Occasional care allows you the flexibility to leave your children in an early childhood learning environment to socialise and interact with other children.
There are many reasons why families use occasional care, including;
- Casual, part-time or shift work
- Respite care
- Crisis and emergency care
- Socialisation for child and family
- Education for child and family
- Leisure pursuits
- Voluntary community work
The Commonwealth Government’s Child Care Benefit scheme provides help with the cost of child care. All families using occasional child care services for work or study reasons will be able to get some assistance.
Some occasional care services can also offer fee reductions through the Child Care Benefit scheme to families using child care for other reasons. Your occasional care service can tell you what help is available.
Bookings can be made:
- Regular bookings
- Short sessions
- A school term
Ask the occasional care centre of your choice for their information brochure explaining their range of services and fee structures.
Quality child care is an important part of your community. All levels of government in Australia recognise the importance of quality child care. Each State and Territory has regulations and licensing requirements to assist in protecting your children whilst in care. Licensed child care centres are required to abide by these regulations. To help give you peace of mind, the regulations specify:
- The number of children in care
- The size of rooms and playgrounds
- The ratio of staff to children
- Health and safety requirements
Staff are a high priority in providing quality care for your children. State/Territory licensing requirements ensure that educators employed by the service are suitably qualified and screened.
LEARNING & DEVELOPMENT
Occasional care centres operate in an environment where each child’s personal development and cultural experiences are included in the educational program of the centre. Age appropriate developmental activities are based on the child’s individual needs, interests and personal experiences.
It is worth assessing the merits of a centre based on:
- Do my children feel comfortable?
- Does it ‘feel right’?
- Do the activities suit my children?
- Is there plenty of equipment and toys?
- Are parents encouraged to engage in the centre’s activities?
- Quality of providers and activities
- Availability of flexible care arrangements and times
- Experience and qualification of staff
- Ability to cater for any special needs your children may have
To enable a smooth transition into care, parents and children are encouraged to visit the centre. This provides your children with the opportunity to become familiar with the centre’s environment.
Staff are happy to discuss additional care requirements your children may have. Commonwealth support is also available to assist child care services to include children with additional needs.
Services encourage parent involvement and feedback. Talk to your service staff about how you can become involved as parents play an essential role to the service their children attend.