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 Definitions of early childhood services

​​​​​​There are thousands of services that make up the early childhood education and care sector in Queensland.

The service type determines the legislation, if any that, that applies to a service.

Read the following definitions to see which legislation applies to you (some links will take you to the Queensland Government or department websites).

National Quality Framework

Most services are approved and regulated under the National Quality Framew​ork (NQF)​. The definitions of these services, which are divided into centre-based and family day care, include:

Centre-based services

Long day care

Long day care services​ provide care and educati​on for children from birth to school age, including before and after school care, depending on the individual service. Services generally operate for at least 10 hours a day from Monday to Friday for a minimum of 48 weeks each year.


Kindergarten services​ generally operate for six hours on school days during school terms and provide care and education for children in the year before they attend full-time school.

Outside school hours care

Outside school hours care (OSHC)​ is provided for school age children before and after school and as vacation care for at least four weeks per year.

Kindergarten in Indigenous Communities​

Kindergarten services deliver a kindergarten program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children​ in the year before school. The program provides 15 hours per week for children 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 years old living across the following 35 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

Family day care services

Family day care services​, otherwise known as home-based care, offer education and care in the private homes of registered carers through a family day care scheme. Family day care educators are monitored and supported by the scheme's coordination unit. A group of educators operate under one service approval through the scheme. Limits apply to the number of children in care who can be cared for in a home.

Education and Care Services Act 2013

Some Queensland education and care services are not captured under the NQF.

The Education and Care Services​ Act (Qld)​ and the Education and Care Services Regulation ​2013 (Qld)​ apply to these services. Read more about these services.

Unregulated services

Certain types of care are not regulated in Queensland. Read more about unregulated services.

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Last updated
24 October 2018
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