I am often asked about the difference between Long Day Care and Pre-school. At Columba Cottage we offer both and having the choice is wonderful for families.
In the past there was a vast difference between Long Day Care and a dedicated Pre-school but with the advent of the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF), an early childhood curriculum framework, this has changed. The EYLF guides educators in developing quality, early childhood education programs to enhance learning from birth to five years as well as school transition. This Australia wide program has a strong emphasis on play-based learning but also recognises the importance of communication, social and emotional development, and language, including literacy and numeracy.
So really, one of the most important differences between a Long Day Care program and a Preschool Centre program is the opening hours. Many preschools run a ‘Preschool Program’ from 9am to 3pm every day during school terms, with the purpose of preparing children for their future schooling. Long Day Care educators also schedule in the ‘Preschool Program’ at particular times and days of the week to cater for children attending various hours and days (due to the extended hours of Long Day Care).
Long Day Care centres, such as Columba Cottage, provide a Pre-school program but within the Long Day Care format. This means we are open year round and for longer hours per day while still delivering a Pre-school curriculum with Early Childhood Teachers.
At Columba Cottage we are also very lucky to be on the grounds of St Columba Anglican School (SCAS) which aids both our School Readiness and the Transition to School programs. Educators accompany all our children to the school in the final semester of pre-schooling, so that children are exposed to a library, canteen, classrooms and large playgrounds. They attend activities such as the sports carnival, Easter Hat parade, Christmas pageant and many more. The SCAS Kindergarten teachers assist with the transition program. A percentage of our children have enrolled to attend SCAS so for them, transition is particularly important.
The answer to the question What is the difference between Long Day Care and Pre-school is: your personal choice.
About the author: All round go-getter, Susanna Christie, is the Executive Director of Columba Cottage Early Learning Centre, where she leads a passionate team of 50 staff who love what they do, caring for children ranging in age from 6 weeks to 6 years. With a background in teaching from pre-school through to university, Susanna is passionate about all aspects of child development and wellbeing. Her qualifications include a Masters in Education, Bachelor of Teaching and a Graduate Diploma in Educational Studies. Susanna’s aim is to ensure that Columba Cottage remains the best Early Learning Centre on the Mid North Coast.