In Australia, we’re lucky enough to have access to lots of different child care options and some of the best early childhood education programs in the world.
Long Day Care and Family Day Care are two of the most popular choices when it comes to providing formal care for our little ones. Which is most suited to your family?
Long Day Care
For working parents, long day care centres can be a saviour! They tend to operate between the hours of 7am and 6.30pm and provide everything your child needs during the day including nappies, snacks and meals.
Long Day Care centres operate within the grounds of formal child care centres. They are stringently regulated and required to adhere to the National Quality Framework (NQF) Standards of Australia.
Children can start at 6 weeks of age and continue until school age. Depending on the size of the centre, children are likely to be grouped by age and separated into rooms with children of a similar age. Groups are usually much larger than those at family day care and the children have beneficial opportunity to mix with a wide variety of children.
Family Day Care
For parents seeking an intimate environment more closely aligned with the family home, family day care may be the option for you. Approved family day care educators provide care for children in their own house. Some children find it easier to adjust to this type of environment because it’s more representative with that of their own home.
During the day, children primarily enjoy the care of a single educator. And importantly, children and families are eligible for the same government funding benefits that apply to long day care centres.
Family day care providers are responsible for adhering to the same NQF standards and are audited in the same way as long day care centres. A maximum of 4 under school age children may attend, including those belonging to the provider. Also permitted are 3 additional school aged children outside of school hours.
Family day care centres offer a flexible environment with some operating similar hours to long day care. The provider is also permitted to operate on weekends, evenings or holidays and this opens up some wonderful options for parents who work shift work or want to enjoy a well-deserved break on the weekend!
For families with more than one child, family day care offers the opportunity for siblings to be cared for in the same group as their brother or sister, without separating them due to differences in age.
Rest assured that both day care options will provide quality care, tailored to the individual needs of your child. Why not visit both types of centres before making your decision? Reach out to centres in your local community or near your place of work to find one that feels like a good match for your family.