Enrolling and starting child care

Starting at an early childhood service (child care) is an important milestone in not only your child’s life, but also in your life as a parent. Once you have chosen an early childhood service (child care) that has a place available and meets the needs of your family, you need to enrol your child.

Enrolling in child care

Once you have chosen a child care service and made sure that the information about their procedures and policies are displayed including their service approval or licence - the next step is to enrol your child.

Information you need to provide

When enrolling your child you’ll need to provide the following information:

  • your child’s name and address and details of any special needs
  • information about yourself and any other parents, carers or guardians
  • details of the people who can pick up your child
  • information about your child’s medical health and immunisation status.

Immunisation status

To finalise enrolment for your child in long day care, kindergarten, family day care or occasional care you must provide the service with an immunisation status certificatefrom the Australian Immunisation Register. It must show that your child is:

  • up to date with vaccinations for their age OR
  • on a vaccine catch-up schedule OR
  • has a medical condition preventing them from being fully vaccinated

If you are having trouble with the immunisation requirements, let the service know and they may be able to assist you.

How do I obtain my child's immunisation status certificate?

A copy of the Immunisation History Statement can be obtained from the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register (ACIR):

No Jab No Play legislation

For more information on the No Jab No Play legislation, see:

Starting child care

There are a range of things you can do to help get your child ready to start child care:

  • arranging play dates with other children that go to the same centre
  • talking to your child about what to expect
  • packing a change of clothes for your child and labelling all belongings
  • if they are old enough, encouraging your child to dress themselves, so they can manage tasks like taking their jumper on and off
  • having practice runs taking your child to the child care centre before their first day
  • allowing time to say goodbye on their first day. At first you may want to stay to make sure your child feels secure, but once they settle in, a short goodbye encourages independence
  • keeping the centre staff informed of changes in your child’s life that might affect their experiences at child care.

The first five years

The greatest development in a child’s brain occurs in the first five years of life and increases the chances of positive outcomes at school and throughout life. Early experiences are crucial as they help establish foundations for social, emotional and cognitive learning which will be built on in later years.

Quality early childhood education offers supportive relationships and positive learning experiences which together enhance optimal brain development in children.