As a parent, one of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make in the first few years of your child’s life is where and what type of care they’ll receive.

Whether you want to go back to work, need the extra time to recharge yourself, or perhaps you’d like to expand your child’s personal development, it’s an important step. But with so many child care options to choose from, which one is right for your family?

Luckily, is here to help you find the perfect child care solution for your needs. We’re a free concierge service to help you quickly find the right child care centre. All you need to do is fill in our form, and you’ll receive a list of suitable child care options in your area, specifically tailored to your children’s needs. 

From there, you can save further time and effort by using our instantaneous online tour booking and enrollment functions. Best of all, there is no obligation when using as our service cost is absolutely free with no joining or cancellation fees. Request child care options in your area here.

Otherwise, if you’re still searching for information, we’ve unpacked Australia’s various child care options below.

Child Care in Australia

Every child deserves the best in life, as well as access to the highest quality education. This is why, in July 2018, the Australian Government made the most significant change to the early childhood and child care system in 40 years. The aim of this much-needed reform is to provide parents with more choice and flexibility to work, as well as more affordable options.

Fortunately, the recent Early Childhood and Child Care Summary reports that there is already an increase in those using child care services, with close to a million families across Australia with at least one child in approved child care. The average weekly hours of child care has increased, and since the implementation of the Child Care Subsidy, there has been an improvement in affordability across the country of more than 10%.

What is Child Care?

Child care or early childhood education is a blanket term which covers all early childhood education and care services for children aged 0 – 5 years before formal school begins. This is an opportunity to provide children with the necessary foundation blocks to develop their educational and social skills in a safe environment, while also supporting parents to continue working.

Throughout Australia, there has been a steady improvement in the language and cognitive skills of children starting school. By continuing to focus on preschool attendance, our children will feel better prepared for school.


Child Care Program Examples

Although child care refers to all types of care for children in Australia, there are many different options, each with their own unique features and advantages.

Whether you need one hour a day, one day a week, five days a week, or even overnight care there’s a child care program to suit every family, including: long day care, family day care, preschool, kindergarten, early learning, play school, private child care, home daycare, occasional care, and disability child care.

Below we’ll take a detailed look at each of these child care options, so that you have a better understanding of which one to choose.

Long Day Care

Long day care sometimes referred to as centre-based care — is especially useful for parents who work full-time jobs as this professional service can look after children for long hours, Monday – Friday.

Due to the flexibility of this arrangement, parents can drop their children off at the centre before they go to work and pick them up afterwards so that their working day is not affected.

What is Long Day Care / Long Day Care Definition

Long day care is provided by approved child care centres, which means they meet the standards of the National Quality Framework. They’re run by private companies, local councils, community organisations, individuals, non-profit organisations or by employers for their staff.


Generally, the building has been specifically designed for the purpose of child care and children are usually grouped into rooms according to their age and development stage. These child care centres are run by a mix of professional and other staff and generally have an early education component to their programme. They usually operate between 7:30 am and 6:00 pm and many offer meals throughout the day.

Long Day Care Providers

With so many quality long day care providers across Australia, you’re spoilt for choice, but this also means a lot of information to digest. However, if you fill out your details and requirements here, we will send you a personalised list of long day care centres in your area that suit your needs.

Family Day Care Services Australia

A Family Day Care service is a network of trained and registered educators who provide care for other people’s children in their own homes. It’s a great option for parents who would like a more intimate care experience for their children.

Educators have been carefully selected, and they are supervised under the Education and Care Services National Regulations. All educators receive regular compliance checks.

What is Family Day Care?

Family day care offers a nurturing, natural and flexible home learning environment. This child care service focuses on each individual child’s development while also providing high quality early learning.

There’s often a strong focus on providing experiences in the way of local excursions, such as trips to the shops or park. This provides valuable opportunities for children to explore the wider community.

Due to the flexibility that family day care brings, educators may offer their service outside of standard hours, including evenings, before/after school, during school holidays and in some cases overnight and weekends.

Family Day Care Requirements

Registered family day care educators can care for up to seven children at any one time, with no more than four children under school age. Educators must also have the following skills: first aid certificate, working with children check, home safety inspection, public liability insurance, as well as willingness to ensure their home and garden meet WH&S regulations and obtain proper, working equipment for education and play.

To effectively monitor these family day care requirements, educators work with an approved service that carries out regular visits to monitor the children’s individual development and provide support.


Family Day Care Scheme

Family day care schemes work in partnership with multiple family day care centres, providing them with helpful support and training. Essentially, it’s a management group that assists centres with an array of elements, such as licencing and keeping them on track with family day care regulations.

These schemes are in place to ensure that advice is always on hand so that family day care centres run smoothly and safely.

Family Day Care NSW

The NSW Family Day Care Association provides a hub of support, training and compliance to the network of Family Day Care services across New South Wales.

These are made up of over 8000 educators who dedicate themselves to the education and enrichment of young children in their care. All educators are assessed and rated against the National Quality Standard to ensure your child is safe and given appropriate opportunities to learn and develop.

