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Kindy vs Childcare – what are the key differences between these two options?

Updated: Jul 13, 2022

This is a frequently asked question by parents and often the answer is not as simple as you might think. When meeting families who have previously had their children in Childcare they often say that while it has its advantages in terms of the length of the day and the meals/care items that may be provided, there are some drawbacks to this type of care. The most frequently voiced complaints are:

  • That their child is not being “challenged” enough

  • They are often confused about who is “in-charge” at the Centre

  • Staff turnover is high

  • Their child does not settle well at drop-off

  • Their child is regularly unwell

  • Their child is in a ‘Kindy program’ but there is not a qualified Kindy teacher present

Having taught in both settings and having had two children go through both types of care - I have a good understanding of the differences between the two early learning settings and where families tend to see the most benefits.

The Benefits of Kindergarten

  • Relationships - since Kindy has set days for each group you have the same children attending each program. This helps to facilitate quality relationships with both the staff and the other children.

  • Community - with set start and finish times families can get to know each other during drop off and pick up and therefore form their own community around the kindergarten.

  • Structure - Kindy is more structured and has a regular daily routine so that children know what to expect each day and are well prepared for Prep.

  • Social - Community Kindergartens like Kenmore District Kindergarten will have several social events each year which contributes to a tight-knit community. Each group has a class rep who is responsible for organising playdates, dinners and coffee mornings at a time that suits the families. Some of the popular events that we hold at our Kindy are our Family BBQ’s, Family Fun Days and Christmas Pizza Evenings.

  • Involvement - Kindy’s are managed by a committee of parents so families enrolled are truly invested in their children’s education.

  • Stability - Kindy teacher and educator positions are well sought after so there is very low staff turnover.

  • Local - Kenmore District Kindergarten has been in operation for 65 years and has strong ties with the local community.

  • Nature - There is a big focus on outdoor play at community kindergartens. At Kenmore District Kindergarten we have lush grass, mature trees that provide a lot of shade, and plenty space for children to run.

  • Activities - Many Kindy’s run specialty programs that are not available at childcare. At our Kindy all the children are exposed to a wide variety of activities through our Music, Sports, Forest Wildings School, visits from Bee Experts and Cultural programs. Some childcare services may run an opt-in program that only a few children will attend.

  • Qualified - Kindy programs are run by qualified teachers who provide high quality experiences throughout the entire day.

  • Flexibility - Some Kindergartens have adapted to meet working family needs. At Kenmore District Kindergarten we have a long-day program, and we offer Aftercare every day of the week.

  • Transition - Part of the focus of kindergarten is school readiness. Therefore, many Kindies such as Kenmore District Kindergarten run a transition to school program and other excursions to local schools. Our relationship with Kenmore State School includes attendance at the Easter parade, Under-Eight’s Day, Tuck-shop visits and use of the school’s environmental area for our Bush/ Forest Kindy.

Benefits of Childcare:

  • Most Childcare Centre’s operate on much longer days – usually the day is at least 10 hours long which gives parents flexibility in drop-off and pick-up times.

  • Many childcares now cater meals and provide nappies/wipes to the younger children. This helps to alleviate some stress on the parents having to prepare meals but means that they have less control over what their children eat.

  • If you work long hours and have more than one child needing care, a childcare centre will mean they could both attend the same service.

  • Childcare Centres are open most of the year, which is handy for working parents.

Finally, we recognise the needs of working families and that often both parents are employed full-time. Many of our families have their children enrolled in both our Kindergarten program and at another childcare facility on separate days. These families often report back how happy they are with this mix of care and how they can see their children thriving. And wonderfully, we also hear that the children look forward to their Kindy days and miss their teachers on their non-Kenmore District Kindy days.

Alison Pechey


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