How many days in care is best for my child?

It can be challenging to gather and process all the information you need to make an informed decision about your child’s care and education. There are a lot of different options when it comes to early learning, and at YMCA Victoria we are here to help you make an informed decision by providing you with as much information on your options as we can.

As early learning professionals, we understand that early learning is essential in helping children thrive, but we often get asked the question, ‘How many days a week should my child attend to ensure they are receiving the benefits of early learning?’.

Knowing how many care days are right for your child is often based on individual circumstances, but to support your family to make the best informed decision we’ve gathered some information based on current research to help.

Hours per week
A long-term study conducted in the US found that a minimum of 15 hours per week is necessary for children to experience cognitive outcomes from early learning. The study also found that these outcomes were optimised when children started care before the age of four. The study highlighted that more countries are offering closer to 20 and 30 hours per week.

Length of years
Research has found that participating in an early childhood education program for two years, rather than one year, has significant positive influence on the outcomes of children. It also found that children who attend early childhood education for two years or more perform better at school.

Full-time or part-time care?
Studies have also found that an extended period of preschool experience on a part-time basis is more likely to be advantageous to the child than a shorter time period of full-time care.

Benefits out way cost in early learning education
Based on these findings it is clear that children enrolled in care for at least two to three days per week experience greater long term benefits, including an easier transition to school and increased social growth. The benefits of participating in high quality early childhood education are far-reaching and long-term, and it’s important that children are able to experience all of the available benefits.

Got more questions?

You can learn more about the Y's early education services and child care centres.