How to Choose the Right Day Care
Choose the right child care for you and your Wide Bay Kids
Finding and choosing an early childhood service for your family can be a stressful time. Firstly I believe you should consider your child’s needs and your family circumstances when choosing a childcare service. While you can expect national or state approved services to meet minimum standards, try to visit a number of services, check what they offer and compare them before making a decision. We have put together a list of all the local day care centres in Bundaberg, including those providing approved kindergarten programs, before and after school care and vacation care. Download your copy of the Bundaberg Child Care Guide here.
Types of day care options
Long Day Care
Long day care services can be a good choice for working parents. They provide education and care for children from birth to 12 years old. They usually operate at least 10 hours a day, Monday to Friday, for at least 48 weeks a year. Provide full or part-time care and sometimes before/after school care and vacation care may be offered. Find out more about Long Day Care Here.
Family Day Care
Family day care offers children from birth to 12 years of age an education and care option in small groups (up to 7 children), traditionally in a home or family learning environment. Family Day Care provide education and care for children from birth to 12 years old (for up to 7 children – including 4 children not yet in school). Generally they are available for a full day, part day, overnight or weekends. Educators have individual working hours and fee structures. Learn more about Family Day Care in Bundaberg Here.
Family day care educators must:
- hold or be working towards a Certificate III qualification
- hold approved first aid qualifications including anaphylaxis management training and emergency asthma management training.
- Services must comply with a range of legislative requirements
- Educators are monitored and supported by a family day care scheme coordination unit including qualified family day care coordinators.
- New services must have one coordinator for every 15 educators for the first 12 months of operation.
Kindergarten services offer early childhood education programs to help prepare your child for Prep.
At kindergarten your child will:
- take part in play-based learning
- expand their physical abilities
- build their confidence
- enhance their social skills.
In Queensland, all children, no matter where they live or what their circumstances, have access to quality, inclusive early childhood education. Learn more about approved Kindergarten programs here.
Nannies and babysitters
Nannies and babysitters usually provide care in the child’s home. This can be arranged on an individual basis or through a registered agency. This type of service is not regulated.
What to look for:
Trust is the most important factor when choosing a nanny or babysitter. Will they be able to build a good relationship with your children? Are they experienced?
Ask friends, relatives, your doctor or nurse if they can recommend anyone or know of reputable agencies. Good nannies and babysitters will usually have good references—if they don’t have any, it would be better to look elsewhere.
Check that they have a blue card—required by all people who work with children in Queensland.
You may be able to employ a nanny on a trial basis to see how they get along with your children before starting a permanent arrangement. Find out more about choosing the right nanny or babysitter for you here.
Occasional and casual care options
Occasional care services provide education and care to children primarily on an ad hoc or casual basis, where:
- most of the children are under school age; and
- the service does not usually offer full-time or all day education and care to children on an ongoing basis.
Services are approved and must comply with state law under the Education and Care Services Act 2013 and are usually managed by the community or local government.
Programs are designed and implemented by staff that must hold relevant qualifications specified by law.
Services have their own working hours and fee structures – talk to your service for more information. Find more infomation here about occasional care options.
Before and after school care
Before and after school care is commonly referred to as outside school hours care.
It provides an opportunity for children to relax and play in a supervised environment, before school, after school or during school holidays. Learn more about this service here.
Facts you should know about before and after school care
- For school-age children (including those in Prep.
- Generally provided before and after school (7–9am and 3–6pm) and for 10-12 hours a day during school holidays and pupil free days.
- Delivered in a variety of locations (e.g. schools, youth clubs, and community centres).
- On state school sites, the outside school hours care service operates separately from the school. It is important to remember that enrolment in a school does not guarantee a place in the OSHC service.
- Each service has individual working hours and fee structures— contact the provider directly to find out about hours, fees and enrolment eligibility.
- In areas of high demand, the local outside school hours care service determines which children will be given priority.
Finding a child care service
You can seek for expert advice when choosing a provider, The Early Childhood Information Service can help you find a service and provide information about what to look for in a quality service. Email or call the service direct 7days a week 24 hours a day: email ECIS@qed.qld.gov.au or phone 13 QGOV (13 74 68)
We have put together a list of all the local day care centres in Bundaberg, including those providing approved kindergarten programs, before and after school care and vacation care. Download your copy of the Bundaberg Child Care Directory here.
Paying for a day care service
Service Australia is a good resource to find out what you need to know about the Child Care Subsidy. Here is a brief overview;
To get Child Care Subsidy (CCS) you must:
- care for a child 13 or younger who’s not attending secondary school, unless an exemption applies
- use an approved child care service
- be responsible for paying the child care fees
- meet residency and immunisation requirements
Questions to ask your day care provider
You should check with your chosen service to find out whether:
- their operating hours and days suit your family
- places are available for new enrolments
- the fees suit your budget
- there are any costs over and above the fees
- there is a fee to be on a waiting list
- children with additional needs are supported
- they offer an education program (such as kindergarten or long day care).
Visit the service provider
You should visit the service to meet the staff, see the grounds and facilities, and experience the atmosphere. If you have time, it’s a good idea to visit a few services and compare them.
Make an appointment to ensure someone is available to talk to you. Ask questions and share information about your child.
Read about assessing the quality of a service so you know what to look for when you visit.
The service should be able to give you written information that may include:
- days and times when the service is open
- all fees you will have to pay (including public holidays, late fees, holidays and when your child is away sick)
- procedures for dropping off and picking up your child
- how your child’s day will be organised and their individual needs met
- excursions and outings
- how injuries, illness and infectious diseases are dealt with (including storing and giving medicine to children)
- hygiene, safety, emergency and evacuation procedures
- staffing, staff development and child-free preparation times
- how you can participate in the decisions affecting you and your child and how the service will respond to complaints and concerns.
Many services have waiting lists. Arrange education and care for your child well in advance. This will give you the best chance of getting a place.
Quality standards and assessments
National standards apply to most long day care, family day care, outside school hours care and kindergarten services.
These standards include a quality rating system that assesses the quality of services and helps you decide which one to choose.
Find out how services are assessed.
Check with the Early Childhood Information Service to find out about regulations and staffing for these services:
- email ECIS@qed.qld.gov.au
- phone 13 QGOV (13 74 68) 24 hours, 7 days.
Some services are unregulated. Check with your local regional office to find out what legislation, if any, applies to a particular education and care option.