01 February 2023

Regional Victorian children and kids experiencing disadvantage will be the first to benefit from 30 hours of free Pre-Prep each week, as the Andrews Labor Government takes the next step in the nation-leading Best Start, Best Life early childhood education reform.

Member for Ripon Martha Haylett today welcomed the announcement of the roll-out schedule for Pre-Prep – a
program of 30 hours each week of teacher-led play-based learning, which will begin in selected areas from 2025, before expanding across the state.

Pre-Prep will start in 2025 in Ararat Rural City and Northern Grampians Shire – before other LGAs from across the state progressively join the roll-out in following years.

We know how important early learning is to a child’s development, so vulnerable children and Aboriginal children living outside the early roll-out areas will also be eligible for 30 hours of Pre-Prep every week from 2026, while children experiencing disadvantage will be eligible from 2028.

Those able to access Pre-Prep from 2026 include children from a refugee background, children known to child
protection and Aboriginal children. Children whose families hold Commonwealth concession cards will be eligible for Pre-Prep from 2028.

Pre-Prep programs will be delivered through sessional kindergartens and long day-care centres, creating a highquality, universal program that gives 4-year-old children greater opportunities to socialise, learn through play and best prepare them for their formal educational journey.

The staged roll-out of Pre-Prep follows the successful launch of Free Kinder, which is now saving every family in Victoria up to $2,500 in fees per child each year – giving more than 28,000 Victorians, the majority of whom are women, the flexibility to return to work if they choose.

Quotes attributable to Member for Ripon Martha Haylett

“Free Pre-Prep is a huge win for Ararat and St Arnaud families and will support local kids to get the best start to life.”

“It is so important that these once-in-a-generation reforms are coming to our rural communities first, with Ararat and St Arnaud families to benefit from 2025.”

“This announcement comes off the success of Free Three and Four-Year-Old Kinder which is now saving local families up to $2,500 in fees per child each year.”