1. Preschoolers
  2. Play & learning
  3. Preschool

Preschool in your state

3-5 years

Each Australian state and territory has a different approach to preschool. The names of preschool services also vary from state to state.

Australian Capital Territory: preschool services

Preschools:

  • are known as preschools
  • operate close to, or on, school sites. In newer areas, preschools are often run next to child care centres
  • have no fees, but usually have a voluntary contribution levy.

For more information, visit ACT Government – Preschool matters.

New South Wales: preschool services

Preschools:

  • are known as preschools
  • usually charge fees, which are set by providers
  • are mostly operated as stand-alone kindergarten services – for example, community kindergartens or services delivered by non-state schools
  • might be offered as school-based, fee-free programs run by the Department of Education
  • sometimes offer flexible hours for working parents.

For more information, visit NSW Government – Preschool.

Northern Territory: preschool services

Preschools:

  • are known as preschools
  • are run by the Department of Employment, Education and Training
  • have no fees
  • sometimes offer flexible hours for working parents
  • might offer bus services in some areas.

For more information, visit NT Government – About child care services.

Queensland: preschool services

Preschools:

  • are known as kindergartens
  • have fees, which are set by providers
  • operate as either stand-alone kindergarten services, or as long day care centres
  • mostly operate close to, or on, school sites.

For more information, visit Queensland Government – Kindergarten programs.

South Australia: preschool services

Preschools:

  • are known as child parent centres, which operate within schools
  • are also known as kindergartens, which operate independently
  • have no fees, but some kindergartens ask for a voluntary contribution levy
  • might offer Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children the opportunity to access extra hours.

For more information, visit SA Government – Preschool and kindergarten.

Tasmania: preschool services

Preschools:

  • are known as kindergartens
  • have no fees
  • are linked to the school system.

For more information, visit Tasmanian Government – Kindergarten.

Victoria: preschool services

Preschools:

  • are known as preschools and kindergartens
  • are mostly run as stand-alone centres
  • have fees
  • are often managed by parent committees
  • are sometimes offered as programs in long day care centres, where they must be run by qualified kindergarten teachers if government funded
  • are offered as mobile services in remote areas.

For more information, visit Victorian Government – Kindergarten programs

Western Australia: preschool services

Preschools:

  • are known as kindergartens
  • operate within schools and day care centres and as independent centres
  • offer bus services
  • have no fees.

For more information, visit WA Department of Education – Kindergarten.

The Child Care Benefit can help to cover the cost of preschool, as long as children are fully immunised. In January 2016, the Australian Government introduced a ‘No Jab, No Pay’ policy. This means that if a child isn’t fully immunised, parents can’t get the Child Care Benefit. A free national immunisation catch-up program is available for all children. For more information, go to Australian Government Department of Social Services – No jab no pay.

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Last updated or reviewed
16-09-2016

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Raising Children Network is supported by the Australian Government. Member organisations are the Parenting Research Centre and the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute with The Royal Children’s Hospital Centre for Community Child Health.

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