It can be very stressful to get ready to go back to work after having a child, and one of the most difficult decisions for parents to make is what kind of child care service to use.
Family Day Care and Long Day Care (also known as center-based care) are two different types of services that are available to parents who are looking for early childhood education and care for their children. If you are a new parent who is in the process of looking for these services for your child, you may find yourself confused by the differences between the two.
A lot of families who are thinking about child care are already familiar with nannies and child care centres. On the other hand, some people might not be as knowledgeable about family daycare.
Family daycare is a form of early childhood education and care that takes place in the home of the educator and provides the child with early learning experiences of a high standard.
What is family daycare?
A family daycare is an early childhood education and care service that is provided in the home and is of a high quality for children as young as six weeks old and as old as 12 years.
Family day care accounts for 10% of Australia's total early childhood education and care sector, with over 14,000 educators assisting in the development and shaping of the lives of approximately 131,600 children across the country.
Family daycare has a strong alignment with the National Quality Framework, the National Quality Standard, and the Early Years Learning Framework when it comes to its fundamental components.
Family daycare, much like long daycare centres, offers early childhood education and care services for children all over Australia. Parents who choose family daycare are eligible for the Child Care Subsidy, similar to parents who choose long daycare centres.
The main differences between family daycare and child care centres are:
- Educating and caring for young children is the responsibility of a single early childhood professional who works out of their own home.
- Educators typically work with groups of no more than four youngsters who have not yet reached the compulsory schooling age at any given time.
- Educators collaborate with a recognised agency that sends qualified personnel to the children's homes on a routine basis in order to track each child's progress and offer assistance.
What's the difference between family daycare and long daycare in a child care centre?
The size difference is the most noticeable distinction.
Child care centres are typically much larger and busier than day cares, and children are typically organised into age-specific groups there. There are many different educator-to-child ratios for each age group, and the one that applies to your state may be different from the others.
Child care centre employees, like those working in family daycares, are required to have training in early childhood education and care. The roles and responsibilities of each individual will determine the necessary qualifications for them. Searching for a Sydney childcare that helps your child develop, keep up & excel. Check us out!
The routines that are followed at long daycare centres are typically adapted to meet the requirements of each individual child, particularly for very young children. Nevertheless, as the child gets older, they might shift to routines that are more centred around the dynamic of the group (for example, having lunchtime at the same time).
Family Day Care or Centre-Based Care
Early childhood education and care services in Australia are governed by the National Quality Framework (NQF), which was established in 2012 with the goal of improving the overall quality of all types of service provision. Every single service:
- go through a compliance and assessment and rating process implemented by the State and Territory regulatory authority.
- are rated under the National Quality Standards (NQS).
- are eligible for the child care subsidy. Looking for an early learning centre in Sydney ? Then Little Angels early learning centre is what you’re looking for.
- provide an educational program that is child-centred, stimulating and maximise opportunities for enhancing and extending each child's learning and development.
- employ educators who are required to hold qualifications in early childhood.
- must adhere to ratios and employ educators to maintain these ratios throughout the day.
- employ an educational leader that guides educators on the development of the children's program.
Some of the differences that you may find within the family daycare and long daycare services are:
- The daily fee and opening hours. Some services operate on weekends, overnight and during school holidays. Be sure to ask about this before enrolling your child.
- Meals – depending on the service, these may or may not be included in the daily fee.
- Staff leave – in long daycare, an educator on leave may be replaced with a casual educator. At the same time, in an FDC service, children may be cared for by another educator in a different home/venue. Importantly, educators often plan to leave in advance with their families, and orientation and visits to the other home take place. Families should be informed when an educator in any service is on leave to know who will be caring for your child and support continuity of care.
- FDC schemes employ a 'coordinator' who will make regular visits to the educator's home/venue to guide regulatory matters. In an LDC service, this is the role of the nominated supervisor or another person in charge of the day to day operations of the service.
How to choose a family daycare provider that's right for you
If you are considering using a family daycare service, the first thing you should do is research the registered providers in your area. After that, you can make arrangements to pay a visit to the educator at their place of residence.
It is helpful to ask yourself the following questions when evaluating the quality of the care and educational programme:
- is the care child-focused or time-focused? (For example, are nap times tailored to each child or grouped at the same time of day?)
- how many children does the educator have each day, and what are their ages?
- what learning experiences are available for the children each day, and will this suit my child?
- do the children attend a playgroup during the week? For some parents, this represents bonus social interaction opportunities, but it's not a priority for others.
- are meals provided, and if so, how is the menu determined?
- how does the educator manage the supervision of children indoors and outdoors?
