The Early Learning and Care Council of Australia advocates for the rights of all children and their families to equitably access quality early learning and care, particularly for children experiencing vulnerability and disadvantage.

We seek to increase awareness of the value of quality early learning and care to reflect its foundational role within the Australian education system alongside primary and secondary school education.

As the peak body for providers operating more than 2000 services across Australia, we are an experienced and influential national voice in discussions involving the early learning and care sector. We regularly engage with sector stakeholders, state and federal governments and corporate entities to generate a greater awareness of the importance of investment in the sector.

The collective knowledge of our members give us the expertise to provide strategic and factual advice and contribute to all areas of planning and policy development for early learning and care in Australia. 

CEO Elizabeth Death

Since her appointment in 2015, Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Death has overseen the growth of our membership which now comprises more than 30 per cent of the nation’s largest private and not-for-profit early learning and care providers.

Ms Death has driven the development of innovative benchmarking and research to support our members and provide important, evidence-based information to further improve the quality of early learning and outcomes for children.

A qualified early childhood teacher, Ms Death progressed her career working across social policy, service delivery, academia and stakeholder management. This latter experience has seen Ms Death develop critical relationships across ministerial offices, government departments and universities, leading to her representation on government and non-government forums and committees. She is also co-author on a seminal Australian and New Zealand academic text, Programming and Planning in Early Childhood Settings.

Ms Death has earnt respect well beyond her immediate sector cohort to become a trusted source for balanced, evidence-based commentary on a range of issues involving early learning and care.

Our Members

Our members are the CEOs of Australia’s largest providers of early learning and care services. Our 15 members operate more than 2000 services across the country, regularly engaging and collaborating with other members across a range of areas including federal and state policy development, service delivery, and current sector and media issues within the early learning and care sector.

Gary Carroll

G8 Education Limited (ASX:GEM) is a leading provider of quality care and education facilities across Australia and Singapore through a range of well-respected and recognised brands.

Our mission is to be Australasia’s leading provider of high quality developmental and educational child care services. We aim to achieve this through:

  • A portfolio of outstanding early childhood education brands
  • A focus on the importance of early childhood education
  • By making good centres great through focusing on outstanding early childhood education management.

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Jenni Hutchins

Big Fat Smile is a not-for-profit organisation that plays an important part in the lives of thousands of children and families through a network of 26 Community Preschools, 14 Fun Clubs (out of school hours care), an art studio for kids, an art gallery, a play cafe and a portfolio of community and inclusion programs across Australia.

We stand for the delivery of high-quality early education and care for all children, no matter what their circumstance. In 2014, 2015 and 2016, 100% of our rated centres received the ‘exceeding’ rating in the National Quality Standard.

We are anchored by a purpose to be Australia’s best-run and most respected provider of programs, services and products for children, families and the community.

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Julia Davison

Goodstart is Australia’s largest early learning provider. As a not-for-profit social enterprise, we exist purely to improve the lives of Australia’s children and their families.

Goodstart strives to ensure children become successful life-long learners, develop the skills they need to transition to formal schooling and provide them with the skills to navigate an ever-changing world. Our programs are delivered in a supportive and nurturing environment and our centres welcome every child, regardless of their background or the challenges they may face.

We partner with parents to help children reach their full potential.

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Robert Hughes

At Busy Bees we’re proud to be part of a global success story. There’s something special about a Busy Bees child and it’s because we do things differently. It’s our mission to deliver high quality childcare and exciting learning opportunities for every child, giving them a head start as they prepare for school.

Our early learning services are a part of the national group Busy Bees Early Learning Australia, and our innovative approach is based on the discovery and exploration of respectful relationships with children.

We follow this philosophy and offer children uninterrupted time for play, plenty of freedom, a calm and relaxed environment, cooperative relationships, and our full attention. We’ve developed the Busy Bees learning program with the help of childcare specialists, curriculum experts and Early Years Advisors at our Centre Support Office.

Quality early learning does more than just prepare children to become eager school students – it builds resilience, vital social skills and independence.

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John Burns

Only About Children (or Oac – pronounced Oak – as we’ve called ourselves) is Australia’s leading early learning and preschool/kindergarten provider for 0-6 year olds.

This is no ordinary childcare or preschool. We are dedicated to delivering inspired, world-class early years education. We embrace a holistic 21st-century approach to high quality early learning, focused on early year’s education, health and wellbeing in state of the art, purpose-built campuses.

Qualified and passionate educators lead our dedicated teams from newborn care through to school readiness programs, so each child can receive continuity of care in an early learning environment where they feel safe, nurtured, stimulated and happy.

Our focus is on innovation, child development and passion for learning.

It’s our way of ensuring all children reach their full potential in life.

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Chris Chronis

Bestchance Child Family Care is an independent, not-for-profit organisation which has been providing education and support services to children and families since 1895.

We have over 500 Staff Members and 100 Volunteers delivering a range of educational programs accredited under the Department of Education and Training. These programs include Early Childhood Learning and Development for children under the age of five and Primary Education for children with social/emotional and learning difficulties. These programs are complemented by a range of support services for parents and families such as Early Childhood Intervention and Parent and Community Support.

We also offer nationally recognised Accredited Training through our Registered Training Organisation bestchance Training (TOID 3695).

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Andrew Hume

For more than 20 years Early Childhood Management Services has been providing high quality early childhood education and care to children and families in many diverse communities across Melbourne, Victoria. ECMS’ network of kindergartens, early learning and care centres (child care) and 3+ activity groups includes almost 80 services, touching the lives of 6500 children and families each week.

A not-for-profit organisation, ECMS is dedicated to improving outcomes for Victorian children and families by providing high quality, accessible and inclusive early learning experiences and by being an agent of change in service delivery, policy and system design.

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Tim Hickey

Affinity Education Group is a privately held provider of early childhood education, owning and operating over 160 child care centres throughout Australia, with a presence in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia and the Northern Territory, and provides care for over 15,000 children.

Affinity Education Group’s primary focus is to provide children in our care with the highest standard early education programs, through the provision of localised education programs that align with the relevant curriculum requirements in each state. We invest heavily in building and developing programs that benefit all children in our care.

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Angela Forbes

For more than 20 years TRY Australia has been providing high quality early childhood education and care to children and families in many diverse communities across Melbourne, Victoria. 

Our mission is to promote universal access to inclusive, high quality early learning opportunities.  The integration of our kindergarten and childcare services with our family services and youth mentoring programs reflects our philosophy that it takes a community to raise a child. 

A not-for-profit organisation, TRY’s network of kindergartens, early learning and child care centres includes almost 40 services, delivering early learning and childcare to almost 4,000 children and families each week.

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Rod Nadwie-Smith

At Uniting, we work with parents and the community to grow and engage children as active learners. We have a range of Early Learning Services including preschool, long day care, occasional care, outside school hours care and vacation care. Each of our 58 services reflect the needs of the community it serves, working with that community and side-by-side with the Uniting Church.

Our qualified educators provide quality learning environments for children to thrive before school, during school, and beyond.  We introduce values such as respect and compassion to start children on their way to becoming active citizens in their community.

We are committed to children’s citizenship, a practice that takes into account the unique contributions that children already make but often go unnoticed – ideas, efforts, emotions, experience and time. We recognise the untapped potential and rights of every child to change something in the world, for themselves, their family, and their community.

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Jane Bourne

C&K offers long day care, kindergarten and family day care programs throughout Queensland.  We have close to 400 services and continue to expand.  We are proud to have educated more than one million Queensland children.

You can be confident that every C&K service:

  • employs qualified educators
  • will guide your child’s learning using building waterfalls, C&K’s curriculum framework approved by the Queensland Studies Authority
  • encourages your child to learn through play.

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Mathew Edwards

Think Childcare Ltd is one of Australia’s largest and most forward-thinking communities of locally operated childcare centres, strengthened by common ownership and bonded by love and the passion to provide every child with the best possible start in life.

Think Childcare focuses on the provision of dynamic and positive learning experiences during the first 1,000 most influential days of a child’s life. Driven by the overarching purpose of creating happy families, it combines both expertise and “the power of passion” to shape customer experience through a values-based culture.

At Think Childcare, our values are based on the core belief that happy educators give you happy children, happy children give you happy families and happy families are happy to tell others, which leads to growth and profitability.

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Kay Turner

SDN Children’s Services is a not-for-profit organisation that has been providing quality early childhood education and child care, disability services, and family support services since 1905. We are proud of our long history of working with children, their families and communities.

SDN is here for the wellbeing of children. We believe that the early years matter, and last a lifetime.

We know that what we do supports who children become, and recognise that families choose to trust us with this responsibility. We support children to grow and develop in safe, unhurried, nurturing but challenging environments, and we support parents to inspire and guide their children.

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Warren Bright

Guardian was founded in 2004 to provide management and child care business services to private investors who were looking to outsource the day-to-day management of their child care centres. Since 2006 Guardian’s focus has shifted to owning and managing our own Centres, merging our experience of child care management with structural and curriculum expertise to form a holistic early learning package.

Over time Guardian has either acquired or opened new Centres, partnering with investors to provide capital that improves the quality of our existing centres and to fund the group’s continued growth.

In 2013 we changed our name to Guardian Early Learning Group, reflecting the nature of our business as one of both early education and care. Our goal is to continue improving the quality of education and care that we provide at our existing centres and to grow steadily by acquiring and/or opening Australia’s best early learning centres.

In addition to our community-based centres, we also provide on-site or near-site child care facilities for some of Australia’s largest corporations that are seeking to provide company-sponsored child care for their staff.

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Lee Maiden

[email protected] is Canberra’s largest not-for-profit community organisation, working with our community since 1978 to support positive educational outcomes, and build resilient, sustainable and socially inclusive communities. 

As the largest provider of children’s services in the Canberra region, [email protected] is a recognised leader, providing the highest quality education and care for over 4,300 children through Early Education and Care centres, Out of School Hours Care services, Family Day Care and In Home Care. 

Lee Maiden is [email protected]’s Chief Executive Officer, with over 30 years experience in Early Childhood Education and Care. Lee is a passionate advocate for children and the vital role that education plays in developing skills and qualities that remain with children for life. 

Darren Youngs

At Uniting Vic Tas, we believe that quality early learning gives children the best start in life.  Through imaginative, caring and playful learning experiences, children can grow the confidence and skills they need to develop meaningful relationships and thrive. We are proud to be one of the largest providers of early learning services across Victoria and Tasmania, providing Kindergarten, Long Day Care, Family Day Care, Occasional care and Out-of-school Hours Care, with extended hours of supervised play beyond kindergarten or day care.

 At Uniting Vic Tas we operate 58 early learning centres that provide early childhood education to over 3000 children every year. In addition, 60 Family Day Care Educators provide education and care to another 500 children. We also partner with the Department of Education and Training to deliver support services for children with additional needs or complex medical conditions.  Pre-School Field Officers and Additional Assistants support kindergarten staff to work with a further 700 children with additional needs.

 We recognise each child as a citizen and value their rights in our services and in the wider community and we strive for improvement, taking action to deliver consistently high quality education and care.

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