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What You Need To Know About Early Childhood Care?

Early childhood care in Australia refers to the care and education given to children up to the age of five. It also comprises care given to primary school children in an informal setting when they are not in school. This article is an overview of early childhood care, which is a right for all children in Australia.

The Scope of Early Childhood Care in Australia

Early childhood care is offered in different forms and settings. It ensures a child’s safety, well-being, and educational advancement in early childhood. It is not limited to care given to children in early childhood education centers. The childhood care services present as follows:

  • Home-based child care

Often, this is an informal babysitting arrangement between a parent and a relative or friend. The babysitter or nanny takes care of the child at home. Some parents hire nannies or babysitters on a formal basis as employment. The bottom line of home-based care is it takes place in a domestic setting and not in school. Then, it may involve children beyond five years of age.

  • Center-based early childhood care

The arrangement for childcare in centre-based care can be on an occasional basis or as extended daycare. It is prevalent in kindergartens and pre-schools. The childcare usually focuses on educational outcomes since such centres offer education programs. This childcare involves children aged between three and five years.

Some of these centres provide daycare services outside the education program when learners are away. Those in need of reliable early childhood care services prefer centre-based care arrangements. The centres ensure there’s structured learning and development programs in an established routine.

They have trained staff and educators who meet the desired qualifications to offer such services. Such centres allow children to socialise and play with their peers in a safe environment with monitoring.

  • Crèches in Business Centres

These are informal childhood care services offered for a short time. Most of such centres operate on business premises. Parents and guardians briefly leave their children in such centres as they run errands in the building.

Such crèches allow children to socialise and play with other children. Unfortunately, such centres may lack regulation and monitoring by government officials. As a result, they may not meet the requirements to operate as kindergartens, and they rarely have any education-based programs.

Management of Early Childhood Care and Education Services

The Australian national and local governments have rules and policies to guide the services this sector should provide. Those offering early childhood care services as individuals or institutions must meet stringent regulations in their practices.

The people who work in early childhood care and education establishments include:

  • Centre managers and directors
  • Educational leaders
  • Early childhood teachers and educators
  • Support Staff

The National Quality Framework (NQF) sets and monitors quality early childhood care and education services standards. Those wishing to explore career pathways in this field should meet the NQF’s requirements, such as undertaking mandatory quality and assessment ratings.

The NQF also includes national regulations, laws, and the national quality standard. To offer quality services, the staff must have problem-solving skills, effective communication, creativity, and innovativeness.

Working in such a field without a love for children would be difficult. Some territory laws require the staff to have basic first aid skills and positive ratings on background character checks.

Conclusion

Early childhood care and education instil moral values in children. They foster cognitive, creative, social, and physical development. When offered as quality services in the right environment and by qualified people, they prepare a child for school and life. Quality childcare remains a crucial and sensitive aspect of society, requiring constant and careful regulation.

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