The kindy and pre-school years are vitally important in preparing your child for their transition into school. You may not be sure whether to enrol your little one into a traditional kindergarten or choose a kindy program in a long day care centre.

So how do you decide which is the best fit for your child and for you?

First let’s take a look at some of the basic differences between traditional kindy and long day care kindy.

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Traditional Kindergarten

  • Often run by not-for-profit organisations or affiliated with schools
  • For children from 4 years of age by 30 June in the year they start
  • Operates during school terms only
  • Open two or three days per week
  • Usually between 9:00am and 3:00pm
  • Set drop off and pick up times

Long Day Care Kindergarten

  • Run by professional child care providers
  • For children from 4 years of age by 30 June in the year they start
  • Centres offering care from birth
  • Operates 52 weeks of the year
  • Open Monday to Friday
  • Usually between 6:30am and 6:30pm
  • Flexible drop off and pick up times

As well, both traditional kindy and long day care kindy have strict government requirements when it comes to staffing, space, facilities and equipment.

At first glance it may appear that the main difference between traditional kindy and long day care kindy is the opening hours! There are however some important benefits that long day care centres provide.

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6 Benefits to Long Day Care Kindy

The primary goal of a kindergarten program is to prepare for a smooth, healthy transition to a child’s school years. Long day care can offer even more to enhance your child’s development, growth and enjoyment at this wonderful stage of their life.

1. Keeping the family together

If your family has more than one child to consider for child care, then a long day care centre will give you the option for both (or all) of your children to be in the same location. Siblings gain a sense of comfort and assurance knowing each other is close by. It also saves you having to drop off and pick up your little ones at different locations.

2. Socialisation and supportive friendships

In kindy, children continue to form important language, social and cognitive abilities. Friendships are formed when children are enrolled at the centre as a group and move from room to room together as they grow.

Children attending a long day care kindergarten program will be able to stay in the same facility from infancy to school age. Through play-based learning they will thrive and flourish as they develop their social and self-help skills.

What a joy for children to play, learn and grow up together from babies, through kindergarten and into their school years.

3. Quality education

It’s important, no matter which kindy program you choose that it provides a holistic, nurturing environment for your child. They will thrive if their kindy is a wholesome environment that balances both play-based and structured learning.

To help your child grown and develop, their kindy program should encourage progression in the following areas:

  • Physical
  • Social
  • Emotional
  • Cognitive
  • Language

The early learning curriculum at your long day care kindy needs to be constantly updated and enhanced to ensure it meets your child’s individual needs. In long day care, children have the benefit of time.

This allows educators to follow a structured program that will give them the best start to their school years… and their life!

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4. Nourishing meals

If your child can enjoy healthy, well balanced, nutritious meals throughout their kindy days, it will positively impact their learning and development.

The majority of long day care centres provide meals and snacks including breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and a late afternoon snack.  Whilst all meals must meet nutritional guidelines, centres differ greatly in the quality of food on offer.

Ensuring your child has healthy, well-rounded meals is important to their growth both cognitively and physically. Choosing a kindy where the focus is on fresh, healthy, age appropriate meals will help fuel your little one’s mind and body.

5. Hours that work for you

 For working parents or those with busy lifestyles, long day care is the best choice for many reasons.

  • Open 12 hours a day, 5 days a week you can choose the hours that fit best with your working hours.
  • Centres are open 52 weeks of the year so you don’t need to worry if you need care during school holidays.
  • Drop off times are flexible to work in with your changing schedule.

Simply because long day care centres are open five days a week, doesn’t mean your child needs to attend kindy every day. You might choose to ease them into the program, working up to more days and longer hours.

The benefit is that you have more flexibility than with traditional kindy services that have set days and hours and don’t usually operate during school holidays.

 6. Fee Assistance

Taking the worry out of paying for your child care fees can make all the difference to your family. The Child Care Subsidy (CCS) is a governmental program that helps with out-of-pocket child care costs.

Both traditional and long day care programs can offer government-approved kindergarten services. A good long day care centre will work hard to maintain their Child Care Subsidy status.

Find out more about the government’s Child Care Subsidy program.

What’s most important?

Whether you decide to enrol your child in traditional kindy or long day care kindy what is most important is this:

The needs of your child should always come first. They should always feel loved, important and unique.

Equip your child with the love of learning

Petit Early Learning Journey provides a safe, respectful, nurturing and compassionate environment that supports your child’s development.

Our passionate educators recognise the responsibility they have in helping little minds grow and learn in readiness for their journey into school.

We work with you and your child to ensure they are nurtured and supported every step of the way to become happy and healthy individuals, with a love of learning that will last a lifetime.

Find out about Petit Early Learning Journey by booking a tour at one of our state-of-the-art centres near you. We’d love to show you and your child through our amazing kindy studios and interactive play-scapes and answer any questions you may have about our rich and nurturing kindergarten program.