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Your first step into early childhood education & care

Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Know what to look for if you need education and care for your child

If your usual school, outside school hours care services (OSHC) or early childhood education and care service is closed for a while and you’re looking for other options, StartingBlocks.gov.au will assist you to find safe, quality services for your child.

This Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment webpage is sharing advice to help families and education and care providers manage the impact of COVID-19. Additionally, on 27 March 2020 all Australian Ministers with responsibility for children’s education and care agreed that supporting ongoing access to early childhood education and care services for vulnerable children and the children of essential workers is a priority right now.

For those who may be in need of an alternative option, ACECQA, as the national authority working with all governments in administering the National Quality Framework (NQF) for children's education and care, recommends families be mindful of providers or  individuals offering temporary options or services that don’t meet minimum regulatory requirements, including working with children checks.

The NQF regulates education and care services across Australia

Most preschools/kindergartens, long day care services, family day care services and OSHC services require approval under the NQF to operate in Australia. Preschools/kindergartens in Tasmania and Western Australia, which are regulated for safety and quality under their own State laws.


The NQF is monitored and enforced by each state and territory regulatory authority to ensure the safety, health and wellbeing of children, and improved educational and development outcomes. It sets requirements for service providers covering:

  • educator to child ratios
  • educator qualifications and training – including for Early Childhood Teachers and other educators, first aid, anaphylaxis management, and emergency asthma management
  • health and safety requirements – including valid working with children checks, mandatory policies, procedures and practices, and maintaining high levels of hygiene across the service
  • physical environment layout and use
  • educational programs

To understand whether a service may be suitable for your child and family’s needs, think about asking the provider about:

  • the number of staff and their qualifications
  • whether all staff have current working with children checks
  • the number of children being educated and care for, and their ages
  • whether you can have a look through the service, indoors and outdoors
  • the service’s health and safety policies and procedures
  • how the service will offer an educational program tailored to your child’s needs

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