When to start kindergarten?

Kindergarten starting ages are generally determined by the child’s date of birth, however families with children who were born between 1 January and 30 April have additional choices available to them. When your child starts kindergarten relates to the age they will start primary school. When enrolling at Three-Year-Old Kindergarten, we encourage families to consider the age they would like their child to start at primary school. Children cannot start kindergarten until they have had their 3rd birthday.

With the introduction of free 3-year-old kindergarten in 2023, it is more important than ever for families to make an informed decision about when their child should start kindergarten. Families can no longer elect for their child to undertake two years of 3- year-old kindergarten. Without exception, the Department of Education and Training (DET) will only provide one year of 3-year-old kindergarten and families cannot opt to pay for a second year. The DET guidelines state that a second funded year of 4-year-old kindergarten can only be granted where a child has delays in at least two developmental areas.

Important Information:  We would like to ensure that families enrolling their children in 3-year-old kindergarten, understand that the child must progress to 4-year-old kindergarten the following year and then on to school.

Online kindergarten starting age calculator


It is a family’s decision when they want their child to start kindergarten and ultimately school however we welcome the opportunity to talk with you about what may be best for your child to support their social and emotional development through play-based learning.


In 2023 Bethany Kindergarten Services is offering up to 15 hours per week of first year (3 year old) kindergarten. Some kindergarten groups will have children in first year (3 year old) kindergarten while others will have some children in first year (3 year old) kindergarten AND some in second year (4 year old) kindergarten. These groups are referred to as multi-aged or combined groups.

Combined groups that bring together children aged three to five years old, offer unique opportunities for learning and development. In communities where children grow up in smaller families the benefits of learning from younger or older peers is even more significant. In these groups all children are supported to access resources, materials and experiences that match their interests and skills as well as those that challenge them to extend their capabilities.

Combined groups have great potential to support children’s social and emotional learning. Children who are settled and older often take on leadership roles and support those who are less capable and competent than they are, while at the same time building their own self-confidence and self-esteem. They model turn taking and sharing. Children with no younger siblings at home have opportunities to ‘be a big sister or brother’ and nurture and help others as well as form relationships with younger children.

BKS kindergarten programs are designed to meet the needs of local families. Educators adapt the curriculum and their teaching strategies to support children’s development and maximise the educational benefits for the group. Play spaces are designed spaces to meet the needs of all the children in the group. All BKS kindergarten programs are planned and delivered by qualified early childhood teachers using the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework. This makes sure the programs are right for children’s ages. All BKS Kindergartens are Meeting or Exceeding the National Quality Standards for Early Childhood Education and Care.

Research shows that play-based learning is the best way to help young children learn, develop well and prepare to thrive at school. Play based learning appeals to children’s natural curiosity and desire to engage in experiences based on their interests, strengths and developing skills as they make sense of their world around them. Play promotes the holistic development (physical, social, emotional, cognitive and creative) of a child and depending on how it is utilised, may also support a broad range of literacy and numeracy skills. The teacher’s role in scaffolding play and opportunities for large blocks of uninterrupted and unhurried time rather than small amounts of time to explore is pivotal.

Play-based learning provides opportunities for children to actively and imaginatively engage with people, objects and the environment. When playing, children may be

  • organising,
  • constructing
  • manipulating
  • pretending
  • exploring
  • investigating
  • creating
  • interacting
  • imagining
  • negotiating and
  • making sense of their worlds.