Today I discovered there is a National Quality Standard (NQS) that every child care service is measured on – did anyone know about this??!!! We’re talking family daycare, long day care, outside school hours care, kindergarten/preschool ... ALL approved early learning services.
You can check your child’s current or prospective child care in just ONE click at StartingBlocks.gov.au (completely free, no need to sign up, takes all of 11 seconds to do. No jokes, I timed it).
2. Enter your location. You can filter the results based on what type of child care you’re after, the distance and the rating.
3. Find Child Care will then automatically show the results and display the quality early learning services in your area, including family day care, long day care, kindergarten/preschool, before/after school and vacation care.
4. Check the rating. There are 7 quality areas against which child care services are assessed and rated. These are:
Each quality area is given one of the ratings below and an overall rating based on these results.
- Significant Improvement Required
- Working towards NQS
- Meeting NQS
- Exceeding NQS
The quality rating is a great reference point for all parents. Not only for parents looking for daycare but for parents with kids already in care.
It helped me make an informed decision and provided me peace of mind that we’ve made the right decision” – Jenna, mum to Jacob, Jade and Lily
TIP: There will be an overall rating but you should also consider the ratings of each quality area.
You can look more closely at how the quality of a service’s educational program or physical environment (their play spaces) rank if either of these is a priority for you.
Why the National Quality Standard rating matters
It’s simple – because we need to be confident in the care we’ve selected. Sure, it’s good to go on our hearts but sometimes it’s nice to know the ratings and understand the service’s quality improvement journey.
Knowing they are in a child care facility that meets the standard makes it just a little bit easier to say goodbye at dropoff.” – Jenna, mum to Jacob, Jade and Lily.
While you shouldn’t base your entire decision on the child care service’s quality rating, it is important to add this to your list of things to confirm when you’re choosing child care.
Returning to the workforce, leaving my child in the hands of others was a really hard choice.
Being able to understand how each centre ranked is invaluable and gives me peace of mind, saving so much time when shortlisting centres to approach.” – Belinda, mum to Alex and James.
What is Starting Blocks anyway?
StartingBlocks.gov.au is a government website that helps parents take their first step into early childhood education and care. It provides a range of free resources on child development, types of child care, finding child care, understanding quality ratings, and tips for at home activities.
It’s provided by the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA), which supports all governments and the education and care sector to realise the benefits of the National Quality Framework
It’s a starting point for parents to find and compare child care services in their local area. To check their quality ratings. And, most importantly, to help them to choose the most suitable quality early learning centre for their children.
StartingBlocks.gov.au also provides great free resources to help parents with:
- Children’s developmental milestones
- How child care assessment and rating works
- Tips on starting child care and helping children settle in
- Tips on activities do at home to encourage children’s learning and development
We definitely recommend using the Startingblocks.gov.au website. It’s completely free and offers something all parents need – reassurance that we’re doing what’s best for our kids when it comes to their early education.
My two toddlers need to attend daycare full time. It’s important to us that we shortlist centres with ratings that align with our family’s priorities.
The search function on the website is helpful for this, it gives a very clear overview and adding centres to your ‘favourites’ is also very handy!” – Saengtip, mum to Hugo and Thibault.
Compare child care now
Head to StartingBlocks.gov.au to get started.