Family Day Care Providers/Centres

With so many quality family day care centres across Australia, it can be tricky to narrow the choice down to suit your exact needs. However, if you fill out your details and requirements here, then we can send you a personalised list of family day care centres in your area.


Preschool, Kindergarten or Prep

The terms preschool, kindergarten and prep are often used interchangeably, and the terminology differs between each state, so it’s important to find the right information for your location.

Here’s a closer look at the education terms most commonly used in each state/territory

Year Before School

First Year of School

Second Year of School




Year 1




Year 1




Year 1




Year 1




Year 1




Year 1




Year 1




Year 1

What is Preschool?

In Australia, preschool also known as kindergarten — is the year before children go to school. View the preschool requirements in your state here.

Government legislation does not require your child to go to preschool, but it’s a great way to prepare your child for school, both socially and academically. In fact, research shows that children who participate in a quality early childhood education program for at least 600 hours in the year before school are more likely to arrive at school with the social, emotional and cognitive skills they need to actively engage in learning.

Preschool can be attended within a long day care centre or family day care program, which is perfect if you’re already attending one that your child enjoys. On the other hand, it can also be a standalone service provided by the department of education.

Standalone preschools open and close in line with public school terms – many operate between 9.00am and 3.00pm, and others have separate morning and afternoon sessions.

What is Kindergarten/Prep School?

Prep school also known as kindergarten, transition, reception or pre-primary starts at around the age of five or six years, with minor variations between the states. Prep is the first year of primary school education in Australia it starts in January and finishes in December.

Education in Australia is primarily the responsibility of each state and territory, so it’s important to find the exact starting age for your location. View your child’s starting age here.


Preschool and Kindergarten Rebate

The Child Care Subsidy was introduced in July 2018 as the primary way for the Government to assist families with their child care fees, including long day care, family care and preschool options.

This is generally paid directly to service providers, who then pass it on to families in the form of fee reductions. Families make a co-contribution to their child care fees and pay the provider the difference between the fee charged and the subsidy amount.

The amount of Child Care Subsidy you can receive depends on your circumstances, but three factors are considered: your combined annual family income, an activity level for both parents and which type of child care service you’re using.

Preschool and Kindergarten Providers/Centres

With so many quality preschool options across Australia, whether you prefer a long day care setting, family day care option or standalone preschool, you are spoilt for choice. However, if you fill out your details and requirements here, then we can send you a personalised list of preschools in your area that suit your needs.


Early Learning/Playschool Family Day Care

What is Playschool?

Playschool also known as playgroup gives parents and carers the opportunity to get together with their young children (usually babies, toddlers and preschool aged children) for a couple of hours each week. Here they connect, learn through play and most importantly, have fun.

If you are looking to help your preschooler make new friends while learning important social skills, a playschool is worth looking into.

What Happens at Playschool?

Held at a variety of community venues, playgroup activities may involve craft, indoor and outdoor play and morning tea. This gives families the opportunity to learn new ideas for playing at home, and to make new friends and share their experiences in a relaxed environment.

In a playschool, children have the opportunity to practice their social skills in a safe, familiar setting. On the other hand, adults gain friendship and support from people who understand exactly what they’re going through.


What is the Difference Between Playschool and Preschool?

There is a thin line of difference between playschool and a preschool. In a play school, the primary focus is to keep the child active and having fun, whereas a preschool’s focus is on the child’s holistic mental development.

Playschools do not follow any particular programme, whereas a preschool follows the Early Years Learning Framework.

Early Learning and Playschool Providers/Centres

Across Australia, you’ll find thousands of local playgroups. You can find the Playgroup Australia organisation in your state or fill out your details and requirements here so we can send you a personalised list of playschools in your area to suit your needs.


Private Child Care and Family Day Care

Families and the community can often be uncertain of the differences between commercial (for-profit) and community owned (not-for-profit) education and care services.

What is the Difference Between Community Owned Vs Private Child Care?

Community-owned education and care services are “owned” by parent committees, community groups or not-for-profit organisations, rather than individuals. They are run on a not-for-profit, break-even basis by voluntary parent and community committees of management. Usually schools, local government, church groups or tertiary institutions.

On the other hand, private child care operators make a profit. In fact, the child care services industry made almost $1 billion in profits last year, or more than one-eighth of what the government put into it in fee subsidies, according to IBISWorld’s report on the industry.

The child care sector is becoming an increasingly large business, with about half of all child care services (including out of school hours care and family daycare operations) provided by for-profit businesses.

Private Child Care Centres

Increases in demand for child care places over the past few years has captured the interest of private equity firms, which sees them buying large groups of centres, especially in long day care sector, such as the Guardian Early Learning Group.

In terms of future growth, recent planning data shows a surge in planning applications for newly-owned, privately operated long day care services across Australia

Therefore, you can expect to find the highest child care prices in privately owned centres, but you’ll still be able to claim from the new Child Care Subsidy if you’re eligible.


Occasional/Part-time Child Care

When you use occasional care services, you pay only for the hours you use, so this kind of care would suit you if you don’t need regular care, but do need someone to look after your child while you attend a meeting or have an appointment.

