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Help paying for early childhood education

All 3, 4 and 5-year-olds can get up to 20 hours of early childhood education (ECE) fully funded by the Ministry of Education.

Get up to 20 hours a week of funded ECE

For the Ministry of Education to pay for up to 20 hours of your child’s ECE, you’ll need to:

  • find an early learning service that offers 20 hours of funded ECE
  • enrol your child with the service
  • state on the enrolment form which days and hours you’ll claim for your child — no more than 6 hours in a day and 20 hours in a week.

Your early learning service can charge you for any hours your child attends outside of the fully funded hours.

Finding an early learning service for your child’s ECE

Not all early learning services offer 20 hours of funded ECE. Check before you enrol your child.

Early learning services that offer 20 hours of funded ECE — Ministry of Education

Fees and ongoing costs for ECE

While up to 20 hours of ECE are fully funded, there are other costs to know about. Each early learning service charges different fees, which depend on different factors.

The Ministry of Education recommends checking the fees and conditions with early learning services before enrolling.

Fees — Ministry of Education

More information — 20 hours of funded ECE

The Ministry of Education has information about:

  • home-based ECE services
  • receiving the ECE funding
  • enrolment fees and which other fees are allowed
  • donations and optional charges
  • splitting your fully funded hours of ECE across early learning services
  • possible minimum hours and days of enrolment at some early learning services.

20 hours ECE — Ministry of Education

More help with ECE costs — childcare subsidy

Some people will also be able to claim a childcare subsidy to help with other ECE costs. You cannot claim the subsidy for the same hours you’re claiming for full funding.

Childcare subsidy — Work and Income

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