Child Care FAQ's | Goodstart

Yes, there’s a lot to think about when preparing to enrol your child at Goodstart! This list of frequently asked questions may help. If your child has already started with Goodstart, try this list of FAQs. If you have more queries, or would like to speak to us, feel free to visit a centre, or phone 1800 222 543.

Importance of early learning

What is 'early learning'?
Early learning happens everywhere – at home, in centres, parks and shops. Young children are developing at an extremely fast pace and everything they encounter offers a new learning experience.
Why is early learning important?
Research shows us that children who start ahead tend to stay ahead. Significant differences in children's development are evident by age two and have a tendency not to close over time. The early years provide the foundation for the rest of a child's life.

Children are born ready to learn and the best learning happens in nurturing, positive, stimulating environments. That's why high-quality early learning experiences are so important. By creating these environments, we're providing the best opportunities for children to fulfil their potential.
What is the difference between 'daycare' or 'childcare' and 'early learning'?
For those in the sector, the difference is more than just words – 'daycare' or 'childcare' gives the impression that the service we provide is simply 'care'. It's much more than that: it's care plus education. Early learning captures the essence of what Goodstart is all about - nurturing and stimulating environments that inspire a love of learning.

Facilities and provisions

What ages does Goodstart cater for?
Age groups can vary from centre to centre, but generally we cater for children aged from six weeks old to school age. You can find out more about age groups at your local centres by using the 'Find a Centre' tool.
What are the operating hours?
Operating hours vary between centres, however they are generally open from 6.30am to 6.30pm, Monday to Friday, 52 weeks a year. We're not open on weekends or public holidays. Check with your local centre to make sure their operating hours suit your needs.
Do the children receive meals?
At many centres we provide morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and sometimes breakfast and a late snack where required. Centres that provide food have their own cook creating fresh, healthy meals for the children. A nutritious diet is vital for children’s development, so we make sure to provide meals that give children all the nutrients and energy they need. Children love to eat together, so the meal times at a centre are always fun!
Are nappies provided for babies and toddlers?
Many centres provide nappies. However, it's best to check with your local centre to see if nappies are on offer.

Inquiry process

How do I find out more about my local centre?
You can find out more by visiting your local centre – we welcome inquiries at any time. You can also check out your local centre's webpage (by using the 'Find a Centre' tool), or phone 1800 222 543.
What happens after I submit an inquiry form online?
After you have submitted your inquiry form, we will:
  • Call you back.
  • Discuss your child's needs.
  • Identify a suitable centre or centres in your area.
  • Contact the local centres to find out what vacancies are available.
  • Add you to a waitlist if no places are available at your centre of choice, if desired.

Enrolment process

How do I enrol at a Goodstart Early Learning centre?
When you enrol at a Goodstart Early Learning centre, we'll support you every step of the way. Our Centre Directors will invite you to take a tour of the centre first so you can see where your child will be cared for and to ensure you are comfortable with your decision. They will then provide you with an enrolment pack that contains everything you need to know about the centre and your child's routine and a quote for your daily fees. We encourage you to ask as many questions as you like – we are committed to providing open, honest communication that supports your decision.
Can I enrol online?
We don't offer online enrolment because its so important for families to see the centre firsthand. A tour is your chance to meet the staff and discuss your needs one-on-one with your Centre Director. They'll then be able to help with your enrolment and settling in your child.
How is the waitlist managed?
If there are no vacancies at the centre of your choice, you may want to join your centres waiting list. The lists are regularly reviewed by centre staff and our inquiries team. You'll be contacted if a place becomes available. You can take yourself off the waitlist by calling 1800 222 543.

