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Your first step into early childhood education & care


Click here for video transcript

Starting Blocks provides parents with information about early childhood education and care.

Starting Blocks is a starting point to: 

Our aim is to provide you and your family with trusted information, all in one place – welcome to Starting Blocks. 

Starting Blocks is brought to you by the Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA). ACECQA is the national body, overseeing the implementation of the National Quality Framework (NQF), which has been developed to improve the standard of education and care. 

Another important thing to note.....

There are many different terms used for early childhood education and care services in Australia.

Families commonly refer to it as ‘child care’ but early childhood education and care covers all services for children aged birth – 5 years, before formal school starts.

This includes: 

  • long day care
  • family day care
  • preschool/kindergarten 
  • occasional care.

These terms are used interchangeably throughout this website, but they all refer to services for children aged from birth – 5 years. 

And one last thing.....

While we use the words ‘education’ and ‘early learning’ when talking about these services, we are not referring to formal classroom education which occurs when children start school.

Children learn through a range of play-based activities, from playing peek-a-boo with a baby to preschoolers playing dress-ups.

All of these activities build a strong foundation for the development of children’s social, emotional, physical, cognitive and language skills. The early years of life are one of the periods of greatest brain development and building a strong foundation in the early years increases the probability of positive outcomes for children in school and through to adulthood.


  • Search a child care or preschool near you
  • Watch the video above to learn about the different types of child care.