Families can expect to save up to $2,500 over the 2023 calendar year.
We're participating in the Victorian Government's Free Kinder program. The program provides up to 15 free hours of three and four-year-old kindergarten.
As a result, families can expect to save up to $2500 over this calendar year for each child enrolled in our funded kindergarten programs.
Free Kinder is a critical part of the Victorian Government’s 'Best Start, Best Life' reform.
The program is available for all our Victorian Early Learning Centres.
All families with a child enrolled in a funded kindergarten program are eligible for the Free Kinder program.
This includes families who attend either our integrated kindergarten (through long day care) or sessional kindergarten programs.
Attending multiple services
We understand that some children attend both long day care at a YMCA Early Learning Centre and sessional kindergarten at another local provider or within our YMCA Early Learning Centre.
However, families can only receive Free Kinder funding for one service at any one time. If a child attends multiple services that offer a Victorian Government funded free kindergarten program, families must specify the service they wish to claim.
Families can receive funding for one year in a three-year-old kindergarten program and one year in a four-year-old kindergarten program.
The Victorian Government provides Free Kinder funding directly to service providers (like the Y), not directly to families. We then pass the funding to you as a reduction in your fees.
Families who attend a sessional kindergarten program will not have to pay any fees for sessional kindergarten.
For integrated kindergarten programs, the Victorian Government will provide Free Kinder payments up to a value of $2000. We'll pass this funding to you as a weekly credit of $50.00 on your statement.
This is because our kinder programs run for 40 weeks during term time, so we spread out the total amount of funding ($2000) into 40 equal payments of $50.00 across the year.
Kinder programs don't run during the school holidays, so you won’t see a credit on your statement during that time. However, your child can still attend day care. You just won't receive Free Kinder funding during this time.
Our kindergarten programs
Our early learning centres offer the following funded kindergarten programs:
- integrated kindergarten: which features a funded kindergarten program that is combined with long day care (this program is offered at all our centres within Victoria);
- sessional kindergarten: which operates for a few hours over set days and does not include access to long day care (this program is only offered at Lightning Reef, Derrimut, Mernda, and Truganina South).
Visit the Department of Education and Training's website for further information on the Free Kinder program.
If you have any questions about this funding or kindergarten in 2023, please contact us via our current families contact form or call (03) 8371 0500 during our business hours (Monday to Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm, excluding public holidays).
Frequently asked questions
How many hours do I need to attend to be eligible for Free Kinder?
Three year old children receive Free Kinder funding for up to 15 hours of kindergarten per week. To be eligible, your child must attend the total funding hours offered at their centre.
Four year olds will need to be enrolled in 15 hours of kindergarten per week.
What if my child attends less than 15 hours of kinder?
Free Kinder is provided via a pro-rata approach for three-year-old kindergarten. This applies regardless of whether the program is delivered in a long day care or sessional (standalone) setting.
Three-year-old kindergarten programs that deliver 15 hours per week, per child, will receive the full $2000 or $2500 amount of funding per enrolled child, based on delivery setting.
Examples of pro-rata funding amounts are outlined below.
Service type 5 hours 7.5 hours 10 hours 15 hours Sessional $833.33
$1250 $1666.67 $2500 Long day care
$666.67 $1000 $1333.33 $2000
How can I get Free Kinder funding?
If your child is three or four years old and attends kindergarten at one of our early learning centres, you'll be eligible for Free Kinder funding – as long as you do not also receive Free Kinder at another child care service.
If you're eligible, you should contact your early learning centre for instructions on how to apply.
What if I have more than one child enrolled?
Free Kinder is available for each child you have enrolled in a kindergarten program. This means you could save up to $2500 per child each year.
Can I receive funding for integrated kinder if my child attends a separate sessional kinder?
All children enrolled in a funded kindergarten program at a participating service are eligible for Free Kinder. However, children can only receive Free Kinder funding at one service.
If your child attends more than one service that offers a funded kindergarten program (such as a sessional service for some days and a long day care service on other days), you must nominate which service you wish to receive Free Kinder funding from.