Starting a service

All about starting a new early learning service.

Level of compliance Main audience Other

Required

 

  • All Early Learning Services
  • Service Managers

 Read this information if you are thinking about starting a new service. 

What your service needs to provide

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.

Quality

  • 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.

Curriculum

  • 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.

Where to begin

To start a new early learning service, you will need to follow these steps:

1 Choose the right type of service.
2 Visit other services in your area to determine what types of services already exist in your community.
3 Carry out a community needs assessment: 
  • what kind of service would best suit your community’s needs?
  • talk to staff at your Local Ministry Office(external link) 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
  • our Community Needs assessment guidelines are being reviewed and will be available once the review is complete.
4 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 Early Childhood Education 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.
5  Engage with your community and discuss the estimated fees.

Other helpful information

Community-based ECE 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 community-based ECE

  • Belong to and are governed by their communities.
  • Have assets that are owned by and will return to those communities.
  • 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 ECE services owned by public bodies (for example 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 Employments ‘societies and trusts online(external link)’ website.
  • Professional financial, legal and management advice should be accessed early in the process.
  • Some organisations provides 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).

Help from other agencies and government departments

Agencies/ Government Departments  Services they provide
The Social Development Partners(external link)
  • An association of community and voluntary welfare groups. 
  • They have collaborated legal resources onto their website Law Reform Pipeline.
CommunityNet Aotearoa(external link)
  • Provides information about the community sector.
  • The website provides case studies, hot topics and ‘how to’ guides.
  • The ‘links’ section includes a list of organisations that provide grants and other funding for community groups. 
The Charities Commission(external link) 
  • Responsible for registering and monitoring charitable organisations in New Zealand. 
  • Their website includes a guide to the Charities Act 2005 and the register of charities.
The Companies Office(external link)
  • Their website allows you to form and maintain companies, search the register of companies and file annual returns. 
  • It also includes information about incorporated societies and trusts. 
The Department of Internal Affairs(external link) Administers:
  • Lottery grants,
  • Community grant schemes
  • Grants online
  • Trusts 
Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (external link)
  • Provides information and support when starting a business.

Where to from here?

The following links provide detailed guidance about starting specific types of ECE services.

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