- are there other people in the home when family daycare is provided, and how do you feel about that?
- what ratings did the family daycare service achieve under the National Quality Standards (more on that in a minute)?
- does the cost suit your budget?
The Australian government contributes to the cost of family daycare services, which range in price depending on the type of service and the family's total income.
Types of daycare facilities
Daycare is a facility where parents drop children off, usually for a full day, with other kids of varying ages. You have a couple of options:
- Group daycare: These facilities are state-licensed and are usually run similarly to a school, with kids of varying ages cared for in groups. Some of these are run by employers themselves.
- In-home daycare: This child care is run out of the provider's home, often as she cares for her children at the same time. Not all states require in-home daycare providers to be licensed, so make sure you know about the regulatory requirements before sending your child (or while researching your options).
Benefits of daycare
A good daycare programme can offer some significant advantages:
- Continuous care: Most child care centres offer care from the early months of infancy through toddlerhood and sometimes even beyond.
- Education: A well-organised program is geared to your tot's development and growth.
- Socialisation: Your baby will get lots of face time with other little ones.
- Cost: If you're planning to go back to work and need someone to watch after your child while you're away, daycare tends to be less expensive than hiring a nanny (although a nanny may be more cost-effective if you have multiple children).
- Reliability: Most centres stay open for about 12 hours to support a variety of parent schedules.
- Specific to group daycare: Staff is trained and licensed. And because there's more than one caregiver, there's always a sub.
- Specific to home daycare: There are fewer children than you'd find at a group daycare centre — which may mean more personal attention and less exposure to illness.
Day Care: Making it a Good Experience
Child and adolescent psychiatrists are in agreement that the home, surrounded by the child's parents and other family members, is the most nurturing setting for young children. In order to facilitate parental bonding following the birth of a child, some authorities advise giving new parents unpaid leave of at least six months' duration, if not longer. It is especially crucial for parents to provide their newborn children with personal, around-the-clock care for the first few months of their lives.
The need for daycare is something that must be considered because it is not always possible for parents to provide their children with the ideal environment if they must return to work. When a child is in daycare during the first few years of their life, the quantity and quality of the daycare have a significant impact on the child's emotional and physical development. This is a consensus amongst professionals in the field.
Parents should be familiar with the state's child care licencing regulations prior to making a decision about a daycare environment for their child(ren). They need to check references from previous parents as well as observe the potential caretakers of the child.
Young children are frequently taken by their parents to the homes of individuals who are caring for one or more additional children. Children under the age of two and one half, including infants, require the following:
- More adults per child than older children require
- A lot of individual attention
- The same caregiver(s) over a long period
- A caregiver who will play and talk with them, smile with them, praise them for their achievements, and enjoy them
A warm, caring, self-assured, attentive, and responsive caregiver is what the children need, and the parents should look for someone like that. The person providing care should be able to foster positive social skills and behaviour while enforcing boundaries for undesirable behaviours. The ability of the caregiver to relate to children of varying ages is an important quality for parents to look for. Certain people are only able to effectively interact with children at a certain point in their development.
It is important for parents to enquire about the individual's plans regarding their employment at the daycare facility. The child may experience distress if there is a high turnover rate of individuals, several turnovers, or any turnover at critical development points. If a set of parents believes or has the impression that the daycare they have selected will not meet their needs, they should look into finding another option. Every parent has the ability to show up at any time during the school day and pay an unannounced visit to their child.
A good group daycare is beneficial for many children, especially those who are older than three, as it allows them to have fun and learn how to interact with others at the same time. Additionally, child and adolescent psychiatrists recommend to parents that they look for daycare facilities that have the following:
- Trained, experienced teachers who enjoy, understand and can lead children.
- Ideally, the appropriate number of teachers and assistants is at least one for every five children, small rather than large groups if possible. (Studies have shown that five children with one caregiver are better than 20 children with four caregivers)
- Staff that has been there for a long period
- Opportunities for creative work, imaginative play, and physical activity
- Space to move indoors and out
- Lots of drawing and colouring materials, toys, and physical activity equipment such as swings, wagons, jungle gyms, etc.
If the child appears to be anxious about going to daycare, the parents should ease them into the transition gradually. At first, either the mother or the father should accompany the child to daycare and remain nearby while the child plays. After that, the parent and child will be able to remain for longer periods of time each day until the child expresses an interest in joining the group.
Consider the following scenario: the child exhibits an abnormal or pervasive fear of being away from home. If this is the case, parents should seriously consider seeking the advice of a child and adolescent psychiatrist to discuss their worries and devise techniques that will assist their children in opening up about their concerns. In addition, parents can help make daycare a more positive and less stressful experience for their children by being actively involved with the staff at the daycare and by actively talking to their children about the activities they participate in throughout the day.
