Moving to Australia with children

Education and childcare in Australia
Updated 2019-07-26 13:43

Childcare centres in Australia provide part-time or full-time care for children in specially-built facilities, and can be found across all areas of Australia. They often provide care from early morning hours until late in the evenings and are run by private businesses, local councils or community centres, or not-for-profit groups. Some employers may also operate their own facilities for their staff's children.

Types of child care in Australia

There are four options for child care in Australia. Home-based care for when your child is looked after by a friend or relative, or nanny in your home. Family daycare with a small group of children in an approved carer's home. Centre-based care which is long day care like preschools or kindergartens with trained staff and structured programs. Lastly, there is occasional care, which is short-term based. Most Australian families use home-based care due to the cost of professional daycare. Childcare (which can also be referred to as early childhood education) is aimed at children aged up to five years old but can also include before-school, or after-school care for primary school-age children (5 to 12 years old). If needed, there are also preschool programs for children up to three years old.

The educational system in Australia

Each Australian State has slightly different guidelines as to when formal schooling begins. Pre-school, which children attend before kindergarten, is part of the State school system in Western Australia, Tasmania, South Australia, and Northern Territory; therefore, no fees are required to attend. In the other States, pre-schools are privately operated, and not part of the State school system; meaning fees apply for attendance. Pre-school may also be referred to as nursery school or pre-primary school. After kindergarten, children go on to attend Primary School (Year 1 to Year 6), followed by Secondary School (Year 7 to 12).

Early learning and child care provides the foundation for children to develop both educationally and socially and is highly valued for the developmental opportunities it gives children. The Australia Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) is an independent national authority that works with the government to provide a framework for children's education and care.

Child day care will cover a variety of activities and duties including; bottle feeding, eating, sleep time, nappy changing and toileting, and parents will always be notified about their child's daily routine. A day can be broken into many different activities such as arts and crafts, rhymes and songs, and cooking activities, all to aid the development of the child's social and educational skills.


Child care can be very expensive in Australia, whether you enrol your child in a child care facility, or if you choose to partake in the nanny or au-pair system. For a nanny who lives out but comes to the house to assist, the price range is between AUD 17 to AUD 25 per hour. For long day care (child care centre) it can cost anything from AUD 70 to AUD 185 per day. Pre-school will have you out of pocket at AUD 45 to AUD 80 per day, and outside school hour care will cost anything from AUD 15 to AUD 45 for a session. A babysitter will cost anything from AUD 15 to AUD 35 per hour.

The Australian Government provides a number of subsidies and programs to help with the cost of childcare, but you must be eligible. Eligibility includes the child is under 13 years old, use of an approved child care service, responsible for paying for the child care, and residency and immunisation requirements. How much help you can receive from the government is dependent on factors such as your income level, and what sort of care is required.

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