Positive experiences in early childhood education can have a lasting impact, including learning at school, friendships, and down the track, finding work.
All children aged from 3 - 5 years are entitled to 20 hours of Government funded early childhood education. If your child is born with a disability or identified as having special education needs, the Ministry of Education will also provide early intervention support until they go to school. This can include early intervention teachers, speech and language therapists, psychologists and advisers on Deaf Education.
There is a range of both teacher and parent-led early childhood education options for your child before starting school. When choosing a service some questions you may want to ask are:
- Do I want a service where I can stay with my child?
- Does the service have a welcoming attitude towards my child?
- What experience do the staff have in supporting children with similar needs to my child?
- How will they ensure my child is welcomed by the other children and can learn alongside them?
- Does the service have suitable facilities and equipment for my child e.g. toilets, ramps, play equipment.
For more helpful questions and to help with choosing and starting at an early childhood centre the Ministry of Education have published a comprehensive booklet (pdf).