What is Occasional/Part-Time Care?

Occasional care also described as part-time, flexible or casual child care is a short-term, service-based child care option. When you use occasional care services, you only pay for the hours you use.

Families can access occasional care regularly, or on a casual basis as and when they need it. This service provides families with the flexibility to leave children in an early childhood learning environment on days and hours that best meets their needs.

What’s especially great about occasional care is that you have the option to find child care at short notice, as well as immediate emergency care. This option is available to all children, however, it’s usually suited for those who have not yet started school.

Occasional and Part-Time Child Care Centres

Occasional Child Care Australia (OCCA) is the peak body in Australia that organises occasional child care options. This representative organisation aims to provide information, membership support, and resources for anyone in the occasional care community.

You can also provide us with your details and requirements and we will send you a personalised list of occasional child care options in your area that suit your needs and requirements.

In-Home Child Care and Daycare Services

In-home or home-based care is a flexible child care option, which provides care in the family home.

What is In-Home Child Care?

In-home care is available to families who are unable to access centre based day care, such as long day care or family day care, due to their unique circumstances. It must be provided as part of an approved service, by an approved provider.

What is the Eligibility Criteria for In-Home Child Care?

One or more of the following criteria points must apply to be eligible:

  • Parents or carers are working non-standard or variable hours, outside normal child care service hours.
  • Parents or carers are geographically isolated from other types of approved child care, particularly in rural or remote locations.
  • The family has challenging or complex needs, including where families are experiencing difficult situations, and other approved child care services are not able to meet the needs of the child.

These challenging needs may include: a child with additional needs or a disability whose early childhood education and care requirements cannot be catered for in another approved child care setting; a family where a parent is undergoing treatment for a serious illness; or other complex family situations that prevent families from accessing other approved child care types.

In-Home Care Options: Hire a Nanny or Au Pair

If you’re considering in-home care options, but you don’t meet the above requirements, you may be interested in hiring a nanny or au pair to fit in with your family’s needs.


What is a Nanny?

A nanny is a professional carer who often has formal training in working with children. For some parents, the option to employ a nanny is a more flexible arrangement than formal child care. It’s also a nice idea that their children are being cared for in their own homes, which might save the family money if there is more than one child.

When you’re looking for a nanny, you should consider experience, qualifications and ‘fit’ with your family. If employing a nanny, you’ll probably need to formalise the nanny’s employment conditions.

Employing a Nanny

Likewise to any other employment situation, a nanny who is working with you on a regular basis needs an employment contract. They must be paid at or above the minimum wage set out in any relevant state award and you’ll have to pay superannuation if your nanny is working more than 30 hours a week.

People who use nannies are not currently automatically eligible to receive Child Care Benefit (CCB). However, some larger nanny agencies are registered as approved child care providers and therefore parents using their services can register for CCB and rebate. If you find your own nanny, they must apply to the Department of Human Services to become a registered provider.

What is an Au Pair?

An au pair is usually in the 18-30 age range from a foreign country. He or she joins your family and joins in as a full-fledged member of the team for a defined period of time (often from 3 – 12 months). Their job is to help with child care and family tasks while learning the language of the host country and benefiting from cultural exchange.

How much does it cost to employ an au pair?

In Australia, there isn’t an official au pair programme, according to the Fair Work Ombudsman. Whether an au pair is seen as an employee depends on the individual relationship, though in any case, au pairs are entitled to the national minimum wage and National Employment Standards.

In many cases, an au pair receives free board and lodging in your home as a fully integrated family member with his or her own room. Furthermore, au pairs often receive a regular amount of pocket money.


Disability Child Care

If your child has a disability, you may be eligible for in-home child services. However, if you’d like your child to attend an external child care program, this is well supported by Early Childhood Intervention Australia Ltd (ECIA). This is the peak national organisation for Australia to promote the interests of young children with developmental delay and/or disability, as well as their families and communities.

Children with Disability in Early Childhood Education and Care

ECIA collaborated with Early Childhood Australia (ECA) (an early childhood advocacy organisation) to produce a joint statement on the inclusion of children with disabilities in early childhood education and care. Within this statement, it is said:

“Our position is that children with a disability have the same rights as all children and additional rights because of their disability. They share with all children the right to be valued as individuals and as contributing members of families, communities and society.”

Every child has the right to access and join in with early childhood education activities and care programs, which recognise them as active thinkers in their own lives and learning. Every member of the child care sector should respond to children with disabilities as individuals and respect their families as partners.

This means that all early childhood education and care services and support professionals must be resourced and supported to the level required. This ensures they are able to fully include children with a disability and to achieve high-quality outcomes for all children.


In Summary

From long day care and family day care to occasional care and pre-school, the Australian child care market is saturated with plenty of options to choose from. However, after reading this article, you should feel more equipped to make an informed decision for your child/children.

If you require any further assistance, get in touch with the, a free child care concierge service. Simply fill in your child care needs and detail, and you’ll receive a personalised list of suitable options in your area.