Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


New research offers insights into how mothers choose ECE

Mothers, on average, take 25 weeks leave from work when they have a child, their use of teacher-led early childcare education (ECE) services increases with the hours a mother works and with the age of the child, and income and the hours of work affect uptake of ECE services, are some of the findings of a recent Auckland University study.

The research, funded by the Ministry of Social Development’s Children and Families Research Fund and conducted in partnership with the Ministry of Education, examines the link between maternal workforce participation and the use of early childhood education services. The researchers also looked into the use of paid parental leave and uptake of bi-lingual, centre-based services.

"The Children and Families Research Fund supports policy-relevant research using data from the valuable and rich Growing Up in New Zealand longitudinal study. This research is a useful input to understanding the tradeoffs and choices families make about ECE when their children are younger," said Rob Hodgson, General Manager Insights MSD.

Researchers said the findings showed there may be barriers to some groups using ECE services - including financial resources, the location of ECE centres and when they are open. Mothers’ antenatal intentions frequently differed from their actual choices about ECE or childcare.

"Eighty four per cent of mothers who had indicated during pregnancy that they would use an ECE service instead opted for an informal arrangement, such as care by a relative, by the time the child was nine months old. It was not until children turned two that mothers are more likely to engage with ECE services," said Dr Kane Meissel, University of Auckland researcher and co-author of the report. "The research shows there are a wide range of inter-related factors affecting ECE choices."

"The research also reveals that choosing a Māori or Pasifika immersion and bilingual centre-based service was most likely to relate to developmental reasons, such as their child’s language development. Mothers’ ethnicity was not related to their decision to use this type of service," Kane said.

The study used anonymised data from the Growing Up in New Zealand longitudinal study, also conducted by the University of Auckland.

Read the full report Intentions and Decisions about Early Childhood Education: Understanding the determinants and dynamics of households’ early intentions and decisions about ECE and childcare from birth to age two. (PDF)

-ECE here refers to services licensed and funded by New Zealand’s Ministry of Education.

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: And The Oscar Goes To … Parasite
For its deliciously dark wit and genre-bending ingenuity, Bong Joon-ho's latest movie has just won four out of a potential six Academy Awards, including Best Screenplay and Director. Only ten foreign-language films have previously been nominated for Best Picture and none have won before. More>>

Howard Davis: 1917's 1,000 Yard Stare

Sam Mendes has created a terrible and barbarous trek, one that we appreciate all the more for being catapulted right into the midst of this ear-splitting melee from the film's opening sequence. More>>

Floorball: NZ To Host World Cup Of Floorball In 2022

In a major coup for a minnow nation in the European-dominated sport of floorball, New Zealand has won the rights to host one of the sport’s marque international events. More>>

National Voyage Continues: Tuia 250 Ends

Tuia 250 has unleashed an unstoppable desire to keep moving forward and continue the kōrero about who we are, say the co-chairs of the Tuia 250 National Coordinating Committee, Dame Jenny Shipley and Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr. More>>


Over 150 Productions: NZ Fringe 2020 Has Launched

The upcoming festival will be held at 40 venues all over Wellington Region from 28 February to 21 March, and includes every genre possible—theatre, comedy, dance, music, clowning, cabaret, visual art, children’s shows and more! More>>





  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland