Finding centre-based child care and family day care services
It’s a good idea to register with any services that you’re interested in. It’s OK to register with more than one service, or put your child on more than one waiting list, because you might not get all the days you need from one service alone.
Comparing centre-based and family day care services: checklist
When you’re looking at centre-based and family day care services, the checklist below can help you compare how different services will help your child develop and learn. This will give you a good basis for deciding on the right service for your family.
- Is there a chance for quiet time or rest during the day?
- Are there plenty of opportunities for your child to engage with nature?
- Will your child have the chance to explore and create?
- Do toileting, nappy changing and rest times meet individual needs?
Early childhood educators and carers: relationships with children
- How many educators are there? Is there at least 1 educator for every 4 babies?
- How often do you see educators engaging with children?
- Do educators encourage, respect and care for children?
- How do educators guide children’s behaviour?
- Is every child treated like an individual?
Facilities and setting
- Is the environment stimulating and safe?
- Does the centre or home have a relaxed and happy atmosphere?
- Does the centre or home seem interesting, with plenty of light, toys and activities?
- Is there plenty of room and outdoor equipment for your child to enjoy?
Fees and payment requirements
- What are the service fees?
- What fees are payable for days you don’t attend? For example, what do you pay when you’re on holidays or if it’s a public holiday?
- Can you get government assistance for child care? If you can, you’ll pay less than the quoted price.
Meals and snacks
- Does the service supply meals and snacks, or do you need to send food with your child?
If the service provides meals and snacks:
- Does the service offer a healthy selection of snacks and drinks?
- Do snacks and meal arrangements meet children’s individual needs?
- Does the service follow Australian dietary guidelines for children? Can the service show you its menu and nutrition policy?
Play and learning
- What does the service do to help your child learn and develop? Is there a plan on display that explains the service’s learning and development program?
- Will child care educators and carers report back on your child’s day?
- Is there easy-to-access information about the service’s policies, level of staff training, hygiene and discipline procedures?
Relationships with parents
- Do you feel welcome to discuss issues with educators?
- Can you and your child do an orientation program?
- Can you drop in at any time to visit and observe your child in the environment?
- Are family members encouraged to get involved in activities?
- What is the service’s policy on enrolling children who aren’t up to date with immunisations?
- What happens if your child is sick?
- What happens if you’re late for a pick-up?
- Who else can pick up your child?
- What should you pack for your child?
- How can you help your child adjust to child care?
Education and care services across Australia are assessed by their state and territory regulatory authority and rated according to the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care. You can find more information and service ratings on the Starting Blocks website.