Many parents wonder when to enrol their children into a kindergarten program. To work this out, you can work backwards from when your child will be starting school. Schooling is compulsory for children between the ages of 6 and 17 (unless an exemption has been granted). Your child must be enrolled to start their first year of school in the year they turn six.
This means that students will attend:
three-year-old kindergarten the year they turn four, and
four-year-old kindergarten in the year they turn five
There is an exception for children born from January 1 to April 30. A child who turns 5 years by 30th April may enrol in or attend a school in the year before they turn six. This means families have a choice of sending their child to school the year they turn five, or the year they turn six.
If your child has a birthday between January 1 and April 30, they may attend:
three-year-old kindergarten the year they turn four, OR the year they turn three, and
four-year-old kindergarten either the year they turn five, OR the year they turn four
The above information has been sourced from the Victorian State Government Enrolment Guidance webpage.
What To Consider:
There are many things families should consider when deciding which year to enrol their children into a kindergarten program:
- Children will not be able to attend the kindergarten service until they turn three, which means some children may miss out on the initial weeks or term if they start at a younger age.
- Your child cannot do two years of three-year-old kindergarten. The government has announced that they will not fund a second year of three year old kindergarten for students. Students will transition into the four year old program and families and kindergarten teachers can then apply for a second year of four-year-old kindergarten if a child meets the criteria for needing an extra year.
- Think about whether you would like your child to be amongst the oldest or youngest of the class when they start school.
- It is important that families assess their child’s individual skills and needs when considering which year to start kindergarten. This may include your child’s ability to separate from care-givers, whether your child requires a rest in the afternoon, your child’s communication skills, and the emotional and social maturity of your child.
- Parents are encouraged to discuss this decision with an early childhood teacher, Maternal and Child Health Nurse, Prep teacher or other professional involved in supporting the learning and development of their child.
Below is an informative video put together by the Moonee Valley City Council which has a section about kindergarten readiness (this section begins at the 6 minute mark).
The Moonee Valley City Council have an Age Calculator to help families understand when to enrol their children which you may find useful: