Like the typical four-tier education system that most of the world revolves around, Australians go through kindergarten, primary, secondary and tertiary education. From there, you have training, vocational education, colleges and (ACE) adult community education.
The State Is Responsible for Providing Education
The main bodies responsible for providing education are the territories and states, but the federal government also plays a role—and a major one at that. However, there are some exceptions to the rule, namely: New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, where you will typically find the local council, privateer or community running the school.
Back to kindergarten: the states and territories vary in their choice of the minimum cut-off for school dates and children's ages.
The Minimum Age for School Eligibility
The age at which a child is required to start kindergarten and the age at which they are able to start kindergarten might not always be the same. Most of the territories or states require children to be enrolled by age of six, but this isn't always the case.
Kindergarten Isn't Compulsory
Depending on the state program, the compulsory enrollment age varies. Having said that, pre-prep programs or preschool or kindergarten programs don't have that much red tape and are not a requirement.
When to take your child to kindergarten
Kindergarten is typically accessible to children around four to five years old, but enrollment numbers vary with each state/territory. Normally, children are enrolled in kindergarten a year before joining primary school. The first social interaction of most Australian children outside of parenting, playgroups, and daycare is kindergarten. This social setting is not considered part of schooling, since kindergarten is considered separate from primary school education in Western Australia and to an extent in Queensland.
The Australian Academic Calendar
Each academic year has a total of four terms, with the first typically beginning mid-to-late January and ending on the 1st week of April. This is followed by a two-week vacation before school resumes in the last week of the same month, which lasts roughly till the last week of June.
This is followed by another two-week vacation before classes commence mid-July for the third term which goes on until end of September followed by a two-week holiday. Following the holiday, the children resume school in mid-October to mid-December. Between December and January is the long holiday which is also a hallmark for progression to the next academic level. For kindergarteners, they'd be graduating into primary school.
Contact your local kindergarten to learn more.