Choosing a Child Care Service
Some points to consider:
- Is the location suitable?
- Does the centre's philosophy fit well with your own ideas and values?
- What is the staff / child ratio?
- What experience and training do the staff have?
- How do they decide what experiences are offered each day?
- What are the fees?
- Are their opening hours appropriate?
Most importantly, make sure you visit the service and that both you and your child feel comfortable.
Fees and Benefits
Fees are determined by individual centres so charges will vary. Be sure to ask the daily fee when making inquiries. All parents are eligible to receive at least 16.8% Child Care benefit (CCB) from the Family Assistance Office (FAO).
Call FAO on 13 61 50 to ensure you receive your reduced fees or can claim them back in your yearly tax return. For more information see the Child Care Benefit Fact Sheet on the FAO website.
Children with High Support Needs
Long day care service staff are trained to be inclusive of all children, however, some services may require Inclusion Support Agency (ISA) help. ISAs are funded by the government, through the Inclusion and Professional Support Program to provide child care services with practical supports that will help them provide quality, inclusive environments for all children.
Priority groups are:
- Children with a disability
- Children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children
- Children with refugee status.
SDN Northern Sydney Inclusion Support Agency is the ISA for child care services in the Ryde local government area. If your child requires additional support, ask staff at the centre to contact their ISA on 9439 2182.
Regulations and Accreditation
Department of Community Services Children's Services Advisors oversee all Long Day Care Centres, Occasional Care and Preschools ensuring that centres are adhering to the State Government Regulations and Licensing Procedures. For full details see the Family and Community Services website.
Federal Government and Quality Improvement and Accreditation System (QI&AS)
All Family Day Care and LDCCs that offer families Child Care Benefit must be involved in QI&AS. This system helps regulate the quality of care, education health and hygiene standards. You can call the National Childcare Accreditation Council on 9249 1111 to find out if a centre is accredited, and to what standard.
Long Day Care Centres
Long Day Care Centres (LDCC) were developed primarily for working parents. For this reason, the majority of LDCCs provide a cooked lunch ensuring children receive 50% of their recommended daily intake of nutrients. They are required, by State Regulations, to be open a minimum of 48 weeks per year and open for more than eight hours per day.
All LDCCs observe individual children and program experiences for them that will help develop and consolidate children's development. There are State and Federal Government legal requirements that govern LDCCs.
See the Community Information Directory for a listing of long day care centres in the Ryde and Hunters Hill regions.
Preschools cater for children three to six years. As in Long Day Care they are governed by State Legislation and offer a program based on children's individual needs to consolidate and enhance a child's total developmental. Daily hours of operation and attendance per year usually coincide with those of State Schools, but check with individual centres.
Each centre is also different when allocating days for attendance. They usually allocate either two or three days depending on:
- The age of your child
- What vacancies they have
- When your child will be commencing school.
See the Community Information Directory for a listing of preschools in the Ryde and Hunters Hill regions.
A highly flexible centre based form of childcare and education. They cater for children aged 0 - 6 years for short periods of time, enabling parents time to attend appointments, go shopping etc.
See the Community Information Directory for a listing of occasional care centres in the Ryde and Hunters Hill regions.
Playgroups are designed to enable the parent / carer to attend, with their child/ren, for regular and informal gatherings. The playgroups are run by parents who establish, supervise and equip the groups and expect the parents / carers to participate fully.
There is usually a joining fee then a daily or weekly fee. Most playgroups are members of the Playgroup Association of NSW. Playgroups can be accessed by children aged 0 - 5 years.
See the Community Information Directory for a listing of playgroups in the Ryde and Hunters Hill regions.
Family Day Care
Family Day Care is a flexible alternative to Long Day Care. The service is provided by registered carers in their own home and can be accessed by children 0 - 5 years. Christian Community Aid employs a co-ordinator and several development officers to support and assist all individual carers. They also screen all caregivers and ensure the home environment meets Local and State Government Regulations.
See the Community Information Directory for a listing of family day care in the Ryde and Hunters Hill regions.