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Parenting Guide Types of Child Care Programs

Child Care Programs


When it comes to child care services, education and programs there are so many different choices, which can often leave parents very confused. If you are one of those parents who just can’t figure it out, here are all the different types of child care programs. 

Family Day Care:

Family daycare is a group of experienced educators who provide your child with care and different developmental activities at their home. It is mainly for kids who haven’t started school yet, but some will provide care programs for kids who are up to 12 years old. This type of care is tailored to every family’s needs and it usually offers overnight care. 

Child Care Centre:

A child care centre is mainly targeted towards children under school age. It is built and adapted for care services as well as early childhood education. Long daycare centres will provide you with both part-time and all-day care programs depending on your needs. In most programs, there are meals that are included. Sometimes there will be care centres that will also provide care for primary school children during holidays and before or after school.


As most are familiar, kindergarten is a planned educational program that will prepare your child for going to school. It is purposed towards kids who are between the age of 3 to 5. Depending on where you live, kindergartens can take place in different settings. Some will be in a school, in a community setting, their own building or even a part of a long daycare center. Usually, kindergartens run from 9 am to 3 pm which is similar to school hours as their main focus is to prepare kids for school. Depending on where you live, the term kindergarten can vary.

Outside School Hours Care:

Something that not a lot of parents are familiar with outside school hours care. It is a surprise for any school-age child. They take in children before and after school as well as any school holiday. Even though it is for any child that is old enough to go to school, it is more catered towards kids that are in elementary school. Care centres like this are usually operated by private organization’s or the community. The typical working hours are:

  • Before school 7.00 to 9.00 am
  • After school 3:00 pm to 6.00 pm
  • Holidays 7:00 am to 6.00 pm 

In-Home Care:

As its name says, in-home care takes place at your home. The early childhood education is provided by a state qualified educator. This type of child care program is targeted towards families whose lifestyles don’t comply with the mainstream options because they are working non-standard hours, have complex needs or simply being geographically isolated. What makes this different from all other child care programs is that you need to demonstrate that your lifestyle does not comply with the mainstream care programs. After you have proven that, the state will assign you a professional that will meet your child’s needs. 

Casual Care Services:

Casual care services will provide you with a short period of care and it is targeted towards kids who are under school age. Unlike in-home care, casual care services are available for everyone both on a regular and casual basis depending on what your family needs. It allows you to have the flexibility to leave your child while they are still in a learning environment and socializing with others. It is usually run by non-profit organization’s, community organization’s or local councils. 


Something that a lot of parents are familiar with are nannies. They are employed by the family and they are meant to undertake all the tasks that are related to child care. In most cases, nannies’ duties are generally limited to child care but they will sometimes do domestic tasks. Depending on your state laws and how you are employing someone, a nanny doesn’t have to have any formal training to be a nanny. 

Nanny Sharing:

Along with nannying, there is something called nanny sharing. That is a nanny who is employed by two families and nannies their children at once. Sometimes parents will want to keep their kids socialized or just like to cut down on the expense. 

Mother’s Help:

Another thing that not a lot of new parents know about is mother’s help. It is a helper who has very little to no experience caring for children. Because of that, they are there to help you with your child as well as your housekeeping duties. Usually, it is people who are looking to gain experience in this field while undertaking a formal study. 


Just like a nanny, we have all heard of babysitters. They will offer custodial care of your kids on a full-time or part-time basis. In most cases, babysitters are trained in basic skills such as first aid and CPR. Usually, babysitters will work at an hourly rate and they will be paid extra if they handle additional duties such as housekeeping, cooking and helping with schoolwork. 

Forest Schools:

A really unconventional child care program that not a lot of people are familiar with is the forests schools also known as outdoor schools. These kinds of schools are play-based and they obviously take place outside. Even though everything revolves around letting children play, explore and play outside, they are still learning important life skills. It is very similar to in-home programs as they work in smaller groups. There is no age limit when it comes to forest schools, the only requirement is that a child is a stable walker so that means that it is best for children who are 2 and up. 

Choosing the right fit of child care for your family can be quite a lengthy and stressful process, but once you discover what works best for your kids it will be great. Keep in mind that no matter what program you choose you can go wrong with it because if it works for your family then it’s the right choice. 

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