Early Learning customers

Please note fee changes will be effective from Monday 8 July 2024.

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Why choose YMCA Early Learning?

We understand that searching for an Early Learning Centre (ELC) is an important decision. You want your child to be safe, comfortable and supported to explore and grow. Above all, you want your child to be happy. And so do we. 

At YMCA Victoria, we want the best for you and your child. Our Early Learning Centres (ELCs) are safe, supportive spaces that offer high quality early learning education and care for children aged six weeks to five years old. We'll work with you to nurture your child's development and keep you informed every step of the way. We also offer Free Kinder.

Find out more about our early learning services below or find a ELC centre near you.


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Our Early Learning services

Long day care (child care)

Our long day care services are for children aged from six weeks to five years old. Your child will have endless opportunities to explore, learn new things, and make friends with other children.

Open from early morning until evening, our Early Learning Centres are here to support you with all-day or part-time child care.

Discover child care


We offer both integrated kindergarten and sessional kindergarten across Victoria. Our kindergarten programs are part of the Free Kinder initiative which provides up to 15 free hours a week of three and four-year-old kindergarten.

At integrated kindergarten (which is integrated as part of long day care), your child will take part in a range of fun activities. They will discover music, art, science and technology, learn to express themselves and develop important life skills.

We also offer sessional kindergarten at our Derrimut and Mernda centres between the hours of 9:00am and 2:00pm on specific days. Take a look at your preferred centre's profile page for specific times.

Discover kindergarten


Girl sitting at table looking closing at a chime bar musical instrument

Our philosophy

Develop the whole child

We nurture your child's social and emotional learning as well as their cognitive, creative and physical education skills.

Optimise learning outcomes

We deliver high quality, evidence-informed education and care to help children maximise their learning outcomes.

Empower children to learn

We support your child to identify their own learning interests and needs and support them as they develop and grow.

Create inclusive communities

We celebrate and respect all aspects of diversity and create inclusive communities for all children and families.

Our approach to early learning

Supporting families to thrive

As a not-for-profit organisation, our focus is solely on you and your child. We know you want to be involved in your child's development and we know you don't want to miss a single smile.

That's why our early learning education and care programs are inclusive, accessible and flexible. We'll work with you and your family to make sure that you and your child feel welcomed, connected and supported. We'll also provide regular updates via journals, photos and conversations.

Together, we can achieve the best outcomes for your child.

Embracing play-based learning

Children learn best when they explore, play and try new things. We encourage this at our Early Learning Centres through a play-based approach to learning.

What is play-based learning? It's a way for children to take control of how they learn, to get involved in messy play, to safely take risks, and to get outdoors. It boosts your child's wellbeing, encourages a love of nature, and puts a smile on their face!

Our Early Learning Centres also enrich your child's learning with fun excursions and special events, so there's never a dull day.

Boy playing with game at Tarneit Early Learning Centre

Frequently asked questions

  • What qualifications do your early learning educators hold?

    All of our dedicated and energetic educators:

    • have educational qualifications in children's services;
    • are Senior Level 2 First Aid trained including in CPR, asthma management and anaphylaxis;
    • regularly undergo Child Protection and Mandatory Reporting training;
    • have a current Working with Children Check.

    Our integrated kindergarten and sessional kindergarten programs are delivered by educators who have a Bachelor of Education qualification.

    Beyond their impressive qualifications, our educators truly care about your child. They will work with you to help your child settle in and reach their full potential. Our educators also research and uphold best practice and use a variety of techniques to support every child's learning.

    Our sites maintain educator to child ratios at all times. This includes full supervision during play, transitions, toileting, meal times and sleep and rest. We go above and beyond to make sure your child is safe.

  • What food do your Early Learning Centres provide?

    We believe that a healthy child is a happy child. Our Early Learning Centres provide nutritious meals and snacks prepared daily by our in-centre cook. Meals are fresh and seasonal with many herbs coming from our very own gardens.

    Our menus can cater for almost all dietary requirements including allergies and cultural and religious preferences, so please let us know if your child has any dietary needs.

    As well as dishing up healthy meals, where possible we provide opportunities for children to cook, grow herb gardens and collect eggs from our chickens. This encourages children to develop a positive relationship with food from an early age.

  • Do you follow a curriculum?
    To help your child develop key skills, we deliver curriculum-based learning that follows the Early Years Learning Framework. The Early Years Learning Framework was developed by the Australian government to ensure children have the best start in life.

    Our programs are also developed in line with the National Quality Framework, which sets a high standard for early learning education and care services in Australia.
  • What safeguarding children and quality standards do you have in place?
    At the Y, nothing is more important than the safety and wellbeing of children and young people. We embed child-safe practices into everything we do and we are accredited by the Australian Childhood Foundation as a child-safe organisation.

    We also aim to exceed the National Quality Framework (NQF) in our everyday practice. The NQF governs all early childhood and school aged education and care services in Australia and ensures all services operate to a high-quality standard.

    Find out more about our safeguarding children and quality standards and the policies we have in place to ensure the safety of your child. You can find information specific to our early learning services in our family handbook.
  • Where can I find out more about Early Learning at the Y?

    Our Family Handbook has everything you need to know about our Early Learning services, including more information about:

    • our philosophy;
    • our educators;
    • our early learning programs;
    • enrolments and bookings;
    • orientation.

    Family handbook


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