Updated 7 months ago

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.

They cater for children between birth and five years of age. Children will be supervised and educated by qualified staff, and children participate in care, recreational, and education programs, which will include opportunities to play both inside and outside, and to socialise with other children. It is important to visit the childcare centre in advance, to get to know the staff and to learn more about the services they can provide. You may want to ask what qualifications are held by staff, whether meals and food are included in the costs, does the centre feel welcoming, and if the location is convenient for you.

Some families choose to hire a nanny, or au pair to supervise the children, or may even reside with the family to provide live-in care.

Educational system

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 – Year 6), followed by Secondary School (Year 7-12).


Childcare can be very expensive in Australia, whether you enrol your child in a childcare facility or if you choose to partake in the nanny or au-pair system. The median cost of childcare, before any subsidies, is AUD 100.47 per day. However, prices can vary widely, based on your location, the individual facilities, and the amount of care required.

Some subsidies are available to help with the cost of childcare, but are dependent on factors such as your income level, and what sort of care is required. For more information on these options, please visit the Department of Education.

Government Services

For more information regarding early childhood and childcare, you can contact the Ministry of the Family (Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Department) or OECECC (Office of Early Childhood Year Education Child Care).


The Childcare Benefit can help cover the cost of attending pre-school, but only for children who have received all necessary immunisations. For more information, read the immunisation requirements on the Australian Government page.

 Useful links:

Family Department Website
Office of Early Childhood
Australian Childcare Alliance
Childcare Rebate
Care for Kids

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