Choosing and getting ready to start at an early childhood education and care service can be an exciting and overwhelming time for you and your child, so the earlier you start preparing, the better.
Choosing an option that meets your needs
There are various types of early childhood education and care services and most are regulated under the National Quality Framework (NQF) including:
- Family day care
- Long day care
- Outside school hours care
Other services like occasional care, crèches, mobile services and some school holiday care programs are not regulated under the NQF, but may be regulated under other state legislation. If you’re not sure if a service is regulated or not, it’s best to ask the service.
Read our factsheet on types of child care for more information.
UAll the regulated 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 quality ratings to help families choose the best service for their child and family.
These ratings are for the services that are regulated under the NQF.
There are seven quality areas which services are rated against under the National Quality Standard:
- Educational program and practice
- Children’s health and safety
- Physical environment
- Staffing arrangements
- Relationships with children
- Collaborative Partnerships with families and communities
- Governance and Leadership
For each of the seven quality areas, most of the services will be rated either:
- Significant Improvement Required
- Working Towards NQS
- Meeting NQS
- Exceeding NQS
Services can also apply for an overall “Excellent” rating if they achieve Exceeding NQS in all seven quality areas.
Finding an open child care service
You can find currently open services near you and their quality ratings using our Find Child Care search.
- What does quality in child care look like?
- Checklist on what to look for when visiting child care
- Printable list of questions to ask your service.
- Fact sheet on adult to child ratios in education and care services.