Choosing and getting ready for a children's education and care service can be an exciting time for you and your child. So, the earlier you start preparing, the better and our Find Child Care tool is here to help.
It's a good idea to start thinking about your options early, including the days and hours you might need.
There are various types of early childhood education and care services and most are regulated under the National Quality Framework (NQF) including:
Other services like occasional care, In Home Care, crèches, mobile services and some school holiday care programs are not regulated under the NQF. They may be regulated under other state legislation.Our factsheet on service types provides more information.
Many services have waiting lists so it could be a good idea to join a few.
Approved services across Australia are required to meet high national standards to ensure your child is safe and is given opportunities for learning and development on a regular basis. These services are given National Quality Standard (NQS) quality ratings to help families choose the best service for their child and family.
Services are rated against seven NQS quality areas:
Services are given a rating for each of the seven NQS quality areas and an overall rating based on these results.
Services may be rated
Services rated Exceeding NQS in all seven quality areas may choose to apply to ACECQA for the Excellent rating. The Excellent rating is the highest rating achievable under the NQF.
You can use Find Child Care to search for children's education and care services and their NQS quality ratings.
Research shows quality early education and care leads to better health, education and employment outcomes later in life. So, it’s really important to support your child with quality experiences for their growth and development.
The StartingBlocks.gov.au resource what to see and ask for at your service can help you learn more.