Fees and benefits

How much does it cost to send my child to a Goodstart Early Learning centre?
Daily fees vary from centre to centre, and for individual families depending on how many days your child is in care, and what room they are in. You may also be eligible for government subsidies that will make a difference to your fees. Talk to your local Centre Director for a quote. Use the 'Find a Centre' tool to seek out your local centre.
What happens if my scheduled day falls on a public holiday?
Like most early learning centres, Goodstart closes for public holidays. If your scheduled day falls on a public holiday, we still need to charge to cover staff costs. This is a sector-standard practice. Early learning professionals are entitled to be paid on public holidays as in other industries. The Australian Government's Child Care Benefit (CCB) covers up to 42 absence days a year, which includes public holidays. So unless you exceed this quota, you will be eligible for the CCB discount on public holidays.

Do I still need to pay for a scheduled day if my child is sick?
Yes, Goodstart needs to charge for sick days to cover operating costs. This is standard practice across the industry, but we'll try to arrange a make-up or swap day if we can. The Child Care Benefit will cover up to 42 absence days a year with no documentation and unlimited sick days if you're able to provide a medical certificate or similar.
What happens when we go on holidays?
Normal fees apply for all absences (including Public Holidays) that fall on a usual day of attendance unless the family provides written consent two weeks in advance to apply 25 per cent discount on the full fee. Holiday discount is available for up to four weeks of care per financial year. Under exceptional circumstances, holiday discount may be applied outside these requirements at the discretion of the Centre Director. Fee payments must be up to date to receive holiday discount.
What government rebates and benefits are available to families?
There are two main subsidies offered by the Australian Government for which you may be eligible. These are the Child Care Rebate (CCR) and the Child Care Benefit (CCB). Just speak to Centrelink to find out if you are eligible for either of these subsidies and to what amount.
What is the Child Care Benefit (CCB)?
The CCB is a payment provided by the Australian Government that covers 24-50 hours of childcare per week. Eligible parents or guardians must:
  • Meet Australian residency requirements
  • Be enrolled/enrolling in an approved early learning centre (Goodstart is one of these!)
  • Meet child immunisation conditions.
The amount of CCB you receive varies depending on your income, type of care, amount of care, number of children in care, and whether or not you pass the work, training and study test. This last test is about whether you (or your partner) use childcare due to a work or study commitment. If you do, you could be eligible for higher CCB payments.

Find out more about the CCB. The Australian Government also has a handy online rebate calculator.

What is the Child Care Rebate (CCR)?
The CCR is an assistance program designed to help working families with the cost of childcare. The rebate covers 50 per cent of out-of-pocket expenses not covered by the CCB (up to $7,500 per year per child). In other words, it will help to bridge the gap between your total weekly fees and the amount CCB covers. You can choose to have the rebate paid directly to your child’s centre on a fortnightly basis, reducing your fortnightly fees. Or you can choose to have the rebate paid as a lump sum quarterly into your bank account. If you have a child in an approved centre (such as Goodstart), are eligible for the CCB, and have passed the work, training, and study test, you’ll be eligible for the Child Care Rebate. There is no means test for the rebate. Find out more about the CCR. The Australian Government also has an online subsidy calculator.


What is 'play-based learning'?
Goodstart Early Learning's programming is built around play-based learning. It allows young children to make sense of their world through exploration, developing and practising language and physical skills and experimenting with new ideas. Children build confidence, express themselves creatively, and develop their sense of self and identity. Besides individual exploration, they also learn co-operation and how to interact as part of a group.

You'll see play-based learning in solitary and group play activities, indoors and outdoors. Activities range from building spatial awareness with playdough or blocks, to honing fine motor skills and knowledge of colours and shapes with drawing and painting. Your Centre Director can tell you more.
What is the Early Years Learning Framework?
The Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) describes the principles, practices and outcomes essential to young children’s learning from birth to five years of age, as well as their transition to school. It's part of the Australian Government’s National Quality Framework for early childhood education and care.

