: vulnerable and disadvantaged families may be able to be enrolled under the No Jab, No Play grace period provisions. Please talk to your kinder before enrolling.