Balancing the cost of quality early learning and care is sometimes quite a challenge. That's why Big Fat Smile, who has been enriching the lives and minds of children and families in the Illawarra for almost 40 years, is helping by offering lots of extras at their Community Preschools.
Starting with Attendance Blocks. Big Fat Smile's Long Day Care centres offer Attendance Blocks (also referred to as Sessions) which let you choose nine or 10 hours of child care per day to suit your needs - so this means you can use less of your eligible child care subsidy hours too.
For example, if your long day care or child care centre is open for 12 hours (e.g. 6.30am - 6.30pm) but you only really need to use nine hours of care each day, in a centre WITHOUT Attendance Blocks, your subsidised hours would be deducted for using a full 12 hours, rather than only the nine they were in care for.
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How else can you make sure you're getting the best out of your service?
Little extras: At Big Fat Smile long day care centres, you don't pay for nappies or wipes - they're provided as part of the fee in the baby room. They also provide linen, sunscreen and all meals - breakfast, morning and afternoon tea, lunch and snacks.
Big Fat Smile is a local not for profit, community owned and highly respected provider of early education, childcare and inclusion services that has 16 centres across the Illawarra, so you're bound to find a centre near you.
Almost time to start big school?
At all Big Fat Smile Community Preschools, every day is an opportunity to prepare to develop school readiness.
They have a comprehensive program that gives children competencies in intellectual, socio-emotional, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), fine motor and verbal readiness to help them successfully make the transition to big school.
Preschool, prep school, term only, long day care - what's the difference?
Service type names often impose various perceptions about what levels of quality education and care are connected with the early learning programs available.
For families, it's important to note that there are no real differences between the types of quality educational experiences offered across these service types. Nor is there a difference in the level of high-quality, qualified teachers and educators that observe, plan and implement educational opportunities to further a child's development.
The main differences lie within the age and number of children they are licensed for, the hours of operation and if meals are supplied by the service. Therefore, families can be reassured when choosing a service, irrespective of being offered shorter or longer hours - the programs offer the same educational benefits.
For families who may not require long day care hours, or care during the school holidays, but still want their child to gain the benefits of an early learning and care service, a term only preschool can make a great cost-effective alternative.
Big Fat Smile Term Only Preschools operate in Wollongong City, Helensburgh and Bellambi Point, with fees ranging from $13 - $62 per day.
To find out more about Big Fat Smile Community Preschools visit bigfatsmile.com.au or phone 1300 002 237 to discuss how to make the most of your Child Care Subsidy hours or to become part of the Big Fat Smile family. While you are on the website you can find a centre near you and submit your enrolment enquiry.