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NZ Herald Premium Launches Special Investigation Into Early Childhood Education

Private centre, home-based care, playcentre, kindergarten… the world of early childhood education is a complex and often expensive minefield.

It’s no surprise that many parents and caregivers feel overwhelmed when it comes to the best options for their under 5s.

And with most mums and dads in paid work by choice or necessity, the number of preschoolers in care and education facilities is higher than ever.

In a six-part series launching on Monday, a team of journalists from NZ Herald Premium tackles our growing daycare dilemma, helping Kiwi parents and caregivers navigate the myriad of ECE options and make the best decisions for their children.

Talking to industry leaders, ECE experts, educators and parents, NZ Herald Premium’s “Choosing Childcare” series aims to help parents answer questions like: What should you be looking for as a parent? Why does it cost so much? And which is the best childcare option for you and your child?

The series by the New Zealand Herald’s education reporter Simon Collins, social issues reporter Isaac Davison and personal finance reporter Tamsyn Parker also explores the huge range of ECE choices, driven largely by the explosion of private centres since the Government offered subsidies to provide 30 free hours of ECE a week.

Cost remains a major concern for parents; “Choosing Childcare” reveals:

  • New Zealand parents are having children further apart or deciding against a second child because they can't afford to have two children in daycare at once.
  • Many couples are finding that they are barely better off with both parents working because of the relatively high cost of ECE, even once state subsidies are included.
  • They are also likely to lose some Government childcare support because they are earning too much. But stay-at-home parenting is often not an option because of high mortgage or rent costs.

“Choosing Childcare” also sets out research that shows high-quality ECE is good, not bad, for children, even if they are there for long hours and from a young age. But the key phrase is high-quality, particularly staff who are well trained and motivated.

The series, which runs from Monday June 29 to Saturday July 4, includes interactive graphics, videos and a beginner’s guide to ECE in New Zealand.

“Choosing Childcare” will be printed in the NZ Herald from Monday and available to NZ Herald Premium subscribers at

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