Many families can have confusion of the type of centre to send their child, particularly the year before school.
Research show children benefit to early childhood education before school. Studies have shown in Australia children who attend a preschool program before school have more positive results in their year 3 NAPLAN scores (1). Many long day care centres (such as Kidz Prints) have a structured preschool program in place, so what is the difference between this and a “Preschool?”
Both types All children’s care services must follow the National Law and Regulations, which ensures compliance and safety for children. Both types will also be assessed under the National Quality Framework by an assessment officer from the Department of Education every few years and must meet the same quality outcomes in all areas including education and staffing arrangements. Both must also have a university qualified early childhood teacher in attendance to design and run the educational programs in each centre.
The most important similarity is both settings should be helping children meet the learning outcomes under the national curriculum called the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF). This means children should be learning through play and intentional teaching practices, that are planned with each child’s strengths, interests and needs in mind. Children should learn in a way that is fun and engaging, hands on and flexible, and should not be forced to “sit and listen” to learn.
So, how do they differ?
Generally, the only differences will be financial and operational, to suit different family’s needs.
Preschools are usually open 9am-3pm and close during school holidays, which means you would need to find alternative care in the school holidays. Generally, they will not provide meals and families will need to provide them. Most only are licenced to take children from age 3 or 4, and children are restricted to two day or three-day enrolments. This is general and it is best to check with individual centres for their operations(2).
Long day care centres will usually provide meals and are open longer for hours such as 7:30-6:00pm. They are open year-round (Kidz Prints shuts for two weeks at Christmas) You do not have any restrictions on the amount of days to enrol, although a minimum of two is recommended for consistency. These opening times are great for working and busy families.
At Kidz Prints we have an extensive school readiness program run by our dedicated teams. We ensure our staff are above the ratio requirements at all our centres, so at times children have access to multiple university-trained teachers to enhance their learning! We work with each individual child and local schools to ensure each child is ready to start their journey to big school!