Best Start

Kindergarten children story time

Best Start focuses on vulnerable children and all Aboriginal children to ensure they can access quality early childhood experiences.

Early Start Kindergarten
Register online (less than 2 min to complete)

The program ensures all children have access to quality early childhood experiences through maternal and child health services, supported Playgroups and kindergartens.

The Darebin Best Start partnerships use local data and community knowledge to identify those who are experiencing vulnerability within the City of Darebin. Best Start is a Victorian Government early years, place-based initiative that is funded and administered by the Department of Education and Training to support families, caregivers and communities in providing the best possible environment, experiences and care for children from birth to eight years of age.

Communities and service providers collaborate to address issues as they are experienced at a neighbourhood level.

Darebin Best Start outcomes

  • Children engage and participate in early childhood education (kindergarten and Supported Playgroups)
  • Children and families actively engage with maternal and Child Health services, attending key age and stage visits

Early Start Kindergarten (ESK)

Early Start Kindergarten gives eligible children 15 hours of free or low-cost kindergarten a week for two years before starting school.

To be eligible, your child must be three by 30 April in the year they start kindergarten and meet one of the following three criteria:

  • Your child identifies as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
  • Your family has had contact with Child Protection or been referred to Orange Door or Child FIRST
  • Your child holds or has a parent or guardian who holds one of the following:
    • Refugee visa (subclass 200)
    • In-country special humanitarian visa (subclass 201)
    • Global special humanitarian visa (subclass 202)
    • Emergency rescue visa (subclass 203)
    • Woman at risk visa (subclass 204)
    • Humanitarian stay visa (subclass 449)
    • Temporary protection visa (subclass 785)
    • Temporary (humanitarian concern) visa (subclass 786)
    • Safe haven enterprise visa (subclass 790)
    • Protection visa (subclass 866)
    • Bridging visas for any of the above refugee or asylum seeker visas

Early Start Kindergarten is available in all kindergarten programs delivered by a qualified teacher. More information available on the Victorian State Government website.

Register for Early Start Kindergarten

Further information

Best Start Project Leader
Phone: 03 8470 8120

Nugal Murrup Buladu – belong, spirit, grow

The Darebin Best Start Aboriginal Reference Group have worked together to develop a video series for mob by mob, known as "Nugal Murrup Buladu – belong, spirit, grow".

The videos focus on early years education:

  1. Early start kindergarten
  2. Transition to School
  3. Supports for Children with diverse learning needs

The videos aim to breakdown some of the barriers and address concerns that families and carers may have when reaching these educational milestones. The clips provide key information through the lived experience of community members to support parents and carers to know who to reach out for support and guidance.

We encourage mob to learn more about Early Start Kindergarten (ESK), the transition to school and how to access support for children with diverse learning needs by watching the video series.

“We need these young people to be strong and start school strong” - Aunty Sharon Hughes

Our Shared Journey - Supporting transition to school

This film is designed to give you and your child some tips on ways to make transition to school a stress free journey. The film was developed in consultation with the Darebin Best Start Working Group and the Darebin Early Years Transition Network. The production of this film was funded by Darebin Best Start. Thank you to the students at Melbourne Polytechnic TV Production Unit

For further information contact:

Our Shared Journey
Supporting children's transition to school.

Watch on YouTube