Preschool (Kindergarten)

Photo of a desk in a preschool covered in wooden block letters and tubs of paint

Preschool is an important part of improving your child’s development in:

  • social skills
  • emotional skills
  • language, literacy and numeracy skills
  • exposure to new ideas and concepts
  • making new friends
  • self-awareness and respect for others.

Preschool programs are delivered by qualified early childhood teachers. All services are monitored by the Department of Education to ensure regulatory standards are maintained.

Find out more about why preschool is strongly recommended (Department of Education).

Nillumbik Preschool Open Day

Council’s annual Preschool Open Day for 2024 was held on Saturday 17 February. 

The 2025 Open Day event will be announced in late 2024. 

If you have general questions about preschool in Nillumbik, contact Council’s Early Years team on 9433 3161 or email preschool@nillumbik.vic.gov.au.  

Preschools in Nillumbik

Council accepts and processes preschool registrations on behalf of 15 preschools in Nillumbik. This is referred to as our ‘central registration system’.

There are also long day child care centres within Nillumbik that offer preschool programs. These are not part of Council’s central registration system. Please contact these services directly for information about their programs and registrations.

To find your nearest preschool or early years service which may offer a preschool program and their contact details, use our interactive Early Years Services map.

About 3-year-old preschool

The Victorian government is rolling out funded 3-year-old preschool. 

  • From 2023, 3-year-old children in Nillumbik will have access to 5-15 hours of funded preschool per week. The number of funded hours will depend on the individual service.
  • The number of funded hours will then increase, with all services offering the full 15-hour program by 2029.

Three-year-old preschool is attended by 3 and 4-year-old children, two years before they start school. Use our preschool dates calculator below to find out when your child can attend 3-year-old preschool.

About 4-year-old preschool

The Victorian government contributes to 15 hours per week of funded 4-year-old preschool.

Four-year-old preschool is attended by 4- and 5-year old children in the year before they start school. 

Use our preschool dates calculator below to find out when your child can attend 4-year-old preschool.

Free kindergarten for all children

From 2023, the Victorian State Government has announced that free kinder will be available for both 3 and 4-year-old preschool programs at participating services in sessional settings, and in long day care services offering a funded preschool program.

Services who opt in will offer a free 15-hour program to 4-year-old children enrolled at a sessional service and a free 5-to-15-hour program to 3-year-old children enrolled at a sessional service (subject to the length of funded program offered).

This is a big change so we are working with preschool providers to cater for your family’s needs and manage capacity across our services.

Contact your local preschools or check their websites for current timetables. Most long day care centres also offer preschool programs, contact your local centre for details.

For more information please visit the Victorian Government website.

Preschool dates calculator

Use our preschool dates calculator below to find out when your child can attend preschool.

Preschool FAQs

When can I submit a preschool application for my child?

Preschool applications open on 1 February.

You can submit a preschool application from 1 February:

  • one year before your child is eligible to attend 3-year-old preschool or
  • two years before your child is eligible to attend 4-year-old preschool.

To be included in the first round offer process, your application should be submitted before 30 June in the year before your child attends preschool. The date you apply does not give you higher priority, as long as your application is received before 30 June.

To view the specific dates that apply to your child based on their date of birth, use our preschool dates calculator above.

When should my child start 3-year-old preschool?

Your child must have had their third birthday before they start attending 3-year-old preschool.

If your child is born between 1 January and 30 April

You have a choice - your child can start 3-year-old preschool in the year they turn three, or in the year they turn four.

If your child is born between 1 January and 30 April, and are starting 3-year-old preschool in the year they turn three, they may not be able to attend preschool until they have their third birthday. This is will depend on the individual preschool service and whether or not they are able to meet the educator-to-child ratio for children who are two years of age. Please contact the preschool directly for more information.

If your child is born between 1 May and 31 December

Your child will start 3-year-old preschool in the year after their third birthday.

To view the specific dates that apply to your child based on their date of birth, use our preschool dates calculator above.

Can my child do a second year of 3-year-old preschool?

No, children will move from 3-year-old kindergarten to 4-year-old kindergarten in the following year.

If you or the early childhood teacher still hold concerns about your child’s development, a second year of four-year-old kindergarten can be considered. 

When should my child start 4-year-old preschool?

Your child should attend 4-year-old preschool in the year before they start attending school. 

If your child is born between 1 January and 30 April

You have a choice - your child can start 4-year-old preschool in the year they turn four, or in the year they turn five.

If your child is born between 1 May and 31 December

Your child will start 4-year-old preschool in the year after they turn four.

To view the specific dates that apply to your child based on their date of birth, use our preschool dates calculator above.

Can my child do a second year of 4-year-old preschool?

If a child has displayed a delay in key outcome areas of learning and development, the possibility of a second year of 4-year-old preschool may be considered.

The early childhood teacher will determine the child's eligibility for a second year of 4-year-old preschool. 

For more information please refer to our (PDF, 559KB)Priority of Access and Offer Policy Guidelines(PDF, 490KB) and/or speak to your child's preschool teacher.

How do I decide when my child should start preschool?

Can my child start 4-year-old preschool early? (Early Start Kindergarten)

Your child may be able to start 4-year-old kindergarten early for two reasons:

  1. They qualify for the Victorian Government's Early Start Kindergarten program (ESK).
  2. They are considered a gifted child.

How do I find information about preschool timetables and fees?

Application fee

From 1 February 2024 onwards, preschool applications made through our central registration system will not incur an application fee.

Program (term) fees

From 2023 onwards, the Victorian State Government has announced that free kinder will be available for both 3 and 4-year-old preschool programs at participating services in sessional settings, and in long day care services offering a funded preschool program.

Timetables

Each preschool service sets their own timetables and session times. Please visit the website or call the individual service to find out further information. 

You can find future kindergarten term dates on the Victorian Department of Education website.

Find your nearest preschool and their contact details using our interactive family services map.

Can I apply for preschools in more than one Council area?

Yes. Nillumbik is bordered by Banyule, Manningham and Whittlesea. If you live close to the municipal boundary you can apply for preschools within multiple councils.

Applications need to be made directly to the relevant council:

How do I accept/decline/defer/cancel an offer of a preschool position?

Find out more about the preschool offer process.

What happens if a preschool has more registrations than places available?

The Priority Of Access policy will be applied.

In the event that registrations exceed places available, the central registration system will randomly allocate positions at each of the Priority Status levels.