As a parent, you would want to give your child the best start in life. And, part of it is sending them to an early childhood education centre.

According to research by BMC Public Health, children who have attended pre-school have better learning and developmental outcomes than those who did not and accomplish better academic achievements in formal school. Not only that, but they are also more productive as adults. So, without a doubt, sending your child to the best long day care kindergarten centre in your area is always a good decision to make.

The Difference Between Family Daycare and Long Daycare

While both family daycare and long daycare provide caring and supportive learning environments for your child, they have certain characteristics that make them distinct from each other. Knowing these differences will affect your decision in choosing which option is best for your little one.

Family daycare typically uses an individualised, tailor-made, and more relaxed approach to learning and is usually done at home. As such, your child will build a stronger bond with the carer. This option is also more affordable compared to other early childhood education options. However, it could be a problem when the carer gets sick, as there will be no one to tend to your child.

On the other hand, long daycare is where your child goes to the centre every day to receive the attention and education they need. It operates under a regular schedule and uses age-based curricula for children. Unlike family daycare, there will always be someone to take care of the children if any member of their staff gets sick. Basically, it applies a more formal approach to learning than family daycare.

With the confusion between family daycare and long daycare out of the way, it is time to start looking for a centre for your child.

Picking the Right Long Day Care Centre for Your Child

While looking for long day care services for your child is exciting, it can also become an overwhelming task that comes with a certain level of anxiety, especially when it is your first time. To make the process easier and less stressful, you can just look for the fundamental qualities a kindergarten centre should have.

Quality Educational Programmes

First and foremost, the daycare centre that you choose should have quality educational programmes to teach your child important life-long lessons. And, these programmes should be holistically facilitated by skilled and passionate educators and carers.

The centre should be able to support your child at each phase of their development using a teaching approach that meets their needs and prepares them better for formal school.

Low Carer-to-Children Ratio

The carer-to-children ratio is an important factor that determines the quality of education your child gets from pre-school. A good long day care kindergarten centre should have low ratios and small groups. This ensures your little one gets enough attention from the carer or teacher. Not only that but being in a small group will prevent your child from feeling overwhelmed, which might hinder their interest in learning and socialising with others.

The recommended carer-to-children ratios according to age are:

  • 1:4 – for children up to 2 years old
  • 1:6 – for children 2 to 3 years old
  • 1:12 – for children 3 to 12 years old

Nurturing Environment


Aside from having quality learning programmes, your chosen centre should have a nurturing environment, especially that your child will be there for long hours every day. The classrooms and materials should also be specifically designed to encourage curiosity, critical thinking, discovery, as well as play.

The centre should also incorporate healthy activities in their programmes to help children learn the importance of being healthful and good habits.


You should choose a daycare centre that is close to your home. It would also work better if it is close to the office, as drop-offs and pick-ups will be a lot more convenient.

So, if you live in South Mackay, for example, it would make perfect sense to also find a South Mackay kindergarten. This makes it easier for you to organise your daily routine if you have a busy schedule.


To a certain degree, the daycare centre should keep you updated on the developments they may have. In the same way, you should be able to effectively communicate your concerns and ideas to the centre. This ensures your child will receive the best support possible.

So, when enrolling your little one at a Norman Park community kindergarten, ask what means of communication they use to keep in touch with parents. Do they have their own app for this purpose? Or, do they have a dedicated social media page where announcements are posted and parents are free to share comments?


Of course, the centre you choose should be certified and is compliant with the National Quality Standard when offering early childhood education. Better yet, they should have received some form of accreditation for excellence in what they do.

You can gather these pieces of information during your first visit to the centre.

Parting Thoughts

While you should ensure your chosen long day care kindergarten centre has the right qualities, it is also important to consider your child’s needs.

For example, is your child still breastfeeding? Or, are they selective when it comes to food? Then you should speak with the centre’s administrators on how to deal with your concerns when feeding time comes. A good centre should have a policy in place that makes things convenient for you and them.

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