Kindergarten & Playgroup

Free Kinder is here

In an Australian first, children across Victoria can now access two years of Free Kinder before school at participating services. Free Kinder means a saving of up to $2,500 per child each year, for Victorian families.

Families will not need to make a claim, as participating services will receive funding directly from the Victorian Government.

Sessional kindergartens

Free Kinder means that families with children enrolled in sessional kindergarten programs at participating services will receive a free program.

  • Families with children enrolled in sessional kindergarten programs receive a free program.
  • For three-year-old children, this means a free kindergarten program of between 5 and 15 hours each week (200-600 hours each year).
  • For four-year-olds, this means a free kindergarten program of 15 hours each week (600 hours each year).

Long day care centres

  • Families with three- and four-year-old children enrolled in participating long day care services will receive a fee offset of up to $2,000 per child.
  • This mean a saving of $2,000 for children enrolled in a 15-hour kindergarten program (600 hours a year).
  • Children enrolled in a Three-Year-Old Kindergarten program of less than 15 hours will receive a pro-rata amount.

What is a kindergarten program?

Kindergarten (also known as kinder) is an early education program for young children aged three to five, led by an early childhood teacher. Three-Year-Old Kindergarten has been introduced across Victoria, which means families can now access two years of government-funded kindergarten for their children before they start school.

How will my child benefit from kindergarten?

Kindergarten helps your child to learn and grow. Research shows that quality kindergarten programs support children to thrive throughout their lives. This includes supporting them to develop positive relationships, problem-solving skills, ways to manage their emotions, and approaches to exploring, discovering and learning about themselves and the world around them. Children who attend kindergarten programs are generally more independent and confident and are more likely to make a smooth transition to primary school. Taking part in a quality kindergarten program from three years old leads to positive effects on a child’s learning and development. It has even greater benefits for children who need extra support or are experiencing vulnerable circumstances. 

When can my child start kindergarten?

Children can attend kindergarten programs in the two years before they start primary school. Families with children born between January and April can choose which year to start at Three-YearOld Kindergarten. These children can start in the same year they turn three, or in the year they turn four years of age. Due to staff requirements, some services may ask that children start attending at kindergarten only after their third birthday. This may mean that some children may not start until part-way into Term 1 and have less time overall as part of a Three-Year-Old Kindergarten program, in comparison to their peers. If this is the case for your child and you accept a place, kindergartens will hold your child’s place until they are old enough to attend. Kindergarten services will discuss with you directly about how they can support your child to join their program once they turn three. When your child starts at kindergarten directly relates to the age they will start at primary school. When enrolling at Three-Year-Old Kindergarten, we encourage families to plan ahead and consider the age they would like their child to start at school. 

Visit the directory to find kindergartens in Benalla Rural City.

The directory also shows playgroups in Benalla Rural City.