Playgroup Funding Handbook
The Playgroup Funding Handbook provides information about how playgroup funding is calculated and the conditions which need to be met to receive funding in accordance with section 548 of the Education and Training Act 2020(external link).
Playgroup Operational Funding Conditions
Funding is provided to support playgroups to meet the following objectives:
- to enable a community-initiated response to increase participation in early childhood education
- to support playgroups to provide quality educational programmes consistent with any curriculum prescribed by the Minister of Education, and
- to assist playgroups to be sustainable over time.
Guidelines for Expenditure
Playgroups must ensure that the use of their playgroup operational funding is allocated appropriately to meet the three objectives.
Example 1: Inappropriate Spending
It would not be appropriate for a playgroup to spend their entire allocation on paying for a playgroup coordinator if there were inappropriate or inadequate curriculum resources.
Example 2: Inappropriate Spending
It would not be appropriate to use the majority of funding for overheads and transport costs if there was insufficient equipment for children.
Objective 1: Increase ECE Participation
Objective 1 spending is for premises and facilities or ensuring children’s health and safety.
The following examples support this objective
- to assist with the playgroup’s operating costs, such as rent and electricity
- to support children’s health and safety by installing products like safety matting and sunshades, and
- to make or contribute to repairs or additions to the building used by the playgroup as appropriate.
Objective 2: Quality Educational Programmes
Objective 2 spending is for learning opportunities and experiences that support the prescribed curriculum framework (see Education (Playgroups) Regulations 2008(external link)).
the following examples support this objective:
- to purchase curriculum resources and a range of children’s equipment
- to purchase language and culturally-specific resources
- to improve learning spaces used by the playgroup, and
- to support training programmes relevant to the playgroup.
Objective 3: Sustainable Playgroups
Objective 3 spending is for the playgroup’s management and administration costs.
The following examples support this objective:
- to purchase resources for the sound financial and administrative management of the playgroup
- to recruit and maintain membership to ensure the ongoing success of the playgroup
- to pay wages or fees to a playgroup coordinator, and
- to promote the availability of the service within the community.
To receive funding playgroups are required to:
- maintain a separate bank account either in the name of the playgroup or the affiliated organisation
- have two signatories to sign off all expenditure
- maintain accurate and verified records of income and expenditure and make these available to the Ministry of Education on request
- complete the Playgroup Funding Report (PG5) to account for the expenditure of government funding, and
- maintain enrolment and attendance records and make these available to the Ministry of Education on request.
Conditions on Closure
Funding is provided to playgroups on the condition that, upon closure:
- all remaining funds received from the Ministry of Education are returned to the Ministry of Education, and
- all equipment purchased with Ministry of Education funding may be reclaimed by the Ministry.
Restrictions on Funding
Funding must not be claimed for:
- children enrolled in a licensed home-based service who attend the playgroup with their home-based educator, or
- children over the age of six or who are enrolled in school.