How much will it cost?
Are you looking for the cheapest childcare, or the best childcare or one that suits your lifestyle? What are your priorities? If you are a parent, then you know that childcare can quickly become your biggest priority, but that doesn’t mean that you need to dedicate large amounts of money either, as children are happiest with their best educator – their parents – but we all need to find a way to do other things as well…
If you have more time available, you could dedicate some effort to parent-led services, they are usually cheaper than teacher-led ones. Community services provide many of the low cost options, and some are free and/or subsidised for low income families. One of the first entry level options are playgroups, as the children are often younger and with their parent contributing, a gold coin donation for example is all it may cost. Playcentres, Kōhunga Reo and other community and parent-involved services can cost not much more than $30 per term, per child. Kindergartens are relatively inexpensive, but expect other teacher-led and privately-owned services to cost more. Many three and four year-olds in teacher-led early learning services will qualify for up to 20 hours free per week. Some centres can have many more fees attached, as they offer longer hours, offer food and can use external services to lead a variety of education areas. Nannies and au pairs offer more flexible choices, so the times and costs will differ again, and you will want to allow for extra spend on activities and resources for your children, so consider this in your budgeting.
It will not work if your whole pay goes towards childcare, no one will feel happy, so you may have to look at your spending in all areas, or choose a child education service that fits your budget.
For more information phone each service, or for an general idea contact 0800 204433, go to www.minedu.govt.nz or your local Ministry of Education office.
Are there subsidies available?
You may be entitled to a Childcare Subsidy from Work and Income if you’re paying for early learning. Parents in work or training (or in some other circumstances) can get up to 50 hours a week Childcare Subsidy. Other parents can get up to nine hours subsidy a week. The amount you get depends on the number of children in your family, your income, your work or study hours and how many hours your child attends early learning each week. More information on the Childcare Subsidy can be found at www.workingforfamilies.govt.nz or by calling 0800 559 009.