The childcare industry is performing well across the country. The growth in the childcare sector has been driven by an increasing number of services and more flexible options for parents. The proportion and number of children attending childcare services has also increased.
Services exceeding the NQS are able to charge 7% higher fees than other centres.
Changes to government policy have also fuelled growth in the childcare services industry. Like the Child Care Subsidy introduced in mid-2018 and a rise in female superannuation contributions have impacted the growth in the industry.
What is driving the occupancy rates in the childcare sector?
The occupancy drivers were diverse. This was indicative that there was a range of factors at play that included value-add services, intimate care, better nutrition, longer hours, mixing ages, and greater flexibility.
Let’s take a look at them in detail.
Value added services
Sports, art, music and recreational activities play an important role in the development of a child. Childcare services that offer these high-value service offerings ensure that the kid is having fun while learning a valuable skill. 56% respondents thought that value-added services led to high occupancy rates.
Childcare services have to meet the personal care needs of every child. To ensure that children feel safe, they need to be cuddled and offered physical reassurance. 41% responders felt that providing more intimate care arrangements for children led to better occupancy rates.
Childcare services are responsible to provide nutritional food to the children in their care. About 38% responders agreed that a childcare service that provided healthier options and more variety of food had better occupancy rates. Children spend a lot of time, especially, in long day care services. So menus should aim to meet a significant amount of a child’s daily nutrition requirements and include a variety of food appropriate to the developmental stages of different age groups.
With the number of people working non-standard hours on the rise, longer day care hours are great news for working parents. The responders agreed as well – around 30% said that providing extended hours of care was a major occupancy driver to choose a childcare centre.
Mixed-age grouping gives children the opportunities to be of part of a diverse group. 26% of responders thought that broadening the age group was effective and had a great potential to support children’s social and emotional learning.
Flexible daycare services which provide high-quality child care on an occasional or ad hoc basis from as little as one hour to a full day is a necessary relief for working parents. Around 25% responders felt that having varying session time lengths helped them choose a childcare centre.
With a record number of childcare centre openings around Australia, the providers are facing incredible levels of competition. With people having more options than ever, childcare centres should put more emphasis on standing out, whether it be the facilities, staff, and service.
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