Kiddipedia is committed to helping build a bigger, better Australia by providing an evidence-based resource that includes content written by subject matter experts and thought leaders.

In doing so, we are thrilled to announce our partnership with Starting Blocks.

Kiddipedia’s keyword search will now include articles from Starting Blocks along with Australia’s other leading parenting websites.

So, what is Starting Blocks I hear you ask?

It is a government website that helps new parents take their first step into early childhood education and care. It provides a range of resources on child development, types of child care, quality ratings, and other information.

It is an initiative of the Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority (ACECQA). is a starting point to:

It’s an initiative of the Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) providing a starting point to:

+ learn about children’s developmental milestones

+ understand what to expect from an early childhood education and care service

+ find services and learn about their quality ratings

+ get tips on starting child care or preschool, and what can be done at home to encourage your child’s learning and development.


1- What is the National Quality Framework?

The National Quality Framework (NQF) aims to improve the quality of early childhood education and care services in Australia.

Providing children with quality experiences early in life can lead to better health, education and employment outcomes, building a productive and fair Australia.

The NQF includes legal requirements that all services must comply with.

These include requirements for:

  • the number of staff and their qualifications
  • ensuring children’s health and safety
  • service space and layout
  • the quality of developmental and learning experiences for children.


2- Why is there an emphasis on ‘education’ in early childhood and care services?

We use ‘education’ and ‘early learning’ when talking about these services, recognising that children learn from birth onwards through a range of play-based activities, from playing peek-a-boo with a baby to pre-schoolers playing dress-ups.

All these activities build a strong foundation for developing children’s social, emotional, physical, cognitive and language skills.

The early years are a period of great brain development, and building a strong foundation during them supports positive outcomes for children through school to adulthood.


3- What are the different types of early childhood education and care services?

There are many different service types available, including:

  • Long day care services for children from birth to school age usually operate 8 to 10 hours a day, typically Monday to Friday.
  • Family day care services for small groups of children from birth to 12 years of age in the home of a registered educator.
  • Preschool/kindergartens for children 3 to 5 years old operate as standalone services or as part of another education and care service or school.
  • Outside school hours care services for school age children operate before and after school and/or during school holidays.


4- How do I know if a child care service is good quality? 

Early childhood education and care services, or ‘child care services’, across Australia are quality rated. The National Quality Standard has 7 quality areas:

  1. Educational program and practice
  2. Children’s health and safety
  3. Physical environment
  4. Staffing arrangements
  5. Relationships with children
  6. Collaborative partnerships with families and communities
  7. Governance and leadership

Each quality area is made up of standards and elements. These describe the most important parts of providing quality child care, and are based on research.

Services receive a rating for each quality area as well as an overall rating. lists approved child care services and their quality ratings. lists approved child care services and their quality ratings.


5- What are the quality ratings?

Quality ratings can help you choose a service for your child.

Child care services receive one of the following quality ratings:

  • Excellent
  • Exceeding NQS
  • Meeting NQS
  • Working towards NQS
  • Significant Improvement Required

It’s important to look at the rating for each of the seven quality areas as well as the service’s overall rating.

You can also discuss these ratings with your service to learn how they are working to meet the National Quality Standard, even if your service is new and yet to be rated.

Visit to learn more about the National Quality Standard, quality ratings, preparing for starting child care and helping your child settle into a service.