South-west families will have access to free three and four-year-old kindergarten from 2023 as further details about the new program emerge.
Free kinder will be available in both standalone kindergarten and long day care settings for children.
Participating kindergarten programs will receive funding directly from the state government and families with kinder-aged children in long day care will receive a $2000 subsidy.
A 15 hour per week program will be available to four-year-old children and a five to 15 hour program will be available to three-year-old children per week.
When the government announced free kinder in June it said it would save families up to $2500 per child per year. Despite the fanfare, south-west families and centres were unclear about the eligibility criteria and if it would include private and long daycare centres.
It's since been announced all Victorian early childhood education and care providers that deliver a funded kindergarten program will be eligible for free kinder funding from 2023.
Warrnambool City Council sessional kindergarten attendees will receive 15 hours at no cost in 2023.
A council spokesman said participating kindergarten programs would receive funding directly from the government, so families weren't out of pocket and wouldn't have to claim the savings back.
Children at centre-based council childcare for kindergarten would receive a $2000 subsidy per year - an account credit of $500 per term, to reduce kinder fees, he said.
This subsidy will offset the kindergarten program component of the out-of-pocket fees.
"Long day care centres will be required to pass on the full amount to parents as a direct reduction in their out-of-pocket fees," the spokesman said.
"This will provide a free program for some families and a significantly reduced cost for other families, depending on service fees, the number of days attended, and the amount of Commonwealth subsidy received."
He said despite a "significantly greater demand" for places in 2023, enrolments won't be capped. First round registrations closed June 24.
Moyne Shire Council corporate and community cervices manager David Rae said three and four-year-old kinder would be free across council services.
"Enrolments for 2023 closed in July and we have no concerns about capacity at our kindergartens," Mr Rae said.
"Council has not needed to place a cap on enrolments. Additional staff or modifications to buildings are not required at this stage."
IN OTHER NEWS
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Now just one tap with our new app: Digital subscribers now have the convenience of faster news, right at your fingertips with The Standard:
Have you signed up to The Standard's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in the south-west.