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Parents wanting to study or work during the day arrange some sort of child care in New Zealand.



Kindergartens provide care for children on a morning and afternoon programme. Children are required to be enrolled from about the age of 2.5years as due to the ratio requirements within a centre as each centre can not exceed 30 or 45 children per session.

It is a government funded education provider but also are open to any donations too. There are also some privately owned Kindergartens which would incur fees as per a Pre-School centre. Morning sessions are catered for older Children from around 4years prior to starting school where the afternoon sessions are for the younger children aged from 3years. Morning sessions begin from 8.30am until 12pm with morning tea provided. Afternoon sessions began around 12.30 or 1pm till 3 or 3.30pm with afternoon tea provided.

Teacher to Children ratio in a Kindergarten centre is around 1 teacher to 15 children.


Pre-Schools provide an all day and half care for children age 0 to 5years. Most if not all Pre-Schools are privately owned so there are fees for your child to attend the centre. Fees can range from $27.00 for half day sessions (morning or afternoon) to $55+ a day for a full day session. Children also have to be enrolled into this educational centre. Some centres have waiting lists of up to 6mth to 1year so it is best to enrol them early.

Casual attendance is allowed also in Pre-Schools as long as the centre does not exceed their Teacher/Child ratio for their daily sessions.

Pre-Schools are open from as early as 7.30am till 6pm which is ideal for working parents who require this service of care. Some Pre-Schools provide cooked meals for lunches otherwise a pack lunch is required.

Pre-Schools provide two settings within the centre, under two year's area and an over two year's area. Teacher to Children ratio in the under two year's area (recommended by the Early Childhood regulation) is 1 to 5 and for the over two years is 1 to 6.

Play Centres

Play Centres provide care for 0 to 5years, this service is mainly community based, built on a Council property with parent involvements. This offers the same environment for learning as a Pre-School or Kindergarten. Sessions will vary from each location but there is normally a morning and afternoon session mainly government funded with any donation per session most welcomed.

Home Based

Home Based care provides a care service within a trained and approved educator's home. These are run through a variety of agencies and services. This type of care is for all age groups and will vary from home to home of the educator. The ratio is kept small and the home environment must be set up a meets the education requirements to provide this type of service. This is ideal if you would like you child in a smaller and homely educational setting.

Kohanga Reo

Kohanga Reo Centres provides care for children age 0 to 6years and their families in a fully emerged Te Reo (Maori) speaking educational environment. The centre provides all day sessions. The teacher to child ratio for under two years is 1 to 5 and for over two years is 1 to 6. Kohanga Reo centres are vary similar to Pre-School but offers the additional emergence of the Te Reo language.

Other Options Within The Above Options

The four Early Childhood Services mentioned above are the key providers of education but within this there are other types also offered such as Montessouri, Reggio Emilio, Rudolph Steiner just to name a few. These education providers offer the same environments but have a slightly more structured programme and philosophy to education.

Government Subsidy

All Early Childhood services provide a government subsidy for low income homes and now offer a 20 hour free care per week to families.

John Key on the '20 hours free' ECE hoax'

Staff Qualifications

Staff must have at least a Diploma of Teaching in Early Childhood working in a centre or are working towards this if they have less of a qualification to this.


There are many Childcare centres around New Zealand that take care of your children on a part time or full time basis. Some centres only take children who attend regularly or are enrolled. There are many others who take children on a casual basis and some centres that do both.

All centres must have trained staff to look after your children and must meet government standards with regards to safety facilities and staffing levels.

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