Deciding when your child should start kindergarten
Your child must be 3 years old before they can commence kindergarten.
For children born between January and April, they can start:
- 3-year-old kindergarten in the year they turn 3 or 4 years old
- 4-year-old kindergarten in the year they turn 4 or 5 years old.
Skills and abilities
When deciding if your child is ready to begin kindergarten, consider the following.
Personal and self-help skills
Your child should be at the stage of becoming more independent with everyday tasks such as:
- managing their lunchbox at eating times
- drinking when they feel thirsty
- caring for their belongings
- storing their belongings in their bag and locker
- taking their shoes off and on
- using the toilet without assistance
- engaging in physical activities while being aware of their safety.
You should consider if your child can:
- express themselves in their first language by naming objects, speaking in short sentences, or using their visual communication system if they have one
- ask for help, follow simple instructions, and be understood by others.
Your child will be supported in learning to:
- follow simple instructions
- express their feelings to other children and educators
- engage in conversations throughout the day for the purpose of increasing their vocabulary.
Social and emotional skills
You should consider if your child:
- can separate from you to engage in activities on their own and play with other children
- is beginning to understand emotions such as happiness, sadness, an anger
- is wanting to do things for themselves
- is able to get through the day without sleeping.
Your child will be supported in learning to:
- engage in both large and small group activities
- develop friendships with other children
- develop age-appropriate control over their emotions
- understand the roles, rules and expectations in the kindergarten community
- to make choices about what and where to play.
Seeking further support
If you're still unsure about your child's readiness, you can contact your preferred kindergarten or a Preschool Field Officer via [email protected]
Raising Children Network also has helpful information for parents.
What types of programs we offer?
The Best Start, Best Life reforms have been introduced by the Victorian State Government to support two years of funded kindergarten for every child. The reforms require all three-year-old children to have access to 15 hours of kindergarten by 2029.
In moving towards the implementation of 15 hours of kindergarten for all three-year-old children in Casey, in 2024 we will be trialling 15 hours of funded kindergarten at the following 12 locations:
- Fairhaven Kindergarten
- Hallam Gardens Kindergarten
- Hunt Club Kindergarten
- James Cook Kindergarten
- Mansfield Street Kindergarten
- Merinda Park Kindergarten
- Rangebank Kindergarten
- Reema Kindergarten
- Southern Cross Kindergarten
- Strathaird Kindergarten
- Timbarra Kindergarten
- Valley Brook Kindergarten
All other Council-managed kindergarten programs will offer 5 hours of 3-year-old kindergarten over 1 day per week.
15 hours of 4-year-old kindergarten will be offered over:
- 5 hours 3 days per week or
- 7.5 hours 2 days per week.
Mixed age group sessions will combine both 3-year-old and 4-year-old children
What are the benefits of a mixed-age group?
Throughout life we will engage with people who are both older and younger than we are, this might be in our family, our social environment, in school and eventually work. Children in mixed-aged groups develop friendships and learn in the same way they would if they were in a single-aged group.
- Younger children have the opportunity to learn about more advanced problem solving skills through observing older children at play, as well as other benefits including increased self-esteem, and self-confidence.
- For older children this type of learning environment allows children to develop mentoring and leadership skills, which will support them in their future learning.
Our dedicated educators will provide a high-quality program based on each child’s development and interests.
Kindergarten term dates
Find future kindergarten term dates on the Victorian Department of Education and Training website.
Early Start Kindergarten
Early Start Kindergarten (also known as ESK) is a funded two-year, available to children who turn 3 years of age by 30 April in the year they are enrolled to attend the program. This is usually offered within the 4-year-old kindergarten program.
ESK can be accessed by:
- Children whose families have been assisted by Child Protection or are in an Out-of-Home Care arrangement
- Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children
- Refugee and asylum seeker children who meet the special visa criteria
More information can be found at Early Start Kindergarten | Victorian Government (www.vic.gov.au)