Parent users of high-quality long day care: Informed consumers of child care?

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Inherent in the Australian Government's marketised provision of early childhood education is the assumption that parents are informed consumers of child care who can discern centre quality. Drawing on Sumsion and Goodfellow's (2009) typology of parents as consumers, we explore this assumption through questionnaire findings from a sample of 139 parents whose children were enrolled in high-quality long day care. Findings indicate that parents had considerable knowledge of process aspects of quality, but less understanding of staff attributes, structural elements (particularly ratios and qualifications) and intangible contributors to quality, such as leadership. Parents' responses varied according to demographic profile and centre practices. Findings suggest scope for educators to enhance parents' capacity to drive demand-led quality improvements, and a need for future research to explore parents' values-based as well as knowledge-based understandings of quality in child care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-103
Number of pages9
JournalAustralian Journal of Early Childhood
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011


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