Decide what type of service
We suggest you:
a. Visit early childhood education (ECE) services in your area: This will help you find out what types of service already exist. Choices in Early Childhood Education is a publication that will help you understand the differences between different types of ECE services. You can read Choices in Early Childhood Education. Your first decision will be about what type of early childhood service suits you best. There are two kinds to choose from:
- teacher-led – where teachers provide the education and care
- parent-led – where parents, whānau or caregivers provide the education and care for their children.
Examples of teacher-led services include education and care centres, kindergartens and home-based education and care services.
Education and care centres are licensed by the Ministry of Education to offer either all day or part day services. Depending on the centre, they may accept children from birth to school age, or children of specific ages.
Kindergartens are run by a kindergarten association, and are licensed by the Ministry of Education. Most kindergartens offer services to children aged between two and five years.
Home-based education and care services involve an educator providing education and care for small groups of up to four young children in a home setting (theirs or the child’s) as part of a Ministry of Education funded and regulated home-based care service.
Examples of parent-led services include playcentres and playgroups.
Playcentres are licensed ECE services supervised and managed by parents, whānau and caregivers. Playgroups are less formal than other ECE services and provide parents, whānau and caregivers with the opportunity to meet together and provide play programmes for their children.
b. Carry out a community needs assessment: This will enable you to find out what kind of service would best meet your community's needs, and be affordable for families. It is important to undertake this work to ensure the service being proposed is likely to meet community needs and attract families to attend.
Talk to the staff at your local Ministry of Education office. They will have information about ECE services and the community need in your area, and information about possible sources of funding assistance - particularly if you are community based.
Resource: Community needs assessment guidelines: this resource may include some useful information.
c. Use your community needs assessment to decide options for the type of service you could establish (e.g. age range, operating hours etc).
d. Develop a draft budget for the annual operating cost of each option. You will need to look at the Ministry of Education funding rates. For details about the funding system read the Early Childhood Education Funding Handbook. The government's policy of 20 Hours ECE for 3 and 4 year olds was implemented in July 2007. Read chapter 4 of the Early Childhood Education Funding Handbook for full details.
Certificated playgroups are funded at a different rate to licensed ECE services. Refer to the Ministry of Education’s Playgroup Funding Handbook for more information.
It is strongly recommended that you seek professional financial advice early.
e. Discuss options with your community: To decide which option best meets your community needs and will be affordable for your families, discuss the options and estimated fees with your community. Note that Work and Income will give some families help with childcare fees.
Other information to help you
All ECE services including certificated playgroups are regulated by the Ministry of Education. This means that services must meet minimum standards of education and care in order to operate. The Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008 are the regulated standards that must be met by services in order for them to hold a licence and to receive government funding. Licensing criteria for early childhood education and care centres, home-based and hospital-based education and care services state the day-to-day requirements that different ECE service types must meet in order to meet the regulated standards of education and care that are outlined in regulation.
Playgroups are required to meet the Education (Playgroups) Regulations 2008 in order to be certificated and receive government funding. The certification criteria state the requirements playgroups must meet in order to meet the playgroup standards.
The quality of interactions between adults and children, and between children, is the key ingredient in making a difference to children's experiences and subsequent outcomes.
The 2008 regulatory system prescribes a national curriculum framework for early childhood education. This curriculum framework is for licensed early childhood education services and certificated playgroups. It consists of the Principles and Strands from Te Whāriki stated in both English and Māori. The curriculum document Te Whāriki: He Whāriki Matauranga o nga Mokopuna o Aotearoa, is the foundation for curriculum in early childhood education services.
The Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008, the Education (Playgroups) Regulations 2008 curriculum standards and related licensing and certification criteria are linked to the curriculum framework and state further requirements needed to support quality curriculum for children.
Hard copies of Te Whāriki: He Whāriki Matauranga o nga Mokopuna o Aotearoa can be ordered from Ministry of Education Customer Services (phone 0800 660 662 or fax 0800 660 663).
Teachers in your service need to be familiar with these documents and with assessment and planning for children’s learning.
The Ministry has also published some examples of good assessment and planning. These are called Kei Tua O Te Pae/Assessment for Learning: Early Childhood Exemplars. Hard copies of this document can also be ordered from Ministry of Education Customer Services (phone 0800 660 662 or fax 0800 660 663).
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