Use the checklist when you phone, email, txt, and visit an early childhood service.   pdfClick here for a printable version

There are many different options so investigate different services and compare – you may be surprised with what you discover!  

Write the names of services you are going to check out at the top of the checklist. To find ECE services in your area go to the directory

For each checklist item, depending on what you find and learn about the service, put in a tick √, cross × , or question mark ? under its name.

When you have filled in the checklist, talk over your findings with family members and friends. The service you decide to use should be one that you have found to be the best and that most suits you and your child. Print further copies of the checklist to look into more services if needed. 


Service 1:

Service 2: 

Service 3: 

Service 4:

Comments on what I find


Am I feeling comfortable /at ease in the service?


Is my child showing a liking for the service?


Are the hours suitable?


Can I change hours if I need to?


Does the cost meet my budget?


Have I got information on all extra costs? (e.g. absence fee, late pick-up charge, materials fee, etc.)


Is it in a convenient location?


Is it in a safe location? (e.g. ground-floor building, no danger to children from the road, not beside an explosives factory, an embassy or high tsunami risk area, etc.)


Is it able to support and help my child's development, special abilities and special needs?


Are mums supported to breastfeed when wanted?


Is close supervision of children provided at all times? (i.e. the adults always know where the children are and what they are doing)


Is it able to support my child's health needs?


Do I see evidence that parents and family members can choose to stay with their child?


Does the service work under the Code of Ethical Conduct for Early Childhood Services? (click here for a copy)


Is the Code on the Rights of Children in ECE followed by the service? (click here for a copy)



Not too many babies or children (it does not feel crowded and teachers/ carers have time/ space to give children individual attention)


Laughter, fun, and every child and family member feels accepted and respected


Teachers / carers really want to be there and love their work


Heaps of play space inside and outside


Variety of play areas and materials, including children’s and adult activities such as cooking and gardening, within the outdoor and indoor spaces


Safe noise levels for children’s ears maintained


High attention to correct hand-washing and hygiene practices


Children’s interests, personality and family values known and appreciated


Always something on offer so more choices and less down-time (passive watching, aimless wandering, sitting in front of screens, sitting in vehicles)


Lots of talking, discussion, and building of shared memories


Children’s interests, personality and family values known and appreciated


Cuddles and affection shown to children  


Adults well trained in young children’s care, development and learning (ECE degree or diploma qualified), unless children’s parents work in the service


The adults hold expectations for children’s learning and development


The adults seek help, information and resources to enhance the effectiveness of their teaching, methods of care and response to the individual needs of children and their family



1bMyECE logo-strap-bestNotes

I still need to ask one or more of the services questions about: ...

The service/s I definitely want to avoid using if I can are: ...


In order of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd preference the services I will ask if they have a place for my child are:
1. __________________________
2. __________________________
3. __________________________


Would you like to know more about what quality early childhood education looks like and issues to consider?  

Download a free copy of the "NZ Parent Guide to Childcare and Education Services (birth to 6 years)"