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Is it Childcare, Daycare or Preschool? Understanding the Lingo

April 15, 2021


On behalf of the industry, we’re sorry. We’ve certainly made a mess of helping you understand the industry lingo! There are terms that all seem to mean the same thing but surely they must be different, right?

We’re here to fix that. We’re going to explain the different terminology so you have confidence in navigating care for your child. And remember that we’re here to help. Whether it’s understanding the lingo or finding the right care for your child, we’re always here.

For now, let’s break down the lingo so you know what you’re getting yourself into.


If there is one term that is used most consistently across the industry, it's childcare.

Gowrie-0722Because that’s what we do - we care for your children.

The challenge with the term childcare is that it is very limiting. 

Childcare implies a transactional nature of the service. You drop your children off, we care for them and then you pick them up. But it is so much more than that. 


This is another popular term used in the industry and it stems from the opening hours of a centre. You may have also heard the term “long daycare”, i.e. centres that are open longer hours to accommodate working parents.

Similarly to childcare, daycare is also a limiting term. While long daycare is helpful in explaining a benefit - longer opening hours - it isn’t necessarily helpful in describing what goes on during the day.

This term is also used to describe another type of care - family daycare. In a family daycare, your child is cared for in a family type setting in the educators home.


GowrieHolidayCare-1897This is where we start to get to the heart of what we actually do in the childcare industry - education and care. But the term preschool can also add to the confusion.

But first, what is preschool? Essentially, it is a play-based learning program for children 3-5 years old to prepare them for school. Through a preschool program your child will learn literacy and social skills which will form the foundation of their learning in school.

Within the preschool category, there are different models. Your child can attend a dedicated preschool which will usually follow school hours and terms. Or they can attend a preschool program within a long daycare centre.

Early Education and Care

The term we prefer to use at Gowrie NSW is early education and care. Why? It accurately explains what we do.

Care is a big part of what we do. While your children are in our care we are responsible for their safety and wellbeing. And we take that very seriously.

But what we also take very seriously is the opportunity we have to help children grow to their full potential. To look at the world around them with wonder and excitement. To develop secure bonds to the people around them. 

We like to dream big and think that we can empower the children in our care to be positiveGowrieHolidayCare-1951 contributors in society and make a difference to the world they live in.

We do that through education. We encourage intentional learning where children investigate, communicate and ask questions. They develop their critical thinking and their imaginations to express themselves and work collaboratively with others.

We won’t hold it against you if you still use the term childcare. But know that what we offer is so much more. We look at every child as an individual and help them to develop their own unique interests, passions and personalities within a caring environment. What more could you ask for your child?

Discover the Gowrie NSW difference

We’ve been educating and caring for children for more than 80 years. And in that time we’ve never stopped innovating. We are passionate educators, parents and community members who believe that within every child there is a whole world of potential waiting to be unlocked.

Contact us to arrange a tour of one of our centres to experience the Gowrie NSW difference for yourself.


Topics: Parenting, Education

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