The framework has a strong emphasis on play-based learning, recognising the importance of communication and language (including early literacy and numeracy) and social and emotional development. There are five learning outcomes defined by the EYLF:
  • Children have a strong sense of identity.
  • Children are connected with and contribute to their world.
  • Children have a strong sense of wellbeing.
  • Children are confident and involved learners.
  • Children are effective communicators.
Find out more about the EYLF or talk to the early learning professionals at your centre.
What is the National Quality Framework?
The National Quality Framework (NQF) is an Australian Government initiative aimed at bringing consistency to the level of quality of early learning and care across the country in the critical areas of education, health and safety. The NQF will also provide clearer and comprehensive information for families so they can choose the best services for their child. The main reforms being implemented through the NQF are:
  • Curriculum guided by approved learning frameworks
  • Improved staff-to-child ratios
  • New staff qualification requirements
  • New quality rating system
  • New national governing body (ACECQA)
There are seven quality standards being introduced as part of the NQF. These standards will form the basis of how a centre's quality is rated. The seven quality standards are:
  • Educational program and practice
  • Children's health and safety
  • Physical environment
  • Staffing arrangements
  • Relationships with children
  • Collaborative partnerships with families and communities
  • Leadership and service management
The NQF will commence 1 January 2012 and will be progressively implemented over the next eight years (through until 2020). Find out more about the NQF.

What to pack

What do I need to pack in my child's bag?
When you start at a Goodstart Early Learning centre, you'll be provided with a list detailing exactly what you need to pack, depending on your centre's specific requirements and your child's age. Consider packing:
  • A sunsafe hat which covers your child's face, neck and ears
  • Change of clothes (when involved with hands-on play-based learning, your child may get a little messy!)
  • A bib or two
  • Comfort item (if required), such as a toy or blanket
  • Dummy in a sealed, named container (if required)
  • Sleeping sheet set or blanket for nap time
  • Bottles
  • Expressed milk (if required)
  • Nappies, wipes and cream (if your centre does not provide them)
  • Water bottle with a lid or a sippy cup
  • Any medications – please give these to centre staff to manage directly.
Do I need to pack a lunch?
Many Goodstart centres provide meals, including morning and afternoon tea and lunch. Some also offer breakfast and a late snack. Centres differ so please check with your local centre first.

Do I need to pack sunscreen?
Goodstart centres provide child-safe sunscreen as we are committed to being a sunsafe organisation. However, if your child has sensitive skin, please feel free to pack your own preferred brand.
What else should I pack in my child's bag?
It's always a good idea to keep a couple of plastic bags handy in case you need to bring home some wet or messy clothes. And above all, make sure everything you pack is clearly labelled!

Inclusion support options

What support is available for children with additional needs?
Goodstart offers facilities and support for children with additional needs – from minor allergies to greater care needs such as physical or learning disabilities and behavioural issues.
We are committed to ensuring all children, regardless of life circumstance, have access to and inclusion in early learning in Australia. 
Our centres are working to provide targeted programs and support for children based on their individual needs.  By creating positive early learning environments tailored to individual needs, we’re providing the best possible opportunity for children to fulfil their potential.  We want to specifically assist those children who face additional challenges.
Please speak with the Centre Director at your local Goodstart Early Learning centre about how we can work together to manage your child’s specific needs.

Importance of the First Five Years

Why are the first five years of a child's life so important?
There's a huge amount of compelling recent research on the first five years of a child's development and how it affects the rest of their lives. We know that 90 per cent of a child's brain is developed by age three. We also know that children who start ahead stay ahead and keep accelerating beyond their peers.

Over time, it becomes harder to close gaps between children who are excelling, and those falling behind. That's why it's so important to get it right from the start. Too give our children the best possible opportunities for their future, we need to lay the foundations early.
Will my child fall behind if they don't attend an early learning centre?
The best learning happens in environments that are nurturing and stimulating, where children feel safe. Early learning happens everywhere - young children learn social, emotional, and physical skills through all kinds of activities and observations. Children learn by being engaged and doing, through watching and copying. We offer high-quality, play-based learning and our staff focus on each child’s development. But families can support early learning too. Check out our activities page for ideas of how you can encourage positive early learning at home.

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At Goodstart, children are at the heart of everything we do. As a not-for-profit organisation, we are committed to investing our profits on improved early learning resources, facilities and staff training.

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