Family daycare vs long daycare? Understanding the difference

Andrew Silva, 27 Sep 2019

It's finally that time to make a decision - to send or not to send your child to childcare. This decision can be quite confusing and overwhelming as choosing a learning facility that is going to be most beneficial for your child is a big deal! Every child has different requirements, and it is essential to observe your child's needs and select a learning centre that is going to help them learn, develop and grow to their full potential.

But one question remains - what is the difference between childcare, family daycare, and long daycare?

Childcare is easiest to define. It is the umbrella term used to describe early childhood education and care.

Both early learning long daycare and family daycare centres provide childcare, the foundation for children to develop both educationally and socially in a safe and nurturing environment. In saying that, both these methods offer different programs and learning styles.

So how do you know which one to choose? We can't sit here and tell you that one is better than the other because it is subjective to the needs of yourself, your family and your child.

"Evidence tells us that a person's life successes, health and emotional wellbeing have their roots in early childhood." - Australian Early Development Census

Knowing the difference between long daycare, family care and childcare can often seem confusing for parents on the lookout for the perfect early learning centre. It is essential to know the appropriate terms related to your child's learning experience to best understand this.

Knowing the difference between family daycare and long daycare There are a variety of terms relative to long daycare including:

  • Childcare
  • Early learning
  • Daycare
  • Preschool

These all have identical meanings and can be defined as centre-based childcare services provided by professional staff.

These particular early learning environments provide licensed care for children aged from 6 weeks to 6 years and can be open from 6:30 am to as late as 6:30 pm. Families are also given the option of full-time care from Monday to Friday or part-time care where they can choose specific days throughout the week.

Most long day care centres offer children with a variety of resources, materials and support. These include snacks, meals, nappies and sunscreen.

These government-approved centres also sometimes offer kindergarten and preschool programs which are usually run by qualified early childhood educators, helping pave the way for your child's schooling life.

Why do parents choose long daycare centres? This is a popular option for parents as they are confident their child will receive an enhanced learning experience. 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. They allow for more children in comparison to family daycare, providing children with a highly social environment.

What do children learn at long daycare? Many long daycare services offer children high-quality stimulating environments where they can learn, develop and grow. These centres provide age-appropriate activities, equipment and toys, tailoring to each child's needs and development phase.

If you are considering long daycare for your child, it may be beneficial to hop on a waiting list, so you are not disappointed when it comes time for your child to attend.

Family daycare - Is it better than long daycare?

On the other hand, family daycare provides children with flexible and nurturing home-based care with the help of professional educators, usually in their homes. These educators offer care for children under National Regulations.

Family daycare services are approved childcare services but do not offer kindergarten or preschool programs. If parents wish to enrol children in these programs, they must make separate arrangements or select a long daycare centre.

Family daycare offers children a comforting and safe environment, where educators focus on each child's individual development, providing high-quality learning experiences in their home.

Family daycare has the added benefit of smaller learning groups where children can enjoy to play, discover and form close bonds with friends and educators. Parents can be guaranteed that their child is happy in a nurturing, natural and flexible home learning environment.

Family daycare vs long daycare, how are they similar?

  • Family daycare provides early childhood education and care services for children across Australia
  • These centres operate under the same National Quality Framework as other forms of childcare, following the National Regulation, National Quality Standards and other educational frameworks
  • Parents are also entitled to the Child Care Subsidy

Why should I choose a family daycare?

  • At family daycare, children's education is tailored, and an individual educator provides care
  • Small groups and one on one attention
  • Educators work with an approved service

Family daycare vs long daycare: the difference

“Caring and supportive environments that promote optimal early childhood development greatly increase children’s chances of a successful transition to school.” Australian Early Development Census

Family daycare Long daycare
Nurturing, caring and flexible home learning environment Multiple childcare providers. Parents are not left without a solution if educators are sick. Long day care runs regardless
Allows children to form genuine long-lasting bonds with educators  Sometimes educators within long daycare centres have a stronger education and more experience
An individualised and tailor-made learning approach Age-appropriate curriculums as children are placed in age-based classrooms, learning activities, play and other activities
Can be more affordable in comparison to other options Provides children with a regular schedule and a full agenda of activities
Freedom in learning with a more relaxed curriculum Long daycare centres are fully insured and licenced and must meet standards for cleanliness and safety as well as comply with building codes

At Young Academics, we offer a quality early-learning environment for your child. Our long day care centres support, nurture and guide every single child ensuring they are reaching their full potential. We pride ourselves on our excellent facilities and learning programs. Our passionate and professional educators put your child first and tailor learning experiences to their needs.

Is long-day care the right choice for you? Join the Young Academics family today. Contact us on 1300 668 993.

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