In Sydney you can find a wide range of mothers’ groups, day care, childcare and after schools programs.
Mothers Groups are usually organised by mothers looking to meet up with other mothers in their area. You can search or post a mothers group on various parenting sites. Below is a sample.
- Mums Meetup http://moms.meetup.com/cities/au/sydney
- The Bub Hub http://www.bubhub.com.au
- Belly Belly http://www.bellybelly.com.au
Or simply ask at the local playground if there are any local mothers groups. Usually at these groups they arrange weekly meetups at playgrounds, coffee shops and other activity places. It is a great way to meet other children and families.
There are around 2000 childcare centres in Sydney which are run privately by community groups, local councils or the government. These centres provide long day care, normally 9am to 6pm, or occasional care which is normally per session, and some even provide care by the hour.
Another option for 3-5 year olds is pre-primary, which is a class located at the local public school before children start kindergarten. The idea is that the child would then continue on at the public school.
The main issue in Sydney with child care is getting a place. There are waiting lists at the more popular and central child care centres. These waits can be up to 3 months. It is recommended to call or email directly, though, as the online waiting lists are often over exaggerated, and sometimes a vacancy becomes available more quickly than expected.
A very useful resource is http://www.careforkids.com.au. This site lists all child care centres, provides information on their fees and the waiting list for each centre.
Asking colleagues and neighbours for recommendations is useful, too. Expect to pay anything from $80- $120 for long day care, about $40 to $80 for occasional care session and approx $15 an hour for drop in.
- If you are new to Sydney and staying in temporary accommodation in the CBD, there is a childcare centre located at World Square Apartments, http://www.sydneychildcare.com/
- Chatswood International Kindergarten, 30 – 32 Albert Avenue, Chatswood NSW 2067, Ph: (02) 9419 3499, Waiting list – up to 3 months
- Butterflies Childcare is centrally located to several suburbs on the North Shore: http://www.butterflies-elc.com.au/
- Konomi Kindergarten International is a child care centre located in Willoughby, only 15 minutes from Sydney CBD. http://www.konomi.com.au PHONE: (02) 9967 2207
Eastern Suburbs childcares centre that are recommended include:
- St Stephen’s Children’s Centre ,1 Bellevue Park Road; Bellevue Hill NSW 2023 , Ph: (02) 9389 3235
- Ballykin At Rose Bay 24 Dover Road, Rose Bay NSW 2029 Ph: (02) 9371 6275
Australian citizens and permanent visa holders are eligible for the Child Care Tax Rebate which is a rebate of up to 50% of your childcare expenses.
Nannies are not as commonly used as childcare centres. However, they are available and there are many agencies offering this service, either for live-ins or live-out. Most people, however, hire nannies as live-outs. Expect to pay around $22 to $25 an hour for a nanny plus a call out fee of about $25. Search website directories and ask friends and colleagues for recommendations to find a nanny to suit your needs. Below is a sample of some of the larger agencies.
- Nannies and Helpers http://www.nanniesandhelpers.com.au
- The Wright Nanny http://www.thewrightnanny.com.au
- Child Care in Sydney Information http://cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/Community/ChildCare/Default.asp
- Childcare NSW http://www.childcarensw.com.au
- Child Care Access Hotline 1 800 670 305 (calls accepted within Australia only)