Participation in Early Childhood Education: Evidence Booklet

Publication Details

This booklet presents information about children’s participation in Early Childhood Education (ECE) in New Zealand. It provides summary and time series information about children who do not participate in ECE, as well as new information about the duration, and the amount of time spent in ECE, for children who do participate. The Booklet presents a national overview and regional breakdowns providing insights into the unique characteristics of participation across the regions and selected population groups.

The Booklet has been prepared for the Ministry of Education’s Early Learning Taskforce to provide an evidence base to support and inform the Taskforce’s work. The Taskforce has been established to achieve the Government’s Better Public Service target: ‘in 2016, 98% of children starting school will have participated in quality ECE’.

Author(s): Michelle Basham, ECE Analysis

Date Published: December 2012

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This booklet is available as a download (please refer to the 'Downloads' inset box).  For links to related publications/ information that may be of interest please refer to the 'Where to Find Out More' inset box.  Please consider the environment before printing.


Participation in Early Childhood Education (ECE) has significant benefits for children and their future learning outcomes. Under its Better Public Services Programme, the Government aims to increase participation so that: ‘in 2016, 98% of children starting school will have participated in quality ECE’.

Participation in ECE has increased steadily for children in all areas of New Zealand and across all ethnic groups and socio-economic backgrounds. Currently, approximately 95 percent of New Zealand children attend ECE before they start school. However, Pākehā children continue to participate at significantly higher rates than all other ethnic groups, and Māori and Pasifika children participate at lower rates than children from other ethnic groups. Rates of participation also vary according to children’s socio-economic background and across different regions within New Zealand. There are also differences in the duration and time spent in ECE for children that do participate.

Where to find out more

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