Community Child Care Association gives ‘cheat sheet’ for three year old kinder

Community Child Care Association gives ‘cheat sheet’ for three year old kinder

by Freya Lucas

April 29, 2021

As more Victorian early childhood services look to roll out three-year-old kinder in 2022, the Community Child Care Association has provided the following guidance for those who wish to offer the service now, or in the new year. 


The information below was first published in Roundtable magazine, and has been reshared here with permission. To access the original story, please visit the Community Child Care Association website


What’s happened so far?


The rollout of three-year-old kinder kicked off in 2020 with Victorian children’s services in six regional local government areas offering up to 15 hours a week. In 2021, Victorian children’s services in another 15 local government areas are also offering up to 15 hours a week, with numbers to build again in 2022. 


What next?


From the beginning of next year, all remaining Victorian children’s services can provide funded three-year-old kinder programs – however, only for five hours a week.


From 2023 through to 2028, Victorian children’s services can decide (based on their operational capacity) how many hours they offer – from five hours a week right up to fifteen.


From 2029, Victorian children’s services must provide 15 hours of three-year-old kinder each week to be eligible for the funding.


What rates will services get?


The rates will be exactly the same as they are for four-year-old kinder (including all the wraparound funding available for four-year-old kinder too).


From 2023, services will be funded for the hours that you offer, up to a maximum of 15 hours per week.


Children will only be able to receive one additional year of funding – this must be in their fourth year.


Can children attend if they haven’t turned three yet?


Children must turn three before April 30 in the year they attend three-year-old kinder.


Services must meet ratio requirements at all times (this may look different before 30 April if  younger children are present).


Services can use an operational model that best suits their needs – for example by:


o Employing an additional educator until all children are three

o Holding a place for children until they turn three if the service is a standalone kinder or the child has not previously attended long day care at the service.


The Department will still pay the full kinder subsidy for children who are not attending before they turn three.


What about Early Start Kindergarten?


This funding will continue until 2029 when 15 hours of funded three-year-old kinder is available across the state.


It is important that all eligible children continue to be enrolled for the full 15 hours that the Early Start Kindergarten program offers.


What model should services choose?


Here, the Community Child Care Association advises services to think about what will work best for them. There are no minimum number of enrolments to be eligible for the funding.


Example models for long day care services


Example model 1: 


Children attend two days of three-year-old kinder.


7.5 hours of funded kinder each day:


  • Children attend on days of families’ choice
  • Mixed grouping
  • Children can attend long day care at your service on other days of the week if needed.


Example model 2: 


Children attend three shorter sessions of three-year-old kinder with wraparound care.


5 hours of funded kinder each day with wraparound care:


  • Children attend on days of families’ choice
  • Mixed grouping
  • Children can attend long day care at the service on other days of the week if needed
  • The service has the option to only employ a teacher part-time (15 hours plus planning).


Example model 3: Integrated model 


Three- and four-year-old kinder combined


Integrated kinder (up to 22 children) available between 7:30 am and 5:30 pm for

funded hours


  • Requires three full-time early childhood teachers


  • Two teachers must always be available in the room (one is responsible for the three-year-olds, and the other for the four-year-olds)


  • The third teacher will cover planning.


What should services be doing now?


  • Planning a workable three-year-old kinder model – for services who are not sure which model will work best, call the free helpline on (03) 9486 3455 to unpack this with the Community Child Care Association.


  • Planning how to staff the model in 2022. Here, the Association suggests looking to any internal staff who are near to the completion of their Bachelor degree, or seeking to employ an additional teacher ahead of time. 


  • “If you need to recruit, start soon – mid-year is a good time as demand is high,” Community Child Care advised.


  • Promoting the three-year-old kinder program to families





  • Starting enrolments.

Further information about three-year-old kinder is available here.