When it comes to finding quality child care, parents are often faced with several options and choices. In Australia, childcare and early learning centres are two of the most common options. While these terms may seem interchangeable, there are distinctions between them that are important for parents to understand. Today, we will explore the difference between childcare and early learning centres, what each offers, and which may be best for your child.
Difference Between Childcare and Early Learning Centres
Childcare Centres: The Service They Provide
The primary focus of childcare services is to provide children with a safe and nurturing environment while their parents or guardians are at work or unavailable to look after them. These facilities give children basic needs, including supervision, feeding, changing, and nap times.
They often employ qualified staff members who have training in early childhood education and are equipped to provide basic care and ensure the safety of the children.
While some childcare centres may incorporate educational activities into their programs, their primary focus is supervision, meeting the basic needs of the little ones and providing fun activities to keep the children entertained while in their care.
Childcare Centres: The People to Whom They Cater
Childcare centres typically offer traditional options such as long day care and occasional care. They cater to children of varying ages. At Amaze, we have the following options:
Childcare: 6 weeks old – 5 years old
Due to the nature of their service, childcare centres usually offer flexible hours to accommodate parents’ and guardians’ schedules, making them suitable for families with varying work arrangements.
Early Learning Centres: The Service They Provide
On the other hand, early learning centres go beyond basic care and prioritise early childhood education. These centres provide a structured curriculum emphasising cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development. They follow the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF), a national framework that sets out principles, practices, and outcomes to support young children’s learning.
At Amaze, we adopt curriculum and programs that follows the EYLF. We also use the Queensland Kindergarten Learning Guidelines (QKLG), which outlines the expected learning outcomes and experiences for children in the kindergarten year. The QKLG also provides guidance and support for educators in planning and implementing the program, including sharing information with parents/carers to ensure everyone involved in the child’s learning journey comes together to support the child.
Early learning centres employ qualified early childhood educators with specific training and knowledge in child development and education. These educators facilitate various learning experiences, including play-based activities, group interactions, and individualised learning plans.
They provide a structured environment where children can acquire essential skills, such as literacy, numeracy, problem-solving, and socialisation.
Early Learning Centres: The People to Whom They Cater
Early learning centres usually cater to preschool-aged children, typically those between 3 and 6 years old – the formative years of a child’s life. Early learning centres are instrumental in establishing the groundwork for a child’s future learning, development, and overall welfare. They give the little ones a head start in their learning journey that they can carry throughout their lives.
Understanding the Difference Between Childcare and Early Learning Centres Helps You Make the Right Choice for Your Child.
Choosing the most suitable care option for your child is a crucial decision. In Australia, childcare, and early learning centres, play vital roles in supporting children’s growth and development. Childcare centres primarily focus on providing care in a safe and nurturing environment, while early learning centres place greater emphasis on educational programs and developmental milestones.
By understanding these differences, you can decide which option best suits your child’s needs and aspirations for their early years. Align your choice with the reason you are putting them in care and what works for you and your family. Ultimately, it’s important to prioritise care and education and strike a balance between them to give your children the best possible start in life.
If you’d like to learn more about why Amaze is an excellent choice for your child, please feel free to get in touch with us.