There are a number of procedures and requirements for enrolment in a department preschool.

Preschool fees vary across government schools with reference to the relative Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage (ICSEA) value of the school. The preschool fee schedule outlines the daily fees that schools should charge for attendance at a preschool.

General guidelines

  • Department preschools enrol children for one year only, the year before they start school.
  • Children can enrol from the beginning of the school year if they turn four years of age on or before 31 July that year.
  • Priority is given to:
    • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders
    • children living in low socio-economic circumstances
    • children who are unable to access other early childhood services due to disadvantage or financial hardship
  • The principal will offer enrolment in the following order, with priority given to Aboriginal children and those who are disadvantaged
    1. to children living within the school's enrolment catchment area
    2. to children living outside the school's catchment area and who have siblings enrolled in the school
    3. to children living outside the school's enrolment catchment area
  • The application to enrol in a NSW Government preschool (PDF 555KB) must be completed and submitted.
  • Documentation regarding immunisation must be supplied. The immunisation enrolment toolkit may assist.
  • Schools accept enrolment applications from the beginning of Term 2 the year before the child starts preschool.
  • When the number of applications exceeds availability, children's names will be placed on a waiting list. The school's placement panel will consider and prioritise these applications.
  • In exceptional circumstances, children may attend preschool for an additional year. This can only occur with the approval of the principal following discussions with both the parent and preschool teacher. If it is decided a child would benefit from a second year in preschool, they are considered a new application and prioritised in the same way as all new applicants.

Preschools designated for Aboriginal children

  • Eleven designated preschools cater specifically for Aboriginal children.
  • When vacancies occur every effort is made to ensure places are filled by Aboriginal children. If there are insufficient Aboriginal enrolments, places may be offered to non-Aboriginal children, although a buffer of two places must be maintained for future Aboriginal enrolments.
  • When prioritising applications, preschools in communities with significant numbers of Aboriginal children should liaise with the local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (AECG).

Distance education preschool programs

  • A limited number of preschools offer programs through distance education for geographically isolated children, unable to access any other children's services.
  • Designation of sites that provide preschool programs via distance education is determined on a needs basis every three years.
  • Find more information on the Rural and distance education site.

Temporary visa holders in preschools

  • Preschool children who are temporary visa holders may enrol in departmental preschools under the same conditions as Australian citizens. However, some short-term visa holders are ineligible.
  • Temporary residents who hold visitor/tourist visas are not eligible for enrolment.
  • Schedule of visa subclasses and enrolment conditions (PDF 104KB) provides eligibility information on the temporary visa subclasses.
  • Temporary visa holders are required to pay preschool class fees although they do not have to pay the temporary resident's fee.

Support for a child with a disability

Learning and wellbeing officers provide support for teaching children with a disability. The following may also provide assistance.

  • the learning and support program in your school
  • the process to support children with disabilities in departmental preschools which includes a profile to determine the needs of a child with a disability
  • Every Student, Every School
  • Transition to school—a resource for children with disabilities

Contact your learning and wellbeing officer in your local school services team.

Early intervention classes

Enrolment in early intervention classes is through an access request application process. Contact your local learning and wellbeing officer for further information.

Return to top of page