Who provides family daycare?
The vast majority of family day care services are organised and run by community organisations or authorities that are part of the local government, such as churches or councils. There are also some private organisations that are for profit that offer daycare for families.
The programme or coordination unit also provides assistance to parents in selecting an appropriate educator and monitoring their children's overall well-being as well as their academic progress. Relief care can also be managed by the scheme and coordination unit in the event that a family's regular educator becomes ill or announces their intention to leave the position.
The coordination unit collaborates closely with the educators to ensure that they uphold the organization's values and fulfil the requirements outlined by the legislation that the government has enacted. The funding necessary to support the nationwide network of educators comes from the Australian government, which distributes it to the various schemes and coordination units. See our list of available early learning programs Sydney to help you make an informed decision for your child.
To ensure that children participate in a variety of engaging and stimulating play activities, educators are frequently visited in their classrooms by trained fieldworkers, and many coordination units offer children access to toy libraries and help facilitate play sessions.
How much does family daycare cost?
The cost of family daycare can range widely depending on factors such as the facility's location, the qualifications of the caregiver, the number of hours the child is looked after, and the child's age. However, the average hourly rate is somewhere between $7 and $10. In addition, some teachers offer to provide meals, diapers, and transportation for their students; the price of these services will be added to the hourly rate.
Quality and accreditation of family daycare services
As was mentioned earlier, the National Quality Framework governs the operation of family daycare centres, and educators working in these centres are required to meet the same qualifications standards as those working in center-based care settings.
Before beginning work in a family daycare, all educators are required to pass a background check conducted by the police or a criminal history check. In addition, educators are required to be fully insured, maintain a safe environment, and hold a current first aid certification.
Local coordination units work with individual family day care educators to ensure high standards are met across the coordination unit or scheme. The Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) is responsible for ensuring that family daycare services meet the requirements of the National Quality Framework.
What will my child do at family daycare?
The educational, medical, and fun activities that are provided at family daycare are tailored to meet the needs of children of varying ages. A typical day at a family daycare can include the following activities:
- Arts and crafts
- Completing homework
Because family daycare is provided in the homes of its educators, young children will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of fun activities outside, including sand and water play in the backyard of their educator's house. In addition, educators frequently take their charges on field trips to community gatherings, play areas, public libraries, and organised playgroup sessions in the neighbourhood.
How do I find and choose a family daycare educator?
Consider the following when looking for a family daycare:
- When you need care
- Where you need care -how will your child travel to and from the educator's house?
- Your budget
- Your child's needs. Are there any special requirements for language, diet, behaviour or development?
- Your values and parenting philosophy.
Get in touch with the family day care coordination unit or scheme in your area so that you may talk about the kind of family daycare you need. In addition, you can use our family daycare search to locate family day care facilities as well as in-home care providers in your state or territory.
Visit the home of the educator before making a final decision so that you can observe how they interact with youngsters and make sure the environment is appropriate for your child's needs. You may also enquire about recommendations from other parents or check out the website CareforKids.com.au to read reviews written by other parents. When it comes to selecting your instructor, our checklist for family daycare provides some factors to think about.
Your child could benefit from attending a family daycare, which offers an atmosphere that is both safe and close to nature, as well as routines that are adaptable and high-quality care. The more intimate atmosphere may also facilitate the development of strong ties among the children, the educator, and the parents.
It is a form of child care that is definitely worth looking into because there is such a large network of competent family daycare educators in Australia.
FAQs About Family Daycare
The potential downsides/disadvantages of home-based child care include: possibly less educated teachers and less educationally enriched curriculum. possibly more exposure to television. sole caregiver with little supervision, so trust is essential.
Other benefits of family day care include: Family day care provides early education and care in a nurturing, natural and flexible home learning environment. Family day care offers the opportunity for children to form genuine long lasting bonds with their qualified and passionate early childhood educator.
Evidence from the study shows the more time in child care of any kind or quality, the more aggressive the child. Children in full-time day care were close to three times more likely to show behavior problems than those cared for by their mothers at home.
Benefits of Family Day Care
- Individualised learning programs. Family day care educators provide individualised learning programs for the children they care for.
- Flexible hours and costs.
- Healthier children.
- Greater community engagement.
- Closer bonds with educators.
- Strong support network.
While centre-based care is typically provided only to children from a few weeks to five years old, family day care provides care for children up to 12 years old. Ultimately, deciding on the type of care you want for your child will depend on your needs and preferences.