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When your child can start preschool

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There are specific ages to start preschool.

Once you’ve worked out your child’s starting age, you can find out how to get a placement in your local preschool.

Between 1 January 2022 and 31 December 2025, the Australian Government will provide funding to the South Australian government to support the increase from 12 to 15 hours per week – or 600 hours a year – of quality preschool programs delivered by degree-qualified early childhood teachers to all South Australian children, regardless of the setting in which programs are delivered in the year before school.

In 2023, the Australian Government’s contribution is $1,378 per child.

Eligibility for preschool

Children are entitled to access 4 terms (1 year) of government preschool in the year before they start school.

We're introducing a mid-year intake into preschool. This means that from 2023 children who turn 4 years old:

  • before 1 May are eligible to start preschool at the beginning of the year.
  • on 1 May to 31 October can commence preschool through the mid-year intake at the start of term 3 of that year
  • after 31 October will be eligible to commence preschool at the start of the following year.

Find out more about preschool starting ages for Aboriginal children, children in care and children with disability or additional needs.

Regardless of whether your child starts at the beginning of the year, or through a mid-year intake they will undertake 4 terms of preschool.

If you’re unsure about the best time for your child to start preschool, talk to your preschool director or school principal about your options.

Calculate when your child can start preschool

Find out when your children can start preschool with our age calculator.

Enter your child's month and year of birth:

Preschool starting ages

Aboriginal children and children in care can start after they turn 3

If your child identifies as Aboriginal or if your child is or has been in care they’re eligible for 12 hours of preschool a week, after they turn 3. They will then be eligible for 15 hours per week of preschool in the year before they start school.

Children with disability or additional needs can start earlier

If you have a child with disability or additional needs they might be able to start preschool earlier if there are places available. Talk to the principal or director if this applies to you. Being given early entry to preschool does not guarantee early entry to school.

Your child may be eligible for extra support at preschool. Contact your local preschool to discuss if your child is eligible for the statewide Preschool Support program. For more information see disability support at preschool.

Immunisation requirements before starting preschool

Children cannot be enrolled in or attend preschool unless all immunisation requirements are met (No Jab, No Play).

Early childhood services immunisation requirements has more information.

General enquiries

Phone: 8226 1000
Free call: 1800 088 158
Email: education.customers [at] sa.gov.au