Provision of early childhood education services


  1. Although they are not licensed ECE services, playgroups (licence-exempt services) are an important component of the provision of ECE services.  However, they have been excluded from these indicators due to potential inconsistencies in the way their number has been counted over time.  There are also no waiting times data available for playgroups.
  2. Age-weighting is based on each year of age's share of the estimated total number of weekly hours of enrolment in ECE.
  3. A significant number of mergers occurred following regulation changes that, on 1 July 2011, increased the maximum number of licensed places from 50 to 150 places per service. This resulted in a number of cases where separately-held licences (counted as separate services) merged their licenses into a single licence (and service).
  4. A considerably lower proportion of children under one year of age attend ECE compared with four year-olds. If the number of births suddenly increases, it will not be until the babies turn three or four years of age that their number will have its biggest impact on ECE. To account for this impact on the demand for ECE, the population figures have been weighted to reflect the share that children of each single year of age make of the total number of hours attended.
  5. There may, however, be other reasons for services having waiting times than them being full. An example is that child/teacher ratios may prevent a service taking in more new children than their current number of teachers would allow.
  6. Waiting  times for home-based services refer to the wait for families to obtain a  place with any of the caregivers in the network. However, depending on individual  preferences, some families may wish to wait longer for a caregiver with a  particular skill or type of environment (e.g. has a piano in the house).
  7. These are weighted figures. They are weighted in two ways. First, the contribution of each service type's waiting times is weighted by their share of enrolments in 2012. Second, the overall waiting times used for each service type itself are the age-weighted average of the waiting times for each year of age, where the weighting is based on the year of age's share of the total number of 0-4 year-old enrolments in 2012. This weighting is done to prevent age groups and service types with few ECE enrolments having an undue effect on the overall waiting time figures. The exception is kindergartens, where only the 3-4 year-old group is included, as the figures for the younger children are distorted by the fact that very few kindergartens accept children before they are three or four years of age.


  • Ministry of Education (2014). Participation in ECE.
  • Ministry of Women's Affairs (2004). Influences of maternal employment and early childhood education on young children's cognitive and behavioural outcomes.
  • Mitchell, L. Wylie, C. & Carr, M. (2008). Outcomes of early childhood education: Literature review. A report by the New Zealand Council for Educational Research for the Ministry of Education. Wellington: Ministry of Education.
  • Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (2011). PISA in focus: Does participation in pre-primary education translate into better learning outcomes at school?
  • State Services Commission (2012). Better public services: Supporting vulnerable children.
  • Statistics New Zealand and Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs (2010). Education and Pacific peoples in New Zealand. Wellington: Author.
  • Wylie, C., Hodgen, E., Hipkins, R., & Vaughan K. (2009). Competent learners on the edge of adulthood: A summary of key findings from the Competent Learners @ 16 project. Wellington: Ministry of Education and New Zealand Centre for Education Research.