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pdfThe Kiwi Parent Guide to Early Childhood Education
You are welcome to print a copy for your own personal use.
Organisations and anyone wishing to print or distribute multiple copies must contact us for permission first.
Copyright of this publication (including all content) belongs to My ECE. 

parent guide to early childhood education


About the Kiwi Parent Guide to Early Childhood Education

Every parent has worries about leaving their baby or young child in the care of strangers. It is instinct to want your child to be well-cared for, and to be with people they feel secure with and can trust. Also, you will want your child to be in a good environment for learning – a good environment is a necessity, and not a luxury.

The reason why this is so, is the enormous development that takes place in the early years of a child’s life. By the time children start school, they have already acquired language and other skills and formed attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours.

This Guide is for anyone considering using an early childhood service, or looking to move their child to a different or better early childhood service. 

After reading this Guide you will know about the different options for early childhood education (ECE) and aspects to consider. You will also learn what you can expect from an early childhood service, how to tell if something is going wrong, and what to do if it is.    

Seven Steps to Making the Best Choice

1. Begin by reading this booklet.

2. Then make a list of what the non-negotiables are for you when it comes to choosing any early childhood service (e.g., Location? What’s your maximum budget?  Do you want your child to be with lots of other children or in a smaller group?)

3. Go to the National Register of ECE Services and review details of services before making a list of the ones you would like to check out. 

4. Take a copy of the My ECE Checklist (it’s on page 10) when you visit services.

5. Compare your findings for each service on the Checklist and choose a service you are happy with and that meets most, or all, of the Checklist items. If none are suitable then go back to the National Register of ECE services and broaden your search.  Also, think about whether using an ECE service would work better in conjunction with a personal option (see page 5 for personal options – for example employing a full-time nanny and participating in Playcentre a couple of mornings a week; or enrolling at a preschool for mornings and your child picked-up by a home-based educator at lunch-time for care until you finish work in the evening).

6.  Re-read Section 2 of this booklet before your child’s first day at a service.

7.  Two to three weeks after starting your child, evaluate how well it is working out and whether to reconsider your choice or not. Refer to Section 3 for guidance on looking out for your child’s interests and speaking-up if there are problems at the service.