Starting a service
All about starting a new early learning service.
|Level of compliance||Main audience||Other|
Read this information if you are thinking about starting a new service.
- Key steps to starting a new service
- Research and preparation
- Apply for network approval
- Apply for a licence from the Ministry of Education
Before starting a new service you should, in this order:
- do your research and prepare
- apply for network approval from the Minister of Education, and if approved
- apply for a licence from the Ministry of Education.
Understand the geographic area you want to set up in and decide the type of service you want to establish
To understand the area you want to set up in and decide what type of service you want to establish, you can:
- review the national and regional data
- visit other services in your area to determine what types of services already exist in your community
- carry out a community needs assessment to understand what kind of service would best suit the community’s needs
- talk to staff at your Local Ministry Office for information about ECE services and the needs in your area
- they also have information about possible sources of funding assistance, particularly if you are community-based
- develop a draft budget
- develop a draft budget for the annual operating cost of each option, referring to Ministry of Education Funding rates
- details about the funding system can be found in the ECE Funding Handbook and on 20 Hours ECE
- certified playgroups are funded at a different rate. Refer to the Playgroup Funding Handbook for more information
- we strongly recommend that you seek professional financial advice early
- engage with your community and discuss any estimated fees
- Work and Income(external link) will be able to support some families with childcare fees.
There are four main types of service. The following links provide detailed guidance about starting these specific types of services.
- Starting a centre-based service
- Starting a home-based service
- Establishing a playgroup
- Establishing a puna kōhungahunga
About community-based services
Models of ownership and operation
- Some services are community-based. These may be ‘standalone’ or may come under the umbrella of a larger organisation.
- Others are privately owned and operated.
Definition of a community-based service
- Community-based early learning services belong to and are governed by their communities.
- They have assets that are owned by and will return to those communities.
- They cannot distribute financial gains to their members.
Types of community-based organisations include:
- incorporated societies
- charitable trusts
- statutory trusts
- community trusts.
Community-based also includes services owned by public bodies (e.g. government departments, councils or Crown entities).
Establishing a community group
It is strongly recommended that you ensure your group is formally established as a legal entity and is governed by a constitution.
- Guidance and forms can be found on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's
Incorporated Societies Register.(external link)
- Professional financial, legal and management advice should be accessed early in the process.
- Some organisations provide resources to support you to write constitutions, register as charity, run a business or get grants.
- There are benefits in registering under the Charities Act 2005. You can find out more on the website of the Charities Commission(external link)(external link).
A service must focus on providing:
- an excellent quality of staff-child interaction
- interesting learning resources and programmes that engage children
- a supportive environment in which children can work together
- engagement and effective communication with families, whānau and communities
- positive home learning environments that reinforce learning.
- All licensed services and certificated playgroups are regulated by the Ministry of Education.
- Services must meet minimum standards of education and care in order to operate.
- The Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008 are the regulations that must be met by services in order for them to hold a licence and to receive government funding.
- Licensing criteria state the day-to-day requirements that different service types must meet in order to meet the regulated standards.
- Playgroups are required to meet the Education (Playgroups) Regulations 2008 in order to be certificated and receive government funding. The certification criteria state the requirements playgroups must meet in order to meet the playgroup standards.
- The 2008 regulatory system prescribes a national curriculum framework for early childhood education – for licensed early childhood education services and certificated playgroups.
- The curriculum framework consists of the principals and strands of Te Whāriki in both English and Māori.
- The Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008, the Education (Playgroups) Regulations 2008 curriculum strands and related licensing and certification criteria are linked to the curriculum framework and state further requirements needed to support quality curricula for children.
- To supplement this, The Ministry has published Kei tua o te pae/Assessment for Learning: Early Childhood Exemplars.
Help from other agencies and government departments
|Agencies/Government departments||Services they provide|
|The Social Development Partners(external link)||
|CommunityNet Aotearoa(external link)||
|The Charities Commission(external link)||
|The Companies Office(external link)||
|The Department of Internal Affairs(external link)||Administers:
|Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (external link)||
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