Free Kinder in 2024
Free Three- and Four-Year-Old Kinder will be available across Victoria at participating services in 2024.
Free Kinder means more Victorian children can have the best start in life, no matter where they live:
- For three-year-olds, this means from 5 and up to 15 hours per week of a kindergarten program
- For four-year-olds, this means 15 hours per week (600 hours a year)
- Read the Advice for Families Fact Sheet (Pdf)
Free Kinder means a saving of up to $2,500 per child, each year, and also means more than 28,000 Victorians can return to work, including almost 26,600 of which are women. Participating Kindergarten programs including Cuddly Bear Templestowe will receive funding directly from the Victorian Government, so families are not out of pocket (and don’t have to claim the savings back).
If your child attends a kindergarten program within a long day care setting, a $2,000 Free Kinder subsidy will offset the kindergarten program component of your out-of-pocket fees. Cuddly Bear Templestowe will pass on the full amount to parents as a direct reduction in their out-of-pocket fees. This will provide a free program for some families and a significantly reduced cost for other families, depending on service fees, number of days attended, and the amount of Commonwealth subsidy received.
More information- Give your child the best start | Victorian Government (www.vic.gov.au)
Victorian Government Approved Kindergarten Program
When you see the Kinder Tick, you can be confident:
✓ the program will be led by a qualified teacher
✓ children will benefit from play-based learning
✓ the kindergarten program is funded and approved by the Victorian Government
✓ the program complies with government guidelines and the National Quality Framework.
This is the same in both long day care and sessional or “standalone” kindergarten services. No matter where your child attends a kindergarten program, they’ll be learning through play with an early childhood teacher.
Research shows that play-based learning is the best way to help young children learn, develop well and prepare to thrive at school.
Kinder is a program, not a place
Kindergarten programs are delivered in both long day care and standalone services. You can choose what works best for your family and child – the kindergarten programs are the same. All funded kindergarten programs in Victoria are led by a qualified early childhood teacher and offer a play-based learning program based on the same government guidelines.
Long day care centre
A long day care centre offers a full day of education and care to children from birth to school age, and many offer a funded kindergarten program as part of their service. The teacher-led kindergarten program may be integrated with additional hours of education and care. Kindergarten programs delivered in a long day care setting provide flexibility for parents and carers by offering childcare before and after the kindergarten program.
Why kinder programs are important
Research shows that play-based learning is a powerful way to support children’s development. These benefits last into the school years and beyond. The evidence also shows that two years are better than one when it comes to early learning. A quality kindergarten program will have more of an impact for children who start at age three than those who start at four. Learning programs led by teachers are even more important for children who are in vulnerable circumstances.
What your child will experience at a kinder program
Young children learn about the world through play. It gives children the opportunity to use their imagination and practise important skills. It also helps their social and emotional development, and wellbeing.
In a kindergarten program, children use play to build their language skills and learn about numbers and patterns. They also learn how to get along with others, share, listen, and manage their emotions. Teachers and educators help children become curious, creative and confident about learning.
Kindergarten programs are designed to meet the needs of their local families. All kindergarten programs work with the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework. This makes sure the programs are appropriate for children's ages, needs and interests.
Read the Advice for Families Fact Sheet (Pdf)