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Let other parents and families know if the service you are using is wonderful or if there is a problem with it
Go to the online directory (click here for the directory page) look up the name of your ECE service and add your review and rating.  


Report a problem about your ECE service in confidence 

My ECE can make complaints on your behalf to the Ministry of Education concerning an early childhood service.  This protects your identity and neither the Ministry nor your ECE service will know that you have made the complaint. 

Go to - Report a Service


Fair Trading Act

It is illegal for any business (including an early childhood service) to give false and misleading information in the promotion and sale of goods and services (this includes fees charges). Report to the Commerce Commission by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call 0800 943 600. 


Consumer Guarantees Act

Does the Consumer Guarantees Act 1993 apply to an early childhood education and care service?  The answer is yes. To explain: by virtue of the Consumer Guarantees Act, there is a guarantee that educational services will be delivered by the ECE service with reasonable skill and care. 

You may be able to ask for compensation to reflect the lower value of the service you have received.  

Contact the consumer protection hotline at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)
Freephone: 0508 426 678 (0508 4 CONSUMER), Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Laying a Complaint with the Ministry of Education

Should an early childhood service not be meeting a minimum regulation then let the Ministry of Education know (see contact details below).  The Ministry of Education is responsible for licensing services and making sure that services meet regulations. 

You can view information on the minimum regulation requirements for early childhood centres in the My ECE Guide to the Regulations click here  

Should you not be informed by the Ministry of Education of the outcome of its investigation of your complaint then contact the Ministry and ask for an update. 

If you are not satisfied with how your complaint has been dealt with, then complain again.  It is your right to be listened to and to have your complaint adequately investigated.

For example if your complaint concerns a teacher slapping a child and poor teaching practices you could reasonably expect the Ministry to carry out an unannounced visit of the service and spend some time observing the interactions of all teachers with the children, talk with the teacher concerned, other teachers who may have observed the incident, and talk with the child with the parent's permission.  If a Ministry staff member only contacts the service and takes the manager's or owner's word that all is okay then it is not properly investigating the complaint. 


Ministry of Education Regional Offices

Whangarei office: PO Box 911, Whangarei 0140. Northland. Ph (09) 436 8900

Auckland office: Private Bag 92644, Symonds Street, Auckland. Ph (09) 632 9400

Hamilton office: Private Bag 3011, Hamilton. Ph (07) 858 7130

Rotorua office: PO Box 1749, Rotorua. Ph (07) 349 7399

Napier office: PO Box 147, Napier. Ph (06) 833 6730

Lower Hutt office: PO Box 30177, Lower Hutt. Ph (04) 463 8699

Wanganui office: Private Bag 3012, Whanganui. Ph (06) 349 6300

Nelson office: 19 Haven Road, Nelson 7010. Ph (03) 546 3470

Christchurch office: PO Box 2522, Christchurch 8140. Ph (03) 378 7300

Dunedin office: Private Bag 1971, Dunedin 9054. Ph (03) 471 5200

Invercargill office: Private Bag 90-122, Invercargill. Ph (03) 211 3610

After talking to your Ministry of Education regional office, you may choose to provide a written complaint which increases the chances of your complaint being dealt with. You can request to be informed of the outcome of the Ministry’s investigation.


An early childhood service must have and display a complaints policy 

A typical complaints policy will state that the complainant should first speak to the person in-charge / the boss / the supervisor / the manager.

We suggest that you write your complaint down using the complaint form and give this to the person in charge when first speaking to him/ her. This will tell the person in charge that your complaint should be taken seriously and they will have to provide a written response.  If you don't get a response that you are happy with then take your response directly to the Ministry of Education.  

Every early childhood service is legally required to display (or provide to parents in Home-based ECE) a copy of its complaints procedure and it must state the contact details for the relevant regional office of the Ministry of Education.   


What the Regulations Say About A Complaints Procedure

The Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008, Regulation 47, Criteria GMA1 requires services to inform parents of the procedure to follow if they wish to complain about non-compliance with the regulations.


Parent Survey

To be truly inclusive of all families and to serve children and their parents well an ECE service should actively invite parent and child feedback on every aspect of what it provides and does.  Ask your service to implement the NZ ECE Survey of Parent Satisfaction and Experience. The survey results can be incorporated into what the service does and this will mean fewer complaints and happier parents and children. 


Ethics and Best Practices

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