Sue is a Pākehā in her early 30s and has four school-aged children. She lives with her husband who works full-time. Her youngest child has just started school. She has four ECE-aged children from 7.30am to 5pm, four days a week. Two of the children are just over 1 year old and the other two are about to turn three.
Sue became a home-based educator when she had her first child. She saw home-based ECE as a way to supplement her income while being a stay-at-home mum.
She enjoyed the work and decided to study part-time towards a Level 4 ECE qualification. Sue has good literacy skills and found the qualification relatively straightforward. She completed the qualification a year ago and now receives a higher rate, per child per hour. The service provider requires all its educators to have at least two children for 6 hours per day. She sees home-based early childhood education as a long-term career.
Sue charges parents $7 per hour and this is her main form of income. The service provider does not pass through any of the subsidy funding.
She looks after the ECE-aged children while their parents are at work. Sue has an impressive collection of books and toys from the time when her own children were small. She purchases additional toys from time to time, and has just bought a new pram. She uses the IRD standard determination to offset the cost of these resources and reduce her taxable income. She also is able to claim for part of her rental costs. She tries to take the children out on trips once a week, their parents are charged for any costs associated with this.
It is important to Sue that she is home when her children come back from school. Her older children help out with the ECE-aged children and think of them like siblings. She has been looking after the same children for just over 6 months and they have become like part of the family. The children’s parents like to know their children are safe and in a loving family home while they’re at work. Her coordinator visits the children once a month, and she often sees the coordinator at weekly playgroups organised by the service provider. She is happy to operate independently and feels confident writing learning stories. She has made a number of friends through the weekly playgroups and they often catch up for play dates during the week.
What the changes could mean
Sue will be unaffected by the introduction of qualification requirements as she has already completed a qualification. She decides to switch to another service provider who is willing to give her a grant for resources and some annual leave days. Service providers are competing for existing educators who meet the qualification requirements. Sue will continue to charge parents but will also receive some pass through of the government subsidy from providers. Service providers now provide parents with more information on government funding.