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What is True Start?

True Start is the parent satisfaction measurement tool for early childhood education and care providers developed by True North Research.

The tool evaluates parents' overall satisfaction with your centre and what is driving their satisfaction. It assesses performance across five key areas:
- Program
- Educators
- Communications
- Centre Management (including facilities)
- Fees
It also uncovers a centre's advocacy score (aka NPS).

Crucially True Start gives parents the opportunity to share their opinions on a variety of issues in total confidence. This encourages open, honest and constructive feedback.

True Start provides a benchmark for early childhood education and care providers so you can evaluate your overall performance against the performance of similar providers. A strong True Start rating can be used in marketing material to promote your offering, acting as both an acquisition and retention tool.

Curious Girl

“It is an invaluable piece of information all centres should strive to have in their service.”

Gardiner Early Education Centre

Creating parent advocates through True Start

Engaging meaningfully with parents will help your centre stand out in an increasingly crowded marketplace

The early childhood education and care industry is expected to grow over the next five years, bringing new market entrants.

This means more choice for parents and more competition for you (particularly in the 3–5yr age group).

Attracting and retaining families will become more challenging.

‘Good reputation’ plays a key role in driving parent choice and your customers (parents) are the guardians of your reputation.

LISTENING to your current parents will help you to understand perceptions of your centre and lead to better engagement, improved parent experience and ultimately ensure that your customers (parents) become the best advocates for your centre.

“It has always been important to ensure we provided parents with the opportunity to give feedback at differing times throughout the year.”  

Bronte Early Education Centre

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True Start lightens the load.  We help you fulfil your NQS Quality Area 6 requirements by engaging parents, helping develop relationships with parents and giving them a voice.

How True Start can benefit you

Benefits for your centre

By collecting information via True Start your centre can:
- Identify the key drivers of parent satisfaction and understand how to enhance this
- Provide evidence in key quality areas of the NQS Assessment, particularly around Quality Area 6: collaborative partnerships with families and communities
- Boost staff morale and team building when they see their efforts are recognized by parents

- Uncover and address any latent issues that may exist
- Understand how best to direct resources, produce an action plan and prioritise areas for improvement
- Identify the most suitable communication channels for parents and then provide relevant and more targeted communications
- Uncover the good practices that parents love


Assessing childcare centre performance

True Start improves the parent experience

By using True Start parents feel their views are valued and their thoughts are being considered. If your centre then acts appropriately on this feedback and informs parents of your actions you will develop deeper, more productive relationships with parents.

True Start enables your centre to progress more quickly and fast tracks improvements

True Start uses multivariate analysis and concise reporting tools to help you prioritise improvements, highlight focus areas which will have the biggest impact on satisfaction and identify quick wins.

True Start provides clarity around your future direction and how to most appropriately direct resources.

True Start Outline


All parents are invited to complete the confidential 10 minute online True Start survey.

The True Start questionnaire ensures consistency and therefore comparability across centres. However, minor modifications are possible to tailor to your specific needs


The standard report provides:
- A PowerPoint pack with detailed analysis and interpretation of the findings.
- Actionable and relevant recommendations for the centre’s future direction.
- A presentation of the findings to centre management
- An excel file with de-identified verbatim comments

Why use True Start over doing it yourself?

True Start provides the following benefits:

- Questions are designed by highly experienced market researchers who are experts in questionnaire design.  

- The questionnaire is relevant, tried, tested and fit for purpose.

- You can benchmark performance against other child care centres.

- Participation rates improve as parents feel confident that the survey is being conducted independently and their answers will be kept confidential. 

- The true drivers of satisfaction are uncovered via conducting multivariate analysis. Rather than relying on what parents ‘state’ is important researchers analyse all the data parents provide to uncover what really is important. Parents can tell you one thing but what really matters to them is something else!

Ask an Expert
Why use True North Research?

For the past five years we have been working with early childhood education and care centres to help them understand the needs of parents and their levels of satisfaction with these centres.

We develop close relationships with our clients to ensure that the recommendations we provide are developed with an understanding of your centre’s situation and therefore valuable, appropriate and fit for purpose.

We understand that listening is critical to how we learn. We are here to listen to you and your parents and use our expertise and experience to help guide your early childhood education and care centre to strive to be the very best it can be.

The Future
What our clients say about us

For the past three years True North Research has conducted the survey for our centre with interesting and amazing results. We are able to really ‘see’ what parent thoughts are and areas of improvement we need to highlight and work on. It has been helpful in our Assessment and Rating process and helped the centre prioritise areas of change and the creation of goals over a twelve month period.

The parent comments about the centre and its teachers are invaluable and the educators feel that our worth and our skills are being highlighted as we meet various needs and we ‘raise the bar’ in our service delivery and our promise of quality in early education is being met.

Thank you so much to True North for putting this together and being so professional in their delivery and taking the time to come into the centre and discuss questions to be placed in the survey as well as the findings. It is an invaluable piece of information all centres should strive to have in their service.

Gardiner Early Education Centre

As a centre director it has always been important to ensure we provided parents with the opportunity to give feedback at different times throughout the year.

When Georgie from True North Research approached me about conducting the survey I was at first reluctant (not good at letting go!). However, after using her service for the past few years, now find it invaluable. As a parent, Georgie understands the criteria and questions needed to provide valuable information for the centre to use constructively in all areas.

What began for us at Bronte, is now used regularly by Waverley Council for all Children’s Services. The research method used by True North is extremely quick and efficient, with an end result of collated data, analysed, explained, and discussed.

I have no hesitation in recommending True North Research to aid you in gaining relevant, constructive feedback for your service, it is absolutely worth it.

Bronte Early Education Centre

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