In the ACT, if your child turns four on or before 30 April, they can start preschool the first day of term 1 that year. If your child turns four after 30 April, they can start preschool the first day of term 1 the following year.
Preschool for three-year olds
From the beginning of 2020, three year-old children who are most in need will be able to access 15 hours per week, 600 hours per year of free, quality early childhood education.
Eligible families will be contacted directly to be offered the opportunity to enrol their child.
For more information, see Early Education for Three Year-Olds.
Which preschool can I enrol my child in?
All four year old ACT children are guaranteed a place in a public preschool. However, you are not guaranteed a place at the preschool site of your preference, due to capacity constraints at some sites. All preschools offer a high-quality early childhood education.
Preschool places are not allocated on a first come first served basis. Preschool applications are prioritised in this order:
- Exceptional circumstances based on student wellbeing
- ACT-resident siblings of students concurrently enrolled in the primary school .
- Children living within the Priority Enrolment Area (PEA) of the primary school, up to the limits of available places.
- Where there are not enough places for all children living in the PEA of the primary school, applications will be ranked by ‘proximity’, that is the distance that your child lives from the preschool. The distance is measured ‘as the crow flies.
- The Directorate will find a place for all other children at a preschool, considering where your child lives and the number of remaining places.
Koori Preschool is an early childhood program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged three to five years. The play-based program has a strong focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identity and culture, literacy, numeracy, and transition to school. Children under the age of three are welcome to attend with a parent or adult carer. For more information, see Koori preschools.
Early Childhood Schools (Preschool - Year 2)
There are a small number of schools (called Early Childhood Schools) that provide early education and care from birth to year 2. Early Childhood Schools are based on the philosophy that learning begins at birth and supports a child’s learning and development through to their transition to school.
Early Childhood Schools provide educational programs and services that promote children’s health and wellbeing and help build strong relationships with families and communities, including making connections with community services.
Enrolment applications for Preschool to Year 2 in these schools are assessed against the following criteria, in the order of priority indicated:
- Exceptional circumstances, based on student wellbeing
- child lives in the ACT and has a sibling attending the school
- child lives in the ACT and attends the long daycare program at the school*
- child lives in the suburb where the school is located
- child lives elsewhere in the ACT
* For Franklin for 2021, a limit may be applied to this criterion depending on school capacity. Please note that this criterion does not apply to the O’Connor Cooperative School setting.