Early start kindergarten

Early start kindergarten provides two years of free or low-cost kindergarten to eligible three-year-old children.

Early start kindergarten (ESK) provides free or low-cost kindergarten for two years before starting school to eligible three-year-old children where programs are offered by a qualified teacher. Some services can offer your child a place in a four-year-old kindergarten program, or a mixed age group program.

Is my child eligible?

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

You can enrol your child by:

  • contacting a nearby kindergarten and asking for access to early start kindergarten
  • contacting your Child FIRST or child protection worker
  • contacting a Koorie engagement support officer (KESO) in your nearest Department of Education and Training office
  • register online (less than 2 min to complete):

Register for Early Start Kindergarten

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