Types of early childhood services and kōhanga reo

There are four main types of Early Childhood Service ERO reviews across New Zealand: centre-based, ngā kōhanga reo, home-based and hospital-based.

Each have its own characteristics, which influences how we approach our review and what we hope to see while on review.

  • Centre-based – An early childhood education and care centre is defined in the Education and Training Act 2020 as “premises used regularly for the education or care of 3 or more children (not being children of the persons providing the education or care, or children enrolled at a school being provided with education and care before or after school) under the age of 6 — by the day or part of a day; but not for any continuous period of more than 7 days.

  • Ngā kōhanga reo – Kōhanga reo run a total immersion te reo Māori whānau (family) programme for mokopuna (young children) from birth to 6 years to be raised within its whānau Māori, where the language of communication will be Māori.

The operation and decision making of each kōhanga reo are the responsibility of the whole whānau within the guidelines set down by Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust Board. The trust and the kōhanga reo whānau administer the kaupapa to ensure the safety and well-being of the mokopuna, and the whānau and to ensure the survival of te reo Māori.

Kōhanga reo are currently chartered to Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust and licensed by the Ministry of Education under the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008.

  • Home-based – Home-based education and care services are defined in the Education Act 1989 as those that provide “education or care, for gain or reward, to children who are under the age of 5 years, or who are 5 years of age but not enrolled in school, in - the children’s own home; or the home of the person providing the education or care; or any other home nominated by the parents of the children; and includes the provision of education or care to any child of the person providing the service who is under the age of 5 years; or 5 years of age but not enrolled in school”.

Home-based services do not include those with unpaid supervision or education.

ECE services operating from hospital premises that provide education and care to siblings of patients or children of hospital staff or patients are centre-based ECE services, not hospital-based ECE services.

Hospital-based services are licensed in accordance with the Education and Training Act 2020 under the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008, which prescribe minimum standards that each licensed service must meet. Licensing criteria are used to assess how the services meet the minimum standards required by the regulations.