How to choose a service
Consider your child's needs and your family circumstances when choosing a childcare service.
Tips and advice
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.
Find a childcare service
The following links can help you find a childcare service:
- Find a childcare service—including those providing approved kindergarten programs, before and after school care and vacation care.
- Search for more details about vacancies and fees through the startingblocks.gov.au website.
- The Early Childhood Information Service can help you find a service and provide information about what to look for in a quality service—email ECIS@qed.qld.gov.au or phone 13 QGOV (13 74 68)*—24 hours, 7 days.
*If you are calling from a mobile phone, you may pay a timed rate.
Talk to the service 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
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.
Some services are regulated under state law—see the Education and Care Services Act 2013 (ECS Act).
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.
Approved kindergarten programs
Approved kindergarten programs are offered by some services.
They are taught by qualified early childhood teachers and meet strict quality guidelines set by the Australian and Queensland governments.
They are offered in: