Private early childhood centres are as the name suggests – privately owned. Owners can be individual people such as business entrepreneurs, accountants, lawyers, as well as teachers with resources to open their own centre. Ownership may be placed under a family trust, a publicly listed company, or a private limited liability company.
An emerging trend is for fund management companies to get involved in the purchase of early childhood centre land and buildings (and even businesses). Having funds readily provided by fund management companies has supported operators to greatly expand the number of centres they operate. Parents can expect fees to be higher and teachers to have minimum salaries and working conditions since operators must make enough money out of each centre to pay interest and fees annually to the fund management company for its investors benefit, on top of the money they withdraw from each centre to give themself a financial return.
Private and commercial early childhood centres may be open longer hours in the day and may not close for statutory holidays and school term breaks. The reason is to support full-time working parents and a second reason may be to maximise revenue from government funding and parent fees by being open even when parents do not need to use the service.
All private early childhood centres must comply with the early childhood regulations and licensing criteria.
Some centres offer extra services such as hot meals on site.
In general, private early childhood centres are not set-up to support parents to stay with their child and observe when they wish and do not support parents to have input into centre management and financial decisions.