20 Hours ECE
The government funds up to 6 hours a day, 20 hours a week of ECE for children aged 3 and 4 years (and some 5 year olds not enrolled at school) attending teacher-led Early Childhood Education service offering 20 Hours ECE. This is paid directly to the service provider.
More about 20 Hours ECE • 20 Hours ECE is for all families; it is not based on family income, immigration status, whether parents work, or any other reason • 20 Hours ECE starts when a child turns 3, and as children must attend school from the age of 6, the last day that 20 hours ECE can be claimed is the day before the child’s 6th birthday. • The funding is paid directly to the service, by the Ministry of Education • 20 Hours ECE can be used for more than one service but the total number of hours cannot exceed 6 hours a day, and 20 hours a week. • Services do not have to offer 20 Hours ECE • An educator looking after a child at home can receive 20 Hours ECE if the educator is part of a licensed home-based ECE service • Centres/Services cannot charge parents additional fees for any of the 20 Hours ECE • Parents may be asked to pay optional charges for trips or consumables such as sunscreen or food. Parents have a choice whether they want to pay for this additional service/item or not. • Parents may also be asked to pay donations to the service, which is optional.
20 Hours ECE is available at teacher-led services which include kindergartens, education and care services and home-based care networks, as well as some Kōhanga Reo with qualified kaiako (teachers). Teacher-led services have one or more ECE qualified and registered teacher.
It is up to individual services to decide whether to offer 20 Hours ECE. As a condition of accepting funding for 20 Hours ECE, ECE services must agree not to require compulsory fees for hours funded as 20 Hours ECE; however, optional fees may be requested.
Parents can choose between receiving 20 Hours ECE, or the Childcare Subsidy (see the section below), or a combination of both payments. Families cannot receive 20 Hours ECE and the Childcare Subsidy for the same hours.