The importance of Australian childcare centres to children
Quality childcare services have long been a necessity for Australian families.
It’s estimated that there are 1,376,470 million Australian children and 986,000 families who attend childcare.
The high demand for childcare calls for qualified childcare professionals who offer high-quality care. These professionals fill roles in the 13,138 childcare services operating in Australia and help children reach their full potential and developmental milestones!
Make no mistake, taking care of children in childcare centres is more than babysitting.
As they play an important role in helping children reach healthy development, childcare educators must be trained and certified to provide holistic support to those in their care.
Australian children spend an average of 24 hours per week in childcare. It is the responsibility of childcare centres to provide a healthy and conducive environment for children to play, learn, and thrive when they’re not at home.
Parents and carers usually make arrangements for child care depending on its availability in their community as well as their household budget. There are two main types of childcare services available in Australia: formal and informal.
With dual income households becoming a trend, working parents rely on childcare educators’ abilities, knowledge, and expertise in helping their children reach their full potential.
Childcare is proven to help with growth and brain development. It also strengthens social skills as well as cognitive development.
For parents, childcare services help them balance their professional and family life, particularly for single-parent and dual-income families.
Formal care can include both childcare centres and family day care.
Around 60% of children in Australia attend formal childcare, and most come from two-parent families where both parents work.
3 benefits of formal childcare services
Choosing a specific daycare provider can be a difficult task for most parents. But if you’re considering enrolling your child in a formal daycare centre, you should be ready to spend at least $10.50 per hour on formal family daycare costs.
And over the recent years, there’s an increase from 17% to 28% for children aged 0-11 years old enrolled in formal childcare.
Many parents choose formal childcare services in preparation for the formal school of their children. There are many benefits of enrolling your child in formal childcare centres that may include:
1. Structured, routine play and learning
Structured learning and routines help children feel safe and comfortable.
Planned activities, as well as your day-to-day routine can help children’s mental, emotional, social, and psychological well being. Routine makes their environment more predictable and reduces uncertainty and anxiety.
2. More opportunities for children to socialise and interact
As we mentioned above, babies and toddlers spend an average of 24 hours a week in formal care. This gives them a fantastic opportunity to interact with others and build their social skills.
Social interaction is part of growth and empowerment. It teaches children how to develop empathy and also helps develop speaking and listening skills.
3. Approved learning system
Designed to support children’s learning and overall wellbeing, Australia’s approved learning framework supports children at every stage of their development.
Formal childcare services give your child the opportunity to learn skills critical for the following developmental milestones:
- Cognitive skills (thinking, remembering, paying attention)
- Social skills and emotions
- Speech, language, and communication
- Fine motor skills
- Gross motor skills
In Australia, informal childcare refers to non-regulated care that is either paid or unpaid.
The simplest way to consider informal childcare is grandparents, relatives, or other family members or friends that typically provide home-based care for children.
Informal care may also include paid services by nannies or babysitters.
About 45% of children aged 0-5 years attended childcare, while 32.3% of children aged 0-12 years are enrolled in informal childcare.
Decline of informal care
Early childcare education and care is a highly regulated sector in Australia.
Recent statistics tell us that there has been a significant decrease in children aged 0-11 in informal care, dropping from 37% to 29%. There are a few reasons why more and more parents choose formal care instead:
1. Increase in government subsidies
Improved government subsidies make childcare not only a convenient service, but a more affordable one, too.
Delivery of quality childcare services has also been a must in every state and territory. That’s why more parents rely on the ability of childcare workers to provide quality learning and education to children of all ages.
2. Formal childcare provides a variety of childcare support and growth
During their most formative years, formal childcare has a huge impact on a child’s development.
Any parent wants the best for their child, and through formal care, mums and dads can be confident that each facet of their child’s day in care contributes to their overall health and wellbeing.
3. Accessibility and growth
The demand for quality childcare services is only growing.
Early childhood education and care is still one of Australia’s fastest growing industries, with predicted growth of 22% set to create at least 9,000 jobs in 2023.
And such a growth in jobs also correlates to an increase in the number of centres in metro and urban areas, giving parents the confidence that they too can access quality care for their children.
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