What is long daycare?

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    Long daycare services can be a good choice for working parents. They provide education and care for children from birth to 12 years old. 

    Long daycare is often called a childcare centre or simply daycare. Still, it's centre-based childcare provided by professional staff where babies and children up to school-starting age can be cared for while their parents work, study or have time for their other commitments. Childcare centres can be workplace-based, community-based or privately run.

    Many long daycare services offer an approved kindergarten program, and some offer outside school hours care for school-aged children. All long day care services caring for children under school age must employ, or have access to, a qualified early childhood teacher.

    Preparing your child for their transition to school is vitally important. You may be unsure whether to enrol your child in traditional sessional kindergarten or a Kinder program in a long daycare centre.

    How do you decide? Here are some of the main similarities and differences between the two:

    Traditional Sessional Kindergarten

    • Often run by not-for-profit organisations or affiliated with schools.
    • For children from 4 years of age (by 30 April)
    • Fully qualified Kindergarten Teachers deliver the program with Bachelor &/or Masters of Early Childhood Education.
    • Play-based program following ACECQA guidelines and the National Curriculum (EYLF)
    • School term operation only.
    • Set days and times, programs offered 2-3 days a week with times similar to schools hours (9.00 am and 3.00 pm)
    • Set drop off and pick up times
    • Meals are not provided. Parents must supply all food.
    • Children are often required to be toilet trained to attend Kinder.
    • Casual Days are not available.
    • May be required to wear a uniform.

    Explorers Long Day Care Kindergarten

    • Run by professional childcare providers
    • For children from 4 years of age (by 30 April)
    • Fully qualified Kindergarten Teachers deliver the program with Bachelor &/or Masters of Early Childhood Education.
    • Play-based program following ACECQA guidelines and the National Curriculum (EYLF)
    • Centres offering care from birth
    • Operates 52 weeks of the year, closed only for public holidays.
    • Flexible days and drop off and pick up times, with program available Monday to Friday between 6:30 am and 6:30 pm – parents can choose which days and how many they require.
    • Smaller groups of children and more educators
    • One convenient drop off with siblings able to attend the same service
    • Add casual days when required, supporting working families.
    • All meals provided – no need to pack lunches!
    • A child is not required to be toilet trained – If your child is not toilet trained, we supply nappies.
    • Fee assistance with Child Care Subsidy as we are an approved childcare service
    • No school uniforms
    • Access to an Extra's program: including creative arts, music, language and sports.
    • Reggio Emilia inspired curriculum and play-based learning.
    • Both traditional kinder and long day care kinder have strict government requirements for staffing, space, facilities, and equipment.

    Long daycare kinder programs have been shown to help increase academic achievement in children. 

    In addition, a familiar environment is advantageous in children's overall development by combining familiarity, regular attendance, and high-quality educational and social experiences.

    When is long day care open?


    Long daycare centres are usually open from early in the morning until 6 pm, though the hours may be extended to suit a particular community. 

    Families are typically given the option of full-time care from Monday to Friday or part-time care on regular days of the week.

    How much does it cost?

    According to the federal government's 2006 survey of childcare services, the average weekly fee for long daycare was $233 a week. In inner-city locations in Australia's major cities, prices can be much higher, and there is a great demand for places in these centres. 

    The government provides support for families with the cost of childcare through the Child Care Subsidy scheme. For more information, visit the government's My Child website. Registered childcare centres receive funds from the government to help keep fees low for eligible parents. The subsidy is most commonly paid directly to the child care centre to reduce the costs you pay. The Child Care Subsidy is based on:

    • your family's income
    • the hourly rate cap based on the type of childcare you use and your child's age
    • the hours of recognised activities you and your partner do.

    The government also provides funds to registered childcare centres that deliver kindergarten programs. A child may need to attend a minimum number of hours of kindergarten for the centre to be eligible to receive funding.

    What will my child do at long daycare?

    Quality childcare services will provide a stimulating and caring environment for your baby or child. In addition, many employ some careers with early childhood training, which prepare a planned preschool program.

    A quality childcare service should provide age-appropriate activities, equipment and toys. Especially for young babies, in a quality childcare service, a flexible schedule allows your child to eat, sleep and be comforted according to his needs during the day.

    How do I find a long daycare centre?

    In many places in Australia, childcare services have long waiting lists. If you think you may need childcare sometime in the future, you may want to make applications now. You're generally not obliged to take place if you're offered one and don't need it later, but do check the fine print of waiting list forms, especially if you paid a deposit. A good place to start is your local mothers' group, other parents in your workplace or your network of parent friends. Remember, though, that everyone's needs are different and it's important to visit centres to check them out yourself. The Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority has a search for childcare services. In addition, you can check on any childcare service's accreditation status and search for services in your area. This will provide you with a list and information on the services' accreditation history, but you'll still need to go and investigate the service yourself.

    The federal government also has a registry of childcare centres to search and get information on indicative fees. The register only includes services approved for the Child Care Benefit, and it's voluntary, so not all services have included their details. You can also call the Child Care Access Hotline on 1800 670 305, which can provide you with a list of all the Child Care Benefit-approved services in your area and give you some idea on vacancies. Many benefits have policies about who should get priority when offering children a place in the centre. The federal government sets some of these priorities. For example, each service should give preference to children at risk of serious abuse or neglect, and then a child whose parent or parents can prove they're working, studying or looking for work. Some employer-sponsored centres can give priority to employees.

