Frequently Asked Questions
If you are looking for care, here are some questions you should be asking the centre.
Most LDC centres open between 6am and 7am, and close between 6pm and 7pm. It's important to make sure the operating hours suit your schedule. In addition, some centres provide before and after school care (OSHC) for school age children up to 12 years of age. Check with the centre if this is an important consideration for you.
Most LDC centres are licensed to care for children between 6 weeks and 5 years of age. It's important to make sure the enrolment age matches your needs.
This refers to the building and yards surrounding the centre in which your child will attend, including the educational resources (e.g. toys, educational aids, consumables such as paints etc.). A tour of the facility is a must if you are to make an informed assessment of the centre's facilities and resources.
Kindergarten, also known as Kindy, is a part-time educational program for children in the year before school. Government-approved Kindy programs are delivered by a qualified Early Childhood Teacher (ECT). If a centre does not have an ECT in their Kindy room, they can still care for your children, however, they cannot deliver an accredited Kindy program. Your child must be 4 years old by 30 June to participate in Kindy. To help identify a Government-approved program, look for the 'Kindy tick'.
All LDC centres in Australia operate under the National Quality Framework (NQF) as administered by the Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA). ACECQA audits centres against the NQF and rates centres as:
- Needing Significant Improvement
- Working Towards
Most centres in Australia have undergone at least one audit, but some are yet to be assessed. If a centre has been audited, the results should be displayed in the centre foyer or entrance. This rating system provides an unbiased ranking of the centre, and can be used to assess the quality of the centre's operations against all other assessed centres.
A perception exists that family-owned and operated centres have a more personal approach, whereas corporate-owned centres have a less personal touch. Conversely, a perception exists that family-owned centres are run less professionally than corporate centres. It's important you make your own assessment, therefore we strongly recommend you visit all of the centres you are considering and talk directly with management and the educators. It will not take you long to form an opinion on which centre is right for you.
Many centres provide food (morning and afternoon tea, and lunches) for the children. Those that do provide food have the option of preparing the meals themselves with their own on-staff cook, or they can purchase prepared meals from catering companies. If the provision of meals is important to you, be sure to find out if the centre provides meals and how they are prepared.
Many centres provide extracurricular activities for children including music programs, sports programs, arts programs, language programs, yoga lessons etc. If these types of activities are important to you, ask the centre what activities are provided and if there are additional fees associated with these activities.
All childcare centres charge fees for their services. You may be eligible for government subsidies. Childcare Benefit (CCB) and Childcare Rebate (CCR) are two common subsidies that most parents can access (these will change in July 2018 to CCS). Other subsidies exist, such as GCCB and Jobs Education and Training. The centres should be able to walk you through what is available and help you make an informed decision.
This is hard to define as different centres will appeal to different people. It is critical to make a personal assessment by visiting the centre. We like to call it the 'centre mojo' and you will know if the vibe is right for you, right away!
Some centres actively encourage parent involvement and it is an important part of their DNA, other centres value this less. Examples of parent involvement include parent play days, working bees in the centre, Mother's Days, Father's Day and Grandparent's Day activities, and even movie nights. If involvement in the centre is important to you, be sure to direct some of your questions to this area because not all centres are created equal.
Some centres have very strong relationships with schools, local businesses, local charities and the wider community. Be sure to find out what community activities the centre is involved in.