01 JunMinimum starting age info for funded three-year-old programs in Vic
Is your Victorian Early Childhood Education and Care service expanding to a funded three-year-old program? Read on for handy information regarding the minimum starting age of children in your three-year-old program.
In line with the school starting age in Victoria (which stipulates that children born between January and April can start school at four years of age), some children will be two years old when their three-year-old Kindergarten year starts.
Under the National Quality Framework, the minimum educator to child ratio for children under three is 1:4. For children over three years of age the ratio is 1:11. For services that can cover the required ratios for children under three years old, these children will be able to attend your funded three-year-old program.
For others (where the service can’t meet ratio requirements for children under three) they will be able to attend once they turn three years old. Vic DET will fund these children for the full duration of their enrolment, even before they are able to attend.
In circumstances where children are not given access to the program from the beginning of the kindergarten year because they are not yet three years old, fees cannot be charged by a service for the period for which the child cannot attend. Where an enrolment deposit is charged by a service, this should be netted off the fees that apply once the child starts attending.
As every child’s development is unique, services should work with families to consider the best time for a child to start three-year-old kindergarten. Families should be encouraged to talk to your service’s kindergarten teachers and other early childhood professionals such as Maternal Child Health nurses to help inform their decision.
For more information about the minimum age of attendance and other reform requirements please refer to the DET policy and funding letter sent to services in April or speak with your local Early Childhood Improvement Branch.