These days, most of us work to afford our living costs. When we’re parents to young children, we inevitably have to find someone to care for them during our core working hours.
Thankfully, childcare options across Australia allow one and two parent families to go about their business. Yet this adds to the list of monthly expenses many are already struggling to cover – the mortgage or rent payments, utilities and food bills. And some childcare providers are costly, particularly those in central city locations.
Most parents considering childcare options have two key questions: how much does day care cost and what does it actually cover? Here, we’re looking closer at day care costs Sydney and what you can expect for your child; plus, we give you our top five tips about finding the best cost childcare provider.
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Costs from one childcare centre to the next can vary greatly. It is entirely up to the provider what they charge parents, with this component of childcare very much unregulated in Australia.
The current average daycare cost in Sydney and the surrounding areas is approximately $167*. While this might sound like a lot of money, when you consider the service provided to your child and the skills they gain from a childcare environment – physical, mental, social and academic – it quickly becomes apparent how this cost could be worth bearing.
The costs set by a provider encompass many facets – experienced and certified staff, high-quality equipment, education programming and more. Since none of this is likely to fluctuate regularly, this leads the provider towards a cost they can and should be able to communicate easily with potential customers.
More than a nice thing to do, a childcare provider must be transparent about their costs from the outset. Aside from giving an accurate picture to prospective customers about what they can expect to pay, it shows honesty, which is critical in this industry. If parents don’t feel they can trust a provider, why would they leave a child in their care?
Tip one: Look for a childcare provider who is open and honest about their costs on all their advertising and marketing platforms.
CCS & ACCS
Nowadays, most parents of young children don’t have an option when it comes to childcare – it’s a fundamental requirement which allows them to work. Of course, most consider the cost of childcare against what they’re earning to see if the former strikes out the latter; and if it does, are they better off staying at home with their child instead of working?
Fortunately, in Australia, funding is available to help families meet the cost of childcare, giving their child all the benefits of childcare while they work – without worrying about how they can afford it.
Currently, the Australian government has two funding streams available to eligible parents or carers:
Child Care Subsidy (CCS)
CCS is financial assistance to help cover the costs of approved childcare. It is paid directly to your childcare provider to reduce the fees you pay. The amount you receive depends on your income, your child’s age, the type of childcare they receive and the hours you and your partner work or study.
Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS)
ACCS goes beyond regular assistance most families are entitled to, helping those facing barriers to childcare. It covers circumstances such as when a grandparent is a child’s primary carer, families facing significant financial difficulty or parents moving from income support to employment.
All childcare funding claims are made through Centrelink. Once approved, the claim is paid directly to an approved provider, who then charges you the remaining fees owing. Once you know the amount you are entitled to, a provider can tell you more about your estimated final costs.
The good news is, most families are entitled to something – so when you first look at the fees a provider is charging, keep in mind the final amount you will pay will likely be lower.
Tip two: Before you decide on a childcare provider, speak with Centrelink about your funding eligibility so you know exactly how much support you are entitled to.
All-inclusive Costs for Childcare
Understandably, parents want to know what they receive for their investment in childcare.
Another crucial consideration when you’re assessing childcare costs is what the fees include, and these can differ significantly from one early learning centre to the next.
For example, some centres base their costs around the basics they provide to a child – a facility, its staff and the number of hours and days a child spends in their care. This model relies on parents or carers to provide many of their child’s essentials, such as food, formula milk and nappies. They may even request you provide your own bedding for rest time.
Alternatively, some childcare centres offer an all-inclusive service to families. This type of ‘no hidden extras’ service suits many parents as it covers all aspects of their child’s care and leaves them with nothing to pack (more than likely for busy parents, nothing to forget to pack!).
As well as all the fundamentals most young children in Australia require each day – food and drink, nappies, wipes, sun hat and sunscreen – an all-inclusive childcare service may even stretch to extra-curricular activities like incursions, sports or language lessons.
Tip three: When looking around a prospective childcare centre, ask the staff for a full and detailed list of everything included in the day care cost.
Did you know…Kids Club centres include everything in the cost with zero hidden extras!
In-house chefs preparing fresh, nutritional meals in on-site commerical grade kitchens
Creams & Wipes
Mindfulness & Wellbeing Activities
Sporting & Physical Activities
Special Guests (Incursions)
Sunscreen & Sun Safe Protection
Childcare centres offer much more than a place to go while Mum or Dad work; they provide the foundation for the formative education years to follow. At least, they should!
Children experience significant brain development during their first five years, making early learning centres so pivotal in their educational journey. All childcare facilities provide children in their early years an opportunity to learn, yet this is achieved at varying levels and some centres stand out above others.
A successful learning experience comes down to a few key ingredients:
The environment. A centre should be warm and welcoming, with décor and equipment that sparks the imagination of its young occupants.
The activities. Adopting a play-based curriculum helps young children learn positively and independently. All activities should follow the Early Learning Years Framework to ensure a practical and balanced educational aspect.
The staff. Nurturing, caring and supportive Educators can make a difference to how a child learns effectively.
Leading childcare centres with a formal education program included in their costs have much to offer young children, providing an experience they can truly benefit from. The result – a child who is physically, mentally, socially and academically ready for primary school – can feel priceless.
Tip four: Look for a childcare provider with a clear and structured education program tailored to each age group within the centre, including suitable equipment and activities to progress the children’s learning.
It’s a common misconception that a higher cost automatically means higher quality.
While childcare costs remain unregulated, many components of this sector are quite the opposite. Quality plays a huge part in childcare and providers have multiple compliance boxes to tick before they can even consider operating.
The Government’s National Quality Standards (NQS) were created to hold childcare providers accountable for multiple aspects of service, commanding high standards in education, health and safety, the childcare environment, staffing and governance. The framework includes several minimum requirements providers have to meet, although some go above this and exceed expectations.
But quality is about more than this. When it comes to someone caring for your child, you want to know every aspect of the centre’s service is of a reputable standard. A good way to assess a centre for quality is to see it in action. Most childcare providers offer a tour to prospective parents; make sure to take one when considering a centre for your child and see for yourself how they operate – the environment, activities, staff, and provision of care. Then you can decide if the day care costs correlate with the quality of service.
Tip five: Check your prospective childcare provider’s NQS rating and ask for details of its commitment to service quality.
How Much is Day Care in Sydney?
As you might expect, the cost of childcare differs across our states, and city centre locations are where you will find providers charging the most. Yet it’s crucial to keep this in perspective when considering which centre works for you and your child, factoring in precisely what you are receiving for the investment. Is yours an all-inclusive childcare option from a leading high-quality, trusted childcare provider?
Also, once the CCS is taken into account, you will typically find whatever cost you see advertised by a childcare provider is not the final cost you’ll pay. That’s great news for working families trying to manage their budget wisely.
To be transparent about Kids Club childcare costs, here are the daily fees at our Sydney CBD Long Day Centres before any CCS is applied:
|260 Elizabeth St, Surry Hills
(1 min from Central station and on-site parking)
|83 Clarence St, Sydney
(5 mins from Wynyard station and on-site parking)
We are confident the fees reflect the incredible service you’ll receive from the experienced and caring team at Kids Club. Parents and children trust us to deliver – and you can too!
Come and visit us at Kids Club!
Our team is proud of the high quality, high-value service we offer to children and families in Sydney – and we welcome all prospective parents to take a tour and see for themselves what that looks like.
If you want to pop in for a chat and see us in action, contact our team today.
*Data taken from www.toddle.com.au