June 30, 2021

After the post-natal honeymoon phase has passed, the first (and hardest) decision working moms and dads are faced with when they return to work is who should look after their little one(s).

Early childhood care is essential. Not only does it take the pressure off your shoulders while you make a living, but it’s pivotal in your children’s cognitive and social development for success in school and later life.

The most popular childcare choice in Australia is childcare centres. However, some parents are starting to question whether family daycare may be better.

Let’s take a closer look at each to help you decide which suits your little ones’ needs best!


If you take your children to family daycare, they will be looked after by an individual carer in their own home. Their childcare options often include occasional care and before and after school care, but this depends on the carer you choose.

Although this home-based environment is alluring, working parents should be aware that it may not be a reliable choice. If the carer falls ill, a plan B will have to be arranged. However, family daycare does boast some notable benefits for your children.


Depending on the carer you choose, family daycares tend to be cheaper than childcare centres as they are run from home by one or two carers.

Rather than having a set cost, they typically charge you per hour. If you only need your child cared for sporadically, this may be the more economical choice.

Relaxed Environment

Having your children cared for in a home offers a more relaxing, familiar environment for them. The care, schedules, and any programmes are also just as laid back with more freedom.

More Personalised Care

The child-to-carer ratio is very low as they don’t have the capacity to care for more than a couple of children. This means that your children will enjoy more special attention.

Siblings Stick Together

As children aren’t separated into age groups, your children will be able to learn and play together throughout the day!


Childcare centres are accredited places specially designed to nurture children from birth, prepare them for school, and develop essential skills for later life. Your children will be looked after by qualified teachers and childcarers, and have cooked meals onsite.

These centres offer long day care, occasional care, preschool and holiday programmes, before and after school care to local schools, and specialised programmes. Although childcare centres cost more, they have heaps of unique benefits and facilities that more than justify it.

Socialisation And Independence

Although private childcare centres have smaller classes and more carers and educators, they still care for more children than family daycares. This is particularly beneficial for children who need to socialise more – especially for those with separation anxiety.

They learn language and problem-solving skills, increasing their resilience and independence, as well as how to interact with peers and other adults without their parents as a safety blanket.

More Structure

Childcare centres use structure and routine for stability and to help children develop discipline and time management skills. Indoor and outdoor play, naps, nappy changes, eating, and feeding are scheduled and recorded – all of which are included in set fees.

Early Education

Childcare centres employ qualified educators to help develop children from birth to their early teens and prepare them for school. Their programmes range from literacy and numeracy to preschool programmes, music and dance lessons, and more.

Outdoor Exploration

Depending on the childcare centre you choose, your children will enjoy much larger outdoor play areas bursting with different learning and exploration opportunities. These areas are often natural, offering children a chance to interact with and learn through playing in nature.

School Preparation

Childcare centres focus on developing your children’s skills to prepare them for school in several ways, such as learning activities cleverly designed as ‘play.’ As they move from the babies room to the toddler room and then the preschool room, they learn valuable lessons with children of their own age that mimic those found in schools.

Specialised Programmes

Some childcare centres, the Forest Childcare, offer specialised programmes to provide more diverse, unique learning experiences to enrich your children. These range from motor skills development to wellbeing classes, mandarin language lessons, yoga classes, little scientist lessons, cultural excursions, and more.


In short, it depends.

If you’d like your children to be cared for in a home environment with less structure and more individual attention, then family daycare may suit their needs best.

If you’d like your children to be nurtured by qualified carers and educators to prepare them for school and later life through education, exploration, excursions, and unique, structured learning experiences, then childcare centres are the ideal choice for their development.

At Forest Childcare, we believe in early childhood development and the stability of structure. Our passion is enriching children by guiding them to explore their interests, learn morals, and develop core social and thinking skills for success in later life.

If you share our vision, feel free to book a personalised tour of our grounds today. Download our 2020 parent info booklet here for more insights!

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