Quality in Early Childhood Education

Thinking of enrolling your child into an early childhood setting? Here is some information to help you in this journey.

As we all know choosing an early childhood centre for your child or children to go to can be hard, especially if this is the first time you are going through this process. I am sure when thinking about this there are many questions going through your mind. Some of the common question’s parents have are what is it we should look for in a centre? What questions should we ask? What does quality look like in a centre? What early childhood setting would work best for my child or children? What about the 20 Free hours?  How does it work? This article should help with answering some of these questions.

When looking for an early childhood setting it is important to look for something that will work best for your child/ren and the needs that you have. It is important that you take time and consider all of your options and go around to the different services to have a look. My BEST advice is to get a feel for the centre. How does this setting make me feel? How do the educators make me feel? How does the environment make me feel? When you feel good somewhere, this is likely going to be the place for you.

Some key things to think about when looking for a centre:

  • What is the centre’s philosophy? Do you share the same values the centre does?
  • Opening hours – Does the centre operate within the hours you require?
  • The centres environment – is it clean? Set up nicely? Well resourced?
  • The teachers – are they warm and welcoming and showing an interest in you and your child/ren?
  • What are the ratios? How many children to one teacher?
  • How do they plan for your child/ren and groups of children?
  • What are some of their policies – positive guidance, sickness policy etc
  • What ways do they share information with you?
  • Any additional things the centre offers? Meals, nappies, wipes, extra curricula like gyminis, rugby tots, swimming etc
  • Fees and the 20 ECE hours funded by the government – What is the centres fees?
  • Location to where you live – suitability of getting to and from the centre
  • ERO – Look into the centres Education Review Office report – This will give you an overview of the centre at the time it was reviewed.

The 20 Free ECE hours

Each child 3, 4, or 5 years of age is entitled to 20 Free ECE hours. These are funded by the government and must be free hours. You can use the 20 hours how you like however can only use a maximum of 6 funded hours per day. Your child/ren is no longer able to use the 20 free hours from the day they start school or until the day before their 6th birthday.

The Different types of Early Childhood Settings

  • Teacher-led services
  • Kindergartens
  • Homebased services
  • Education and care centres
  • Parent-led services
  • Playcentres
  • Te Kōhanga Reo
  • Playgroups
  • Ngā Puna Kōhungahunga
  • Pacific Islands Early Childhood groups

Think about what type of setting you would like your child to go to as there are many different types you can consider.

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