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What sort of childcare suits your family?

The question everyone asks – What’s the difference between Family Daycare and Centres? Whats the difference between a Nanny and a Family Daycare? What will suit my family, my work hours, my child’s needs and lifestyle best? Ultimately, we recommend visiting or enquiring with a few before you make a decision. All are different, and all are unique. But here’s some information to help you along the way!

What is Family Daycare?

With over 20,000 Family Daycare’s registered in Australia in 2016, it’s no doubt they’re a popular choice – and for good reason! Family Daycares run exactly the same through the Department of Education as a Centre in regards to Policies and Procedures, legal paperwork, programming and planning, the Early Years Learning Framework, Assessment and requirements.

A Family Daycare is generally set in a Qualified Educators home. Sometimes it’s their personal home, sometimes they have a section specifically for Family Daycare, and sometimes it can be in a venue. Family Daycares can have a maximum of 4 children per day from ages 0 – 5. Some will also allow After School Care, which is a maximum of 3 School Age. The ages are often mixed, so wonderful for parents who want siblings to be in care together.

Family Daycares run through a Scheme, which is essentially their management – Scheme’s are always in contact; completing spot checks, safety checks, ensuring paperwork and legal requirements are up to date, acting through Policies and Procedures, workshops and often processing rebates. They are always there for active Family Daycare Educators and create communities within them.

Family Daycare Educators require a minimum Certificate 3 in Early Childhood. Before opening their premises, they’re thoroughly taken through a process of enrolment which includes ensuring their (and other home residents) Blue Cards, First Aid, CPR and A&A are up to date. They’re taken through every detail, their premises is adjusted for Family Daycare needs including fencing and safety before registration.

Family Daycare Educators mostly work alone – sometimes they have a second educator or a relief educator. They’re extremely well trained for this, and the biggest benefit is your child will always have consistency with them rather than staffing changing all the time. Often Family Daycare becomes like a second home for your child, your Educator often becomes your friend, and a prominent person in your child’s life.

Family Daycares are eligible for Government rebates. They usually run on an hourly rate, which usually ranges from $6 to $15 heavily depending on your area.

Some Family Daycares set opening hours, while others are happy to work anytime including overnight, weekends and later evening. They’re generally more flexible to your needs.

So what sort of child might suit Family Daycare? Any! Family Daycare allows for a lot of personal one – on – one learning. Your educator knows your child well, so learning is always focused on your child’s interests and needs. Often strong friendships are built within children-  being a smaller group and great for siblings in care together. Often Family Daycare can help children with separation anxiety in a large centre, or those that get overwhelmed or need help opening up in large groups as your Educator is consistent, and it also remains with a homey feel.


What is a Centre?

With 10,000 registered in 2016 and more built by the second, these are also an obvious and popular choice!

Centres are usually either Privately owned, or through a Franchise. They run the same; the only difference being that a privately owned centre usually has the owners or managers on site, franchises may have a higher head office.

Centres are mostly run in a purpose built building. Depending on the size, the average amount of children per centre can be 50-100, more if a larger centre. Centre’s are organized into individual rooms based on age groups, often there will be infants, toddlers, pre kindergarten and kindergarten.

There’s usually a Lead Educator and an assistant; sometimes more if the ratio requires. A Lead Educator is required to hold, or be studying a Diploma of Early Childhood Education. All staff are required to hold a blue card, First aid, CPR and A&A.

The ratio of children depends on the age group. At present, birth – 24 months require an educator per 4 children, 24-36 months require an educator per 8 children, and 36 months to school age require an educator per 10 children.


Centres are usually open for a 12 hour period (on average) and are charged a full day rate which could be from $80 to $130 on average depending on your area. They’re eligible for Government rebates. Some Centres will run a Government approved Kindergarten program, which a Bachelor Qualified Teacher is required – a great tool to prepare for school.

So what sort of family might suit a centre? Again, any! Whilst centres don’t allow flexibility and are rigid with their open hours, they’re very secure in the sense that they will never close on normal working days, they will always have staff if others are sick, which can be more secure for working parents. Children most likely to thrive are those who love bigger groups, however quieter children will still benefit greatly.


What is a Nanny?

A Nanny is a person who, rather than having their own premises, comes to yours.

Nannies are a popular choice for families with multiple children – most nannies are happy to work with a full family of children. Nannies can also be available for respite, or be a general helper for parents if they’re struggling. They become like a part of your family and are an important role model for your children.

Nannies are usually flexible to your work and lifestyle needs. Some nannies might do full days, while others might be required for after school or childcare. They only care for your family in that work period.

Nannies will usually organize activities and learning for your children. They’ll encourage learning and interests and can help with needs such as homework, after school activities, meals. Many Nannies put a program in place similarly to a daycare to show a process of learning.

Nannies are sometimes eligible for rebates if criteria is met. Their personal rates are heavily based on location, amounthe of children, experience and hours.

So what sort of family will best benefit from a Nanny? Families with multiple children, as costs are significantly cut  rather than larger care options, as well as families who wish their children to remain at home instead of in formal care. Any child will benefit as Nannies work with your children and your personal needs!


As always, it’s best to call around and visit a few options before making your decision. All centres, Family Daycares and Nannies can differ and cater to different needs, but ultimately it’s best to visit and get a gut feeling that it’s the best place for your family and your child. Goodluck with your search!

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