ECE Funding Handbook

Welcome to the Early Childhood Funding Handbook. This Funding Handbook is issued under section 311(5) of the Education Act 1989. The funding paid to licensed services is paid subject to the terms and conditions set out under this Handbook and must be complied with. The terms used in this Handbook are based in the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008.

This Handbook is designed to be a ‘one-stop-shop’ for all you need to know about early childhood funding, including:

  • the Early Childhood Education (ECE) Funding Subsidy
  • 20 Hours Early Childhood Education (ECE)
  • Equity Funding
  • the Annual Top-Up for Isolated Services

Note: The information in the Funding Handbook does not apply to certificated playgroups. These services should contact their Ministry regional office for further information.

Licensing Criteria Cover

3-C-3 Playcentres

P symbol.  Checklist.

  • Introduction
    • Playcentres are services where families manage and implement early childhood education (ECE) programmes for children under six years of age, or for specific groups within this age range. All playcentres are affiliated to a New Zealand Playcentre Association.

      This section explains:

      • funding conditions for playcentres
      • requirements for quality funding rates
      • record keeping requirements for playcentres.
  • Supervision
    • Playcentres are required to use a supervision plan approved by their playcentre association.

      In order to receive funding at the standard rate, all licensed playcentres must meet both the following minimum supervision requirements and the minimum qualifications for group supervision.

  • Supervision requirements
      • Each playcentre must belong to an association affiliated with the New Zealand Playcentre Federation Incorporated.
      • Each playcentre must be organised, equipped, and managed on a cooperative basis.
      • Programmes must be partly provided by parents of the children attending the session.
      • Each session must have no more than 30 children in attendance.
      • The maximum adult:child ratio is 1:5.
      • All children under the age of two and a half years must be accompanied by a parent or caregiver.
  • Minimum qualifications for group supervision
    • The Playcentre Education Diploma Curriculum 2000 is the Playcentre qualification approved by the New Zealand Playcentre Federation Inc. and NZQA at level 6 on the curriculum framework.

      • There are eight different possible combinations of these courses that will meet the minimum supervision requirements for licensing for group supervision in playcentres. These options are identified in the table below.
      • Playcentres may choose Option 1, or any one of Options 2 to 8. The course combinations were available from 1 August 2001. From January 2002 these combinations were mandatory.

      Please note: each session should include one person for each of the certificates included in the option. As these are the Minimum Qualification Requirements for Group Supervision it is not possible for one person to hold all certificates.

      Qualifications for supervision purposesMinimum combinations of qualifications
      Either: Option 1

      Playcentre Sessions: Course 3 Certificate, and

      The Playcentre Way: Course 2 Certificate, and

      Introducing Playcentre: Course 1 Certificate

      Or: Option 2

      Playcentre Sessions: Course 3 Certificate, and

      Playcentre Sessions: Course 3 Certificate

      Or: Option 3

      Playcentre Practice: Course 4 Certificate, and

      Introducing Playcentre: Course 1 Certificate

      Or: Option 4

      Playcentre in Context: Course 5 Certificate, and

      Introducing Playcentre: Course 1 Certificate

      Or: Option 5

      The Playcentre Education Diploma: Course 6, and

      Introducing Playcentre: Course 1 Certificate

      Or: Option 6

      National Playcentre Certificate, and

      Introducing Playcentre: Course 1 Certificate

      Or: Option 7

      Playcentre Federation Association Certificate, and

      Introducing Playcentre: Course 1 Certificate 

      Or: Option 8

      New Zealand Playcentre Federation Inc. Certificate, and

      Introducing Playcentre: Course 1 Certificate. 

      Originally published in the Education Circular 2001/16.

      Please direct any questions about the qualifications for Playcentres to your playcentre association contact person or Ministry regional office.

  • Options for quality funding rates
    • To be eligible for the quality funding rates, licensed playcentres must meet the requirements of the minimum supervision requirements and one of the options from the table below.

      Where two or more different qualifications are required they must be held by separate people.

       Option 1Option 2Option 3
      Qualifications requirements

      One parent/whānau member with:

      • a Diploma of Teaching (ECE) or
      • Education Council- approved ECE teaching qualification or
      • a qualification held to be equivalent to the Diploma of Teaching (ECE) as a result of an application to NZQA prior to 1 January 1995 or 
      • an overseas ECE teaching qualification assessed by the NZQA as being equivalent to an Education Council approved ECE teaching qualification or
      • a New Zealand Free Kindergarten Diploma.
      One parent/whānau member present with:
      • a Playcentre in Context: Course 5 Certificate or
      • the Playcentre Diploma in Early Childhood and Adult Education
      • Plus one parent/whānau member present with:
      • a Playcentre Practice: Course 4 Certificate or equivalent.

      At least three parents/whānau members present with the NZ Playcentre Education Diploma Curriculum 2000 certificates at a minimum of these levels:

      • one parent/whānau member with The Playcentre Way: Course 2 Certificate
      • one parent/whānau member with Playcentre Sessions: Course 3 Certificate
      • one parent/whānau member with Playcentre Practice: Course 4 Certificate.

      Plus one parent/whānau member in training for every three families enrolled.

  • Discretionary situations for Playcentres
    • Playcentres receiving quality funding should refer to Section 3-C-2 of this handbook for information on discretionary situations.

      Playcentres receiving standard funding may be eligible to be funded for five discretionary situations per funding period, where they do not meet the minimum qualifications for group supervision, but all other licensing requirements are met. Playcentres must contact their Ministry regional office for information on this process.

  • Changing funding rates
    • Use this table to find out when and how to change your licensed playcentre’s funding rate:

       If a playcentre ...and ...then ...using ...
      is funded at the standard rate can meet the requirements of one of the quality options  you may apply to be funded at the quality rate the EC11 Form.
      is funded at the quality rate can no longer meet the requirements of any of the quality options  you must apply to return to the standard funding rate the EC11 Form.
      is funded at the quality rate has had a change in parents/whānau involved in leading the ECE programme, but still meets the requirements of one of the quality options  you must inform your Ministry of Education regional office of the change the EC11/A Form.

      Funding rate changes for quality rate funding are effective from the date the EC11 Form is received by the Ministry.

  • Record keeping
    • The table below shows the record keeping requirements for Playcentres:

      If your playcentre...you must...
      is funded at the standard rate
      • have enrolment records for each child and
      • keep attendance records to show the hours each child attended.
      is funded at the quality rate
      • have enrolment records for each child and
      • keep attendance records to show the hours each child attended

      plus

      • meet the record keeping requirements for quality funding rates (see Section 3-C-2 for further details).