Establishing a certificated playgroup

'Establishing a certificated playgroup' has been developed to guide parents through the process of establishing a playgroup. It contains information to help you set up a quality playgroup in your community.

The Ministry of Education employs staff in its regional offices to work with parents establishing playgroups and assist them to work towards certification.

Their particular focus is on the set up, delivery and maintenance of quality early childhood education programmes for children.

Contact your local Ministry of Education office if you are interested in establishing a certificated playgroup. 

Licensing Criteria Cover

Being eligible for funding

To be eligible to receive funding a playgroup must:

  • be certificated (that is hold a valid interim or full certificate), and
  • meet the conditions for payment of funding set out in the Ministry of Education’s Playgroup Funding Handbook.

There are two types of funding available from the Ministry that playgroups can apply for: playgroup funding and special grants.

  • Playgroup funding
    • Playgroup funding supports the day-to-day operating costs of running a playgroup. It is based on the average number of children attending and hours of attendance per session over a 6-month period. Funding can be claimed for a maximum of 25 children between birth and 6 years old for each playgroup session. Funding cannot be claimed for children attending the playgroup with a caregiver when they are enrolled with a home- based service.

      There are no restrictions on the number of times or hours a certificated playgroup can meet in a week provided no child attends for more than 4 hours per day.

  • Special grant
    • The special grant is a discretionary grant to assist a playgroup to cover large 'one off' costs that cannot be met from other funding. This is a discretionary grant and there is no guarantee that applicants will receive the money they apply for.

      For more information about conditions that govern funding of playgroups and how to apply for funding refer to the Playgroup Funding Handbook on the Ministry’s website, or your local Ministry of Education office will be able to provide you with a copy.

  • Financial reporting
    • Every year in July, playgroups are required to complete and return a Playgroup Funding Report to the Ministry of Education. This report needs to show how the money the play­ group has received from the Ministry of Education over the past year has been spent.

  • Annual statistics form
    • The Ministry of Education collects information from all playgroups (not just those receiving Ministry of Education support and funding) through an annual statistics form. This form is sent out to playgroups in June each year and requests information on:

      • the number of hours the playgroup is open for
      • the age, gender and ethnicity of children enrolled at the playgroup.

      This information is used to inform the Ministry of Education about the numbers of playgroups operating, the average numbers of children attending and those that are receiving Ministry of Education support and funding.

  • Closing a playgroup
    • If the playgroup closes then all remaining playgroup funds received from the Ministry of Education must be returned. Any equipment or resources purchased using that funding or grant money may also need to be returned to the Ministry of Education.

      It is important that clear financial records and equipment inventories are kept. You will need to discuss this with staff at your local Ministry of Education office.

      The dispersal of group-owned assets (money and equipment) should be decided by remaining members of the group, in consultation with staff at your local Ministry of Education office.