Early Start Kindergarten gives eligible children 15 hours of free kindergarten per week, for two years before starting school.

To be eligible, your child must be three by 30 April in the year they start kindergarten, and:

► identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, or

► your family has had contact with Child Protection or Child FIRST.

Children who have used Early Start Kindergarten or are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander can access free Four-Year-Old Kindergarten through the Early Start Kindergarten Extension Grant.


Early Start Kindergarten provides children access to a 15 hour per week kindergarten program for two years.

Accessing high quality early childhood education for two years has a substantial and positive impact on a child’s cognitive, emotional, and social skills (Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation, 2018). Through play-based learning at kindergarten, your child will gain new or improved skills in a number of different areas, including:

► learning how to become an effective learner

► developing and extending their communication and language skills

► building self-confidence and social skills

► building understanding of identity and culture

► learning to be creative through arts, dance and music 

► developing skills in literacy and numeracy. 

Research shows that two years of kindergarten also has a bigger impact on children’s long term development and health compared with one year of kindergarten, which can lead to stronger academic outcomes at school (Fox and Geddes, 2016).