An Overview of Home Based Education and Care

Published on Monday, 05 December 2016
Last updated on Tuesday, 17 November 2020

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It’s said that ‘home is where the heart is’ and there are certainly good feelings around home-based education and care. 

With this type of care, children are looked after in the educator’s house, at their parent’s house or in another home chosen by the parents. With a focus on individualised child care and early childhood education, home-based care is the perfect fit for some families.

Here we look at the key offerings of ‘family daycare,’ as it’s sometimes called. 

Who is home-based education and care for?

This type of child care caters for groups of up to four children from birth to five-years-old (or until they begin school). 

What will my child do in home-based education and care? 

Although children are cared for in a domestic environment rather than a child care centre, home-based care is a teacher-led early childhood education service. 

All in-house educators are supervised by coordinators who are qualified and registered teachers, and the daily programme is based on Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum

The Te Whāriki curriculum focuses on:

  • Four principles: Empowerment, holistic development, family and community, and relationships; and 
  • Five strands: Well-being, belonging, contribution, communication and exploration  

Activities are tailored to each child’s needs, interests and how they learn, with educators working to inspire children and develop their abilities. 

Home-based education and care activities may include:

  • Baking
  • Gardening
  • Art and craft
  • Water play
  • Excursions
  • Access to a mobile toy library
  • ‘Everyday’ activities, like collecting mail and visiting the park

What services does home-based education and care offer? 

Although educators do the hands-on child care, there are four positions of responsibility in home-based education and care. Namely, the:

  • Service provider 
  • Contact person
  • Coordinator
  • Educator

Service provider
is the body, agency or person operating the home based care and education service. It is the holder of the license and is directly responsible for delivering education and care services in homes, in accordance with the regulations and licensing criteria.

Contact person
is responsible for representing the service provider's management, responding to the Ministry on any issue relating to licensing and acting on behalf of the service provider when dealing with the Ministry. They must reside locally within a Ministry region.

Person responsible / Coordinator
has primary responsibility for overseeing education and care, comfort, and health and safety of the children, and professional leadership and support educators within the service. They must hold a current practicing certificate from the Education Council, and be available for all licensed hours of operation.

has the designated role of providing education and care directly to children in his or her care and attending to the health and safety of those children.

Services offered by the provider 

Every educator must belong to a home-based service. This service provider is responsible for:

  • Arranging education and care services in homes 
  • Holding the necessary license and ensuring government regulations are met
  • Working with the coordinator to match educators and families
  • Choosing a contact person to liaise with the Ministry of Education on licensing issues 

Services offered by a coordinator

Coordinators hold an early childhood teaching qualification and support educators and families. Some of their main duties are:

  • Helping parents choose the right educator for their child
  • Overseeing the education and care, comfort, health and safety of children
  • Monitoring individual learning plans
  • Providing professional leadership
  • Regularly contacting and visiting educators 

Services offered by an educator

Educators are the main point of contact for families. They provide children with education, care and comfort, look after their health and safety, and may change nappies or provide meals. Educators must be at least 17-years-old and hold a first aid qualification. 

In terms of hours, educators can provide full or part-day care. Some also offer emergency care if needed.  

What are the benefits of home-based education and care?

Home-based care offers a nurturing and safe environment for children to learn, grow and play. With a low educator to child ratio (no more than four children per educator), there’s the opportunity to personalise each youngster’s experience. 

Children benefit from home-based care by:

  • Forming a close bond with one care-giver
  • Receiving individual attention
  • Receiving individual education programmes 
  • Developing their literacy, numeracy, social and creative skills
  • Feeling safe and comfortable in their ‘home away from home’ 

Families benefit from home-based care by:

  • Choosing an educator and forming an ongoing relationship 
  • Getting support from a coordinator
  • Travelling less, if the care is nearby or at home
  • Being updated on their child’s progress
  • Accessing flexible hours and emergency care, if offered

How does licensing work for home-based education and care?

As mentioned above, each educator must belong to a home-based education and care service. 

The service provider must be licensed and they have to meet licensing criteria and comply with the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Home-based services must fulfil licensing criteria regarding:

  • Curriculum 
  • Premises and facilities 
  • Health and safety practices
  • Governance, management and administration

To receive government funding, home-based services must also comply with Ministry of Education funding rules. 

The Education Review Office (ERO) reviews the quality of home-based education and care.  

How much does home-based education and care cost?

Home-based care can be less costly than other early childhood education services, because in-home overheads are lower than in centres. Also, although coordinators are registered teachers, educators may not be as formally qualified as educators/carers at other early childhood education services.  

Rates also vary depending on your location and what the educator is providing, like nappies and food. As a guide, Homegrown Kids says that, 

“Home-based care with an educator can start from less than $5 per hour per child and ranges up to around $8 per hour per child.”

The good news is that the government subsidises child care provided by early childhood education services, and this includes licensed home-based care. 

Families receive up to six hours per day and 20 hours per week of government-funded care for their three-, four- or five-year-old. 

A Childcare Subsidy is also available to some families using approved home-based care. 

To find out how much your home-based education and care will cost, it’s best to speak with the coordinator.


NZ Education
Home Grown Kids
Barnardos Early Learning

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