Long Day Care vs Sessional Kinder: What's the Difference?

When deciding to enrol your child in a kindergarten program offered at a long day care centre or a sessional kindergarten there can be a lot to consider. Here we discuss the difference between long day care and sessional kindergarten, and what we offer in our Aspire kindergarten program, so that you can make the right choice on your child’s early learning journey.

What is a Long Day Care Kindergarten Program?

Long day care is usually run at a centre and offer early learning programs that are provided by qualified educators for children as young as six weeks old to six years old.

Long day care centres operate for longer hours than sessional kindergartens and are open throughout the year, except on public holidays. Most centres’ operating hours can be from as early as 6am to as late as 7pm, which offers flexibility for working parents and guardians.

Three and four-year-old Kindergarten programs at long day care settings are delivered by kindergarten teachers with full qualifications. Most centres develop their own curriculums guided by the Early Years Leaning Framework (EYLF), which offers extracurricular activities and incursions. Meals are also provided by qualified chefs at centres, so parents don’t need to worry about packing lunch for their children.

What is Sessional Kindergarten?

In comparison, Sessional Kindergartens provide three-and four-year-old Kindergarten programs that operate on specified session times and are normally during the hours of 9am-3pm. Often, these are in three to five-hour blocks over two-to-three days per week. Sessional kindergarten is only run within school terms and not the full 52 weeks of the year.

Sessional Kindergarten is subsidised and children can access up to 15 hours of funded Kindergarten per week, so it can be more affordable for some parents. However, fees and funding will vary depending on the place. Children are also required to bring a lunchbox with food for the day, and their own learning materials, as these are not provided.

What are the benefits of enrolling in Aspire’s Kindergarten program?

At Aspire, we operate in a long day care environment, with quality education programs designed to encourage your child to explore, discover and connect with others. Below are some of the benefits of enrolling in our kinder program.

Aspire provides flexible pick up and drop off times.

At Aspire, we are open from 6.30am to 6.30pm throughout the year. This offers flexible pick up and drop off times so parents can work around their schedules and are not confined to regular work hour times. Aspire centres are also open all year-round, including school holidays, which allows parents extra peace of mind when it comes to the care of their children.

Aspire provides chef-prepared meals everyday.

One of the biggest advantages is the provision of regular, healthy meals by dedicated chef teams at each Aspire centre. Throughout the day the children are served breakfast, morning tea, afternoon tea and lunch. Dietary requirements are always adhered to, and all meals follow Nutrition Australia's Dietary Guidelines. Sessional kindergartens in comparison require families to pack their child’s lunch and snacks for the day, which can be costly and time consuming. At Aspire, you will be safe in the knowledge that your children will be eating well and regularly.

Aspire’s curriculum includes age-appropriate learning activities and incursion programs.

At Aspire, the majority of our centres offer kindergarten programs that are fully funded. These programs provide a range of incursions, excursions and activities that are designed to enhance the curriculum and provide opportunities to learn and explore beyond the regular classroom routine. Some of the incursion programs we offer at Aspire include SketchRoo, Hey Dee Ho, Yoga, ELLA Language Program and Little Sports Hereos. Our kindergarten children also go on monthly excursions to explore their community and neighborhood and different local businesses.

Aspire’s programs are delivered by qualified teachers.

Our three and four-year-old Kindergarten programs at Aspire are delivered by fully qualified kindergarten teachers with a diploma in Early Education. Our educators also need to hold a current working with children check, first-aid certificate and have asthma and anaphylaxis training. At Aspire, we ensure that our leaders are equipped with the right knowledge and training and are motivated to see the children in their rooms flourish.

Aspire offers school readiness programs.

Being ready for school goes further than literacy and numeracy skills, as important as they are. It also involves possessing fine motor skills to open a sandwich at lunch or put on a jumper, and problem-solving skills to locate belongings if misplaced. Attending care in a long day care setting like Aspire empowers children to develop these skills more deeply and offers your child more time to build and nurture positive relationships with peers and educators. This not only supports their transition to school but also enhances their academic performance well beyond their primary school years.

Below is a helpful diagram that summarises the differences. To learn more about our kindergarten program at Aspire, visit our page here or book a tour at one of our Aspire centres today.

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