Early Childhood Education and Care

The first three to four years of life establish a child’s learning and development. Children’s brains develop rapidly from birth, with healthy brain development setting the foundation for learning and positive social relationships.

Participation in quality early learning programs has significant benefits for young children because it makes the most of their heightened ability to absorb information and acquire skills.

Children who have accessed quality, structured early learning are more likely to make a successful transition to school, stay longer in school, continue on to further education and fully participate in employment and community life as adults.

High-quality programs provide rich learning environments using age appropriate, play-based methods. We now know that early childhood education sets the right foundations for lifelong learning and longer-term engagement in education.

Early childhood education and care in the ACT includes a range of different service types. This includes long day care, family day care, and public and independent preschool.

The National Quality Framework recognises that children's learning happens from birth, and those working with children in professional education and care settings have an important role to play in enhancing children's learning and development.

Quality early childhood education and care is a great start for your child's learning and development.

School Aged Care

School age care programs (also known as Out of School Hours Care or After School Care) support families by providing before and after school care, and vacation care. They are regulated under the National Quality Framework and are usually located at or close to public, Catholic and independent schools across Canberra.

School age care mainly caters for children attending primary school (generally ages five to 12 years), although some providers may be able to accept enrolments for preschool children.

Hours and locations will vary depending on community needs, generally operating on weekdays as:

  • before school care 7.00am–8.45am (or until school start time)
  • after school care (including early school finish) 3.30pm–6.00pm (or from school finish time)
  • vacation care (during school holidays) 7.00am–6.00pm.

School aged care supports children to engage in play and leisure activities; learn new skills to further their development; and build relationships with educators in a community that is connected to, but separate from, the school community.

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