Early education

Find out about early childhood education, child care and primary school options. This can help you choose the right service for your family.

Early education and care

Early childhood education and care is any service that cares for children before primary school. This includes day care, child care and preschool.

Choosing an early childhood education and care service is an important decision. It can help your child with:

  • language development and vocabulary
  • fine motor and sensory skills
  • social skills and making friends
  • a lifelong passion for learning
  • preparation for primary school.

In Australia, every child can get a year of free or subsidised preschool or kindergarten. This must be the year before they start school. Read about finding and paying for preschool on the Pregnancy, birth and baby website.

If you care for your child at home

We have information and resources to help you keep your child safe. Learn more about caring for your child at home.

Payments you may get

There’s financial support available. Family Tax Benefit (FTB) is a 2-part payment that can help with the cost of raising a child.

If you're caring for a child whose parents can't care for them or have died, you may be able to get Double Orphan Pension.

We also have payments for:

You may get Energy Supplement with your regular payment.

If you’re caring for a newborn or recently adopted child

You may be able to claim Parental Leave Pay or Dad and Partner Pay.

If you’re looking for work

You may be able to claim Parenting Payment.

If you’re using child care

Child Care Subsidy (CCS) can help with the cost of care. Once you’ve chosen a child care service, it’s important to enrol before your child starts care.

You may also be able to get Additional Child Care Subsidy if you’re:

  • caring for your grandchild
  • transitioning to work
  • in temporary financial hardship.

Find a child care service or preschool

Use the Department of Education Skills and Employment Child Care Finder to find a child care service or preschool near you.

Once you’ve found a child care service or preschool, it’s important to enrol before your child starts there.

Before you enrol your child

You should claim Child Care Subsidy before your child starts care. They must meet immunisation requirements and residence rules for Child Care Subsidy.

We cover the cost of all vaccines in the National Immunisation Program. To find out which ones your child needs, read about immunisation for children on the Department of Health website.

Read more about who can get Child Care Subsidy.

Tasks you can do online

You can use our online services to quickly and easily:

  • claim and manage Child Care Subsidy, Family Tax Benefit and other payments
  • confirm a child care enrolment so you don’t miss out on Child Care Subsidy.

Use your Centrelink online account through myGov or the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app.

Use your Medicare online account through myGov or the Express Plus Medicare mobile app to get an immunisation history statement.

If you don’t have a myGov, Centrelink or Medicare online account, register for an online account.

Page last updated: 5 January 2022