Priority of access for early childhood education

This criteria must be used by service providers when prioritising enrolments.

Service providers must notify all families of the priority of access policy that applies when they enrol their child.


In instances where more eligible children apply for a place at a kindergarten service than there are places available, services must:

  • prioritise children based on the criteria listed below
  • work with other local kindergarten services and the regional Department office to ensure all eligible children have access to a kindergarten place.

This criteria must be used by service providers when prioritising enrolments. Funding guidance is available from the Department's regional offices if required.

High priority children

High priority children

Process that could be used to verify need(s)

Children at risk of abuse or neglect, including children in Out-of-Home Care

The child is attending a three year old kindergarten program through Early Start Kindergarten or Access to Early Learning, or is referred by:

  • Child Protection
  • Child and family services (family services referral and support team, Child FIRST/integrated family services/Services Connect case worker)
  • Maternal and Child Health nurse, or
  • Out-of-Home Care provider

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children

As part of the enrolment process, service providers must respectfully ask families ‘is your child Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander?’ and record this information in KIM.

Asylum seeker and refugee children

An appropriate visa identifies the child and/or parents as a refugee or asylum seeker.

Children eligible for the Kindergarten Fee Subsidy

  • A child or parent holds a Commonwealth Health Care Card, Pensioner Concession Card, Veteran’s Affairs Card, or
  • multiple birth children triplets or quadruplets

Children with additional needs, defined as children who:

  • require additional assistance in order to fully participate in the kindergarten program
  • require a combination of services which are individually planned
  • have an identified specific disability or developmental delay
The child:
  • is assessed as having delays in two or more areas and is declared eligible for a second funded year of kindergarten
  • holds a Child Disability Health Care Card
  • has previously been approved for Kindergarten Inclusion Support Package, or referred by:
  • the National Disability Insurance Scheme
  • Early Childhood Intervention Service
  • Preschool Field Officer, or
  • Maternal and Child Health nurse

Locally agreed criteria for children not identified as high priority

Service providers may apply one or more locally agreed criteria to prioritise children and determine the order in which offers are made, such as residential proximity or a demonstrable link to the service.

This criteria must be documented and communicated with families and kindergarten places should be allocated in accordance with anti-discrimination and human rights laws.