Setting up an ECE service

Setting up an early learning service is a big undertaking. Essentially it's setting up a business.

Early learning services are businesses

Early learning services are small businesses. Like any other small business you need to have a good understanding of your market, the quality standards for your service and any regulations that you need to comply with.

You'll also need a good understanding of business practices and what's required when receiving government funding.

Keys to making a positive difference

For an early learning service, making a positive difference in young children’s lives depends on:

  • the quality of staff-child interaction
  • the learning resources available
  • programmes that engage children
  • a supportive environment for children to work together
  • working closely with families and whānau.

Connecting with families and whānau

To set up a quality early learning service, you will also need to put time, planning and effort into effective communication with parents, whānau and communities.

Engaging parents and whānau in the ongoing assessment of their child's learning, and sharing educational aims, will help improve the home learning environment and reinforce learning between home and the early learning service.

This is a potentially powerful role for early learning services.

If I want to set up an early learning service, where do I start?

If you're thinking about setting up an early learning service you're moving from the role of parent to being an early learning service provider. The Ministry provides advice and guidance about what's involved in starting up. Check out for information(external link). This website is where the Ministry provides all its information about owning and managing an early learning service.

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