    Be sure to start the process of looking into your long daycare options early, as some childcare centres have long waiting lists. Some centres may accept waiting list applications before your child is born but must request that you apply after birth. Be aware that centres may charge a fee to place a child on the waitlist. Long daycare centres tend to be individually owned and operated, so each has its ways of working. Some of the key differences may include:

    • Operating hours
    • Fee structure
    • Centre size
    • Room set-up, size and the number of children per room
    • What the centre provides - e.g. meals, nappies, sunscreen

    Contact each centre you are interested in to book a tour of the centre and be sure to ask them lots of questions. 

    Facts about long daycare services

    • Usually operate at least 10 hours a day, Monday to Friday, for 48 weeks a year.
    • Provide full or part-time care.
    • Before and after school care and vacation care may be offered (check with your long daycare service).
    • An approved kindergarten program taught by a qualified early childhood teacher may be offered. Talk to your service about their programs and the qualifications held by staff.
    • Each long daycare service has its fee structure—contact the service to discuss their fees.
    • Children may be grouped according to their age and developmental stage.
    • Services must comply with a range of legislative requirements, including physical environment requirements (e.g. space, facilities and equipment) and staffing requirements, including minimum educator-to-child ratios.

    Quality standards and assessments

    • Long daycare services are assessed under national quality standards, and their ratings are published online. The quality rating helps you decide which one to choose.
    • Find out more information on how services are assessed.
    • A small number of services are regulated under the Education and Care Services Act 2013

    Enrolment requirements

    Some long daycare services can enrol children at any time; others may have a waiting list. You will need to contact the service to discuss their enrolment policies.

    When you enrol, you will be asked to provide:

    • the child's full name, date of birth, gender and address
    • the name, address, and contact details of each known parent of the child
    • details of any people:
    • authorised to collect the child
    • to notify in an emergency involving the child if a parent cannot be immediately contacted
    • authorised to consent to medical treatment of, or to authorise the administration of medication to the child
    • who can authorise an educator to take the child outside the education and care service premises
    • details of any court orders, parenting orders or parenting plans in relation to the child or access to the child
    • the language used in the child's home
    • details of any special considerations, e.g. cultural, religious or additional needs
    • Other relevant health information, e.g. details of the child's registered medical practitioner, any specific healthcare needs, allergies, medical management plans, or dietary restrictions and immunisation status.

    Roles and qualifications to work in long daycare

    There are many long daycare services across Queensland. They employ thousands of people in a range of roles with different qualifications. These are:

    • Early childhood teacher-approved Early childhood teacher qualification
      • Works directly with children and their families.
      • Plans and delivers educational programs.
      • Supervises, mentors and coaches other educators.
    • Early childhood educator-approved Certificate III level qualification
      • Provides education and care to a group of children.
      • Helps plan and develop the group's educational program.
    • Early childhood educator-approved Diploma level qualification
      • Supports children's learning and development.
      • Helps design, plan, implement and evaluate educational programs.
    • Nominated supervisor (service director)
      • Provides day-to-day management of approved service.
      • Ensures the safety, health and well-being of children at the service.
      • Ensures the program delivered to children is based on an approved learning framework.
      • Works collaboratively with the regulatory authority.
      • There are no legislative qualification requirements to manage a long daycare service unless you work directly with the children. Most services, however, will require the service director to have a diploma, degree or higher.

    Benefits of Long daycare


    As part of our long day care Kinder Program, we have incorporated a School readiness Program that ensures your child is well equipped for the transition from Kinder to School. This specially designed program focuses on getting children ready for life, school, and confident members of their community.

    Family familiarity

    Long day care kinder will give your family the option to have siblings attend the same centre. Knowing their siblings are close by can provide a great sense of comfort and assurance to your children. Additionally, one drop off and pick up location and time is handy!

    Close friendships

    Strong bonds and friendships are formed throughout childcare and are strengthened and continued through kinder. Socialisation and supportive friends are crucial to creating important social skills such as language and cognitive capabilities.

    Social and Emotional Development is the key factor for school readiness. The familiarity of friends, surroundings, and routine creates a relaxed space focused on your child's learning and development. Our Kinder program helps develop social and self-help skills through play-based learning, which allows your child to thrive and flourish—exploring and growing from infancy to kinder invite these friendships to continue through to school and beyond.


    Healthy, fresh, and nutritionally balanced meals can positively impact your child's learning, cognitively and physically. At long daycare kinder, meals and snacks are prepared daily by in-house chefs. All menus must use Healthy Eating Advisory Services (HEAS) guidelines when planning menus. These guidelines meet the NQS and Australian Dietary Guidelines.


    Long daycare centres offer flexibility to work around your family's requirements as we are open five days a week. Attending 5 days a week is not compulsory; however, the option should you require it. Each child is unique and has different needs. The opportunity to ease them into the Kinder program is there and unrestricted by certain days or times.

    Learn, laugh, grow & explore

    Explorers Early Learning supports your child's development by providing a nurturing, safe, respectful learning environment. Our passionate, highly qualified Kindergarten Teachers ensure they create welcoming environments whilst supporting you and your child every step of the way.

    Daycare centres mimic the idea of classrooms in the school and help better transition children to the next phase of their lives. Long day care centres consist of qualified educators who care for children grouped by different ages.

    Based on CAP's models, the cost of providing care for an infant is, on average, 61 percent higher than the cost of serving a preschooler. However, the infant subsidy rate is, on average, only 27 percent higher than the preschool subsidy rate.

    Family care remains the most common type of child-care arrangement across all marital and employment statuses. Three-quarters of full-time employed mothers (75.2 percent) utilize some form of family care at least part of the time, compared to 86.3 percent of part-time employed mothers.

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