Early childhood education

Types of early childhood education providers 

Around the age of three, your child will be ready for some form of Early Childhood Education (although some children start earlier than this). This may be at a kindergarten, preschool, Playcentre or daycare provider: there are many different options to choose from. To help you decide which is the right environment for your child, we have put together a guide to some of the options for Early Childhood Education (ECE) in New Zealand. We have also put together some tips on choosing an ECE provider here.



Public Kindergarten

COST: Public kindergartens receive some government funding but rely on financial contributions from parents to meet their budgets. These range from approximately $2 - $5 per session.

AGE: 3-5

ATTENDANCE: Sessional (morning or afternoon), sometimes becoming full days as your child nears school age.

Public Kindergartens provide a government funded education for children aged between 3-5. Most do not charge a fee, although some do charge a minimum 'donation' to assist with the costs of running the kindergarten. Additional funding comes from fundraising activities. Each kindergarten has a teacher/teachers according to current Ministry of Education ratios, and in some kindergartens parents become involved in sessions as parent-helpers on a roster basis. Some kindergartens have waiting lists so it may pay to enroll your child around his/her second birthday.



Private Kindergarten

COST: Varies, can be anything between $5-20 per session

AGE: 3-5

ATTENDANCE: Sessional (morning or afternoon), sometimes becoming full days as your child nears school age.

Private Kindergartens are much like public kindergartens, except that they do not receive the same level of government funding, and as such, charge fees for attendance. You may qualify for a WINZ subsidy if your child attends a private kindergarten. Some private kindergartens follow a particular philosophy such as Montessori, or Steiner. Others run full day sessions for children from age 3, so may replace the need for daycare. Private kindergartens have a teacher/teachers based on Ministry of Education ratios, and some undertake fundraising with parent help. Many private kindergartens have long waiting lists so it may pay to enroll your child early.



Daycare Centres

COST: Varies hugely, but averages around $5-10 per hour

AGE: Some daycare centres take children from birth.

ATTENDANCE: Hours available as required, usually between around 7.30am-6pm

Daycare centres can be a good option for Early Childhood Education if you work as your child can be enrolled for full days, and they usually take children from shortly after birth. Daycare centres are required to follow the Ministry of Education curriculum in the same way that kindergartens do, and they also maintain the Ministry of Education teacher: child ratios. Most daycare centres have long waiting lists, so it pays to enroll your child early, in some centres you can enroll your child even before he/she is born!



Community Creche
COST: Varies from centre to centre, around $15 per session.
AGE: Generally take younger children than public kindergartens, from around 2 years old.
ATTENDANCE: Hours are flexible and they generally offer morning or afternoon sessions.
Run as a not-for-profit as opposed to a business like more commercial daycares, c
ommunity creches or preschools are administrated by a Board of Trustees. Any money earned is channeled back into the centre and resources. There are over 120 of these style preschool centres in New Zealand. Google "Community Creche" to see if there is one in your area.



COST: Fees vary between communities and could be anything from 0 - $50 per family for a 10 week term

AGE: From birth.

ATTENDANCE: Varies between Associations, but generally a minimum of two morning/afternoon sessions per week.

Playcentre is a parent-run co-operative based on the principle that parents are the best providers of early childhood education. Some centres have a qualified Educator at each session, but for the most part sessions are run by parents. Playcentres operate under the umbrella of a local Playcentre Association, and there is an expectation that parents will undertake ongoing training to enable them to better educate their children. This training is provided by the Playcentre Association and is linked to the NZQA framework.

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