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Yes, there’s lots to think about when preparing to enrol your child at Goodstart! This list of frequently asked questions may help. 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 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. We recommend checking with your local centre about their operating times.
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.

Enquiring about care

How do I find out more about my local centre?
You can find out more by visiting your local centre – we welcome enquiries 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 enquiry form online?
After you have submitted your enquiry 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,
  • If no places are available we will then add you to the centre's waitlist.

Enrolment process

How do I enrol at a Goodstart Early Learning centre?
When you enrol at a Goodstart 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, information we need from you about your child for example their routine, as well as a quote for your daily fees. We encourage you to ask as many questions as you like, we are here to support both you and your child.
Can I enrol online?
We don't offer online enrolment because it's so important for families to come see and experience our centres 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 their waiting list. These waitlists are regularly reviewed and families are contacted once a place becomes available. If you wish to no longer be on a particular centre's waitlist then you can remove yourself by contacting the centre directly or our Family Support Team on 1800 222 543.

Fees and benefits

How much does it cost to send my child to a Goodstart Early Learning centre?
Fees vary from centre to centre and are also dependent on things such as the number of days in care, the age of your child as well as your eligibility for any government subsidies. We recommend speaking with your Centre Director who will be able to provide you with 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?
Goodstart closes for public holidays. However, unlike many other providers in the sector Goodstart does not charge you if your scheduled booked day falls on public holidays.

Do I still need to pay for a scheduled day if my child is sick?
Yes, fees still apply for sick days, however your Centre Director may be able to arrange a make-up or swap day at their discretion. The Child Care Subsidy 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 (excluding Public Holidays) that fall on a usual day of attendance. However Goodstart offers a holiday discount for up to four weeks of care per financial year. Please note families need to provide written notification two weeks in advance to apply the holiday discount (25 per cent discount on the full fee).  Under exceptional circumstances, holiday discount may be applied outside these requirements at the discretion of the Centre Director. Fee payments need to be up-to-date to receive the holiday discount.

What government rebates and benefits are available to families?
The Child Care Subsidy (CCS) is a payment offered by the Australian Government for which you may be eligible. To find out if you are eligible for CSS visit the Department of Human Services website or use our Simple Subsidy Estimator. Depending on your personal circumstances, there may also be other government funding available.

What is the Child Care Subsidy (CCS)?
On 2 July 2018, the Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate was replaced by a single Child Care Subsidy.

The Child Care Subsidy is means tested based on the combined family income, the fortnightly activity of families – such as work, study or volunteering – and the type of service a child attends.

As part of the Child Care Subsidy, the number of hours of subsidised care you’ll be entitled to will be based on your level of recognised activity. Understanding the different types of activity that will be recognised is key to maximising your Child Care Subsidy.  Click here for more information on what classifies as recognised activity.

Find out more about the CCS and use our simple subsidy estimator.


What is 'play-based learning'?
We have a play-based learning approach which supports young children to make sense of their world and learn vital foundational skills 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 build relationships and engage in a group.

Children will be supported to play independently, in small groups, in large groups, 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 
What is the National Quality Framework?

The National Quality Framework (NQF) was the result of an agreement between all Australian governments to work together to provide better educational and developmental outcomes for children.  

The NQF introduced a new quality standard in 2012 to improve education and care across long daycare, family daycare, preschool/kindergarten, and outside school hours care.

The National Quality Standard (NQS) is a key aspect of the National Quality Framework (NQF) and sets a high, national benchmark for early childhood education and care.

The NQS brings together the 7 key quality areas that are important to outcomes for children:

  1. Educational program and practice
  2. Children’s health and safety
  3. Physical environment
  4. Staffing arrangements
  5. Relationships with children
  6. Collaborative partnerships with families and communities
  7. Leadership and service management
Learn more on the ACECQA website

What to pack

What do I need to pack in my child's bag?
When you first enrol at a Goodstart centre, we will provide you with everything you need to know about starting care, including a detailed list of what to bring each day. In the meantime here's a general guide to help: 
  • 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 (if required)
  • 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. Please note our centres have formal processes in place to support children who require short or long-term medications as well as management plans for children with any known medical conditions. Please speak further with your centre staff regarding this.
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. Each centre is different so please speak with your local centre to confirm what services they provide. 

Do I need to pack sunscreen?
As a sun-safe organisation we provide child-friendly sunscreen, however if your child has sensitive skin please feel free to provide your preferred brand.
What else should I pack in my child's bag?
Your centre will be able to advise you of anything specific they may need, however most importantly please remember to label all of your child's items so we can easily keep track of them.

Supporting children with additional needs

What support is available for children with additional needs?
We are passionate about ensuring all children have access to early learning and have facilities and resources in place in our centre to support children with specific requirements or additional needs - from allergies to greater care needs such as physical or learning disabilities or behavioural concerns.
Please speak with your local Goodstart Centre Director about how we can work together to support your child's individual 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 80 per cent of a child's brain is developed within the first five years. 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 safe nurturing and stimulating environments, whether at home or in a formal early learning environment. Parents are a child's first teacher and we partner with families to build on what is learned in the home and further amplify a child's learning and development to ensure they have the skills they need for school and life.

Contact us

Call 1800 222 543 or submit your enquiry below


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