Early childhood education in New Zealand includes several subjects, such as the role of play in child learning and effective written and oral communication. In addition, students learn how to teach children in a safe, inclusive and quality learning environment. They also learn about the importance of observation, assessment, and planning in teaching young children.


Costs of early childhood education in New Zealand

Costs of early childhood education in New Zealand have soared over the past decade. Many parents are paying the equivalent of private school fees. The NZ Government has responded to the problem by introducing new measures to increase funding for early learning services. The Government has also increased the subsidy rate for fully qualified early childhood teachers. This will help low-income families with the cost of childcare.

The government’s new 20-hour free scheme has already had a dramatic effect on the cost of early childhood education. It resulted in a drop of 5.2% in the quarterly Consumer Price Index. However, the policy is only in its second year, and the government is monitoring the participation rates. In February 2008, 76% of childcare centres were participating in the scheme. In contrast, only half of the privately-owned centres were participating, which led to a debate over whether or not to charge a fee for children in such centres.

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Policy initiatives

During the last decade, government funding for early childhood education (ECE) has doubled in New Zealand, and there have been major policy changes. New Zealand’s Labour government introduced the “20 Hours free” policy in 2007 which provides 20 hours of free ECE a week for children aged three and under. The policy allows parents to choose the type of ECE their children attend, and has been a major success. Within a year, 76 per cent of services had fully implemented the policy, and 86 percent of the country’s three and four-year-olds were enrolled in service.

Policy initiatives are based on evidence, and data from research should help inform the development of these policy initiatives. The Growing Up project is a multi-disciplinary study that includes six domains: health, education, psychosocial development, cognitive development, and family, culture, and identity. Its research team involves more than 20 government policy representatives and members of the education sector, and each wave focuses on a specific area of data collection.


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The Curriculum for early childhood education in New Zealand, or Te Whariki, is a comprehensive framework that has been developed and revised by the Ministry of Education. It is intended to promote healthy, confident children who can think for themselves. It is not a checklist of developmental milestones, but an aspirational document that focuses on the development of learning dispositions, knowledge, and skills.

The New Zealand curriculum aims to provide opportunities for children to learn about their environment and the world around them. It emphasizes the importance of social and cultural learning, as well as relationships. For example, children are encouraged to plant trees in their environments to build a stronger connection to the earth and future generations. The emphasis on holistic development, family, and community development is also central to the New Zealand curriculum.



Since 2000, government spending on early childhood education (ECE) has nearly doubled. Labour-led governments have introduced policy initiatives to increase participation, such as the ’20 Hours free’ policy in 2007. It was introduced as an individual choice, but within a year 76 percent of services had used the policy. In New Zealand, the policy covers children aged three to five years old who attend licensed ECE services.

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The research found that the quality of child care varies by ethnicity, socio-economic status, and child’s age. Children of Maori and Pacific mothers were less likely to be cared for by relatives, while those of European mothers were more likely to use a centre. Furthermore, children from low-income households experienced more changes in childcare arrangements.


Scholarships for early childhood educators

If you want to be a part of a dynamic education sector in New Zealand, consider applying for a scholarship for early childhood education. These grants are available to support the completion of various courses in early childhood education. The qualifications required for these grants vary from one provider to another, but they all have certain requirements to qualify.

For example, you must have a tertiary degree in a relevant subject. Some subjects, such as health education and home economics, are particularly useful. Arts subjects such as drama, music and dance are also useful. Te Reo Maori is another useful subject. Early childhood educators should have a good knowledge of Maori culture and Tikanga Maori. They should also be reasonably fit and healthy.