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Current situation

Mary is English and became an educator when her own children were pre-school age, because it enabled her to stay at home with her children longer than she otherwise would have been able to. Mary enjoyed being an educator so much she continued on after her children started school. She looks after four ECE-aged children who are not her own.

Mary charges $10 per hour per child, except for 20 Hours ECE. She can charge these rates because the families she works with are all professionals with high incomes. She has to take a cut in her income for 20 Hours ECE – for these hours, parents pay no fees, and the service provider pays her $5.50 per child per hour. Mary chooses her own hours and days, and currently works 27 hours a week. Being a self-employed contractor is really motivating for her – she thinks of herself as her own brand and thinks about strategies to grow her business.

She works as an educator with a service provider with multiple licences and good infrastructure. The service provider is supporting Mary to complete her Level 4 ECE qualification by paying the course fees. The course is online, but she has no problems accessing and completing this because she has good literacy and is proficient with technology. She is in her early 30s.

She has worked with her coordinator for several years, who is a very experienced ECE teacher. She sees the coordinator twice a month in her home, because one of the children she looks after is part-time. Her coordinator oversees the education and care of 67 children and 22 educators. The service provider allocates 1 hour of visiting time per child per month.

The coordinator has to write up notes from each visit that are shared with the educator and the family through an online platform. Because educators are located across Wellington, the coordinator spends a lot of time driving between educators and will often write up notes in the car. The coordinator is always available to educators via telephone. The coordinator also oversees the monthly playgroup that the educator and children attend.

From this educator’s perspective, the main problems with the home-based ECE system is the hit she has to take in her income for 20 Hours ECE and the level of administrative paperwork that she has to complete, for example, risk assessments for every outing.

What the changes could mean

Transparency of funding changes mean parents will know how much government funding the service provider is collecting for their children, as the service provider must communicate this to parents on a regular basis.

Some parents then question why their fees are so high given how much money the service provider is collecting from the government. The service provider has a communications booklet that explains how they use government funding and the point of difference their service offers. Ultimately parents decide to stay with the educator because they like her and the environment she provides for their children. There are no changes in fees to parents or the educator’s income.