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Enrolling in Preschool

Enrolment Ages

In the ACT, if a child turns four on or before 30 April, they can start preschool the first day of term 1 that year. If a child turns four after 30 April, they can start preschool the first day of term 1 the following year.

Preschool for 3 Year Olds

As announced by Minister Berry, the ACT Government will incrementally introduce early childhood education for three-year-old children, as a key part of the ACT Early Childhood Strategy. The first phase will be targeted to those who have the greatest need, and families that are eligible will be contacted directly to be offered the opportunity

You will only be able to enrol your child if the Directorate contacts you first.

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.

Preschool places are not allocated on a first come first served basis. Preschool applications are prioritised in this order:

All public preschools offer a high quality early childhood education.

Koori Preschool

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. Visit the link to Koori preschools for more information.

What Happens Next?

Enrolment Timeline

Enrolment applications are assessed against the common set of criteria above, regardless of when the application is received.

The timelines for assessing applications for preschool for 2020 follow the timeline below:

2019 Timeline for 2020 ACT public preschool enrolments word icon (120kb)
2019 Timeline for 2020 ACT public preschool enrolments pdf icon (280kb)

Please be advised that the Directorate has amended the previously published Round 2 preschool dates, following feedback received.

When Will I Hear About My Application?

Offers for preschool places in 2020 will be made in two rounds.

Round One offers will be made from 29 July 2019 for applications received before 5 p.m. on Friday 7 June.

It is possible that not all applicants will receive a Round One offer if there are not enough places at the preschool that you applied for. You will be contacted by the Directorate and you will still be guaranteed a place at a preschool.

Round Two offers will be made from 21 October 2019. These will be for all applicants who did not receive a Round One offer, plus any applications submitted between 8 June and 13 September 2019.

All applicants will receive an offer in Round Two. If you have not received an email offer of a place by Friday 25 October you should contact the preschool you applied to.

If you apply for preschool after 13 September 2019, the Directorate will find a place for your child in a preschool that has remaining places.

What Information Will I Need To Accept An Offer Of Enrolment?

Once you have received an offer of enrolment, you accept the offer by arranging a school visit and taking:

*The following documents will be taken as proof of residence: a current rates notice or residential lease, together with a current electricity or gas notice. The school might ask for additional or alternative documents if you cannot provide a rates notice, residential lease and/or gas or electricity notice. Your letter of offer will provide further details.

Review and Appeals Process

Preschool places are allocated according to the preschool prioritisation criteria at Enrolling in Preschool.

If you are not satisfied with an enrolment decision, you can ask first for a review of the decision by writing (email or letter) directly to the school. Please see the ‘Public Schools in the ACT’ listing for contact details. You should provide any information and documentation which support your request. The school principal will conduct the review based on the enrolment criteria at Enrolling in Preschool .

Appeal Process

If you are still not satisfied with the school’s review of the preschool enrolment decision, you can ask for an appeal through the Education Directorate’s Education Support Office.

Preschool appeals will be heard after 21 October, when Round Two offers have been made.

Please put in writing any further supporting evidence for the enrolment application. You must include reasons related to preschool enrolment criteria at Enrolling in Preschool in your appeal application.

Requests for appeals can emailed to, or by writing to:

Enrolment Appeals
School Operations
PO Box 158
Canberra ACT 2601


Frequently Asked Questions – Preschool