The ECE funding subsidy is the Ministry of Education's main form of funding for early childhood learning centres. ALL children ages 3-5 are entitled to this funding, so long as they are not currently enrolled in school, regardless of their parent's income or whether they are NZ residents or citizens etc.
The last day on which funding can be claimed is the day prior to their 6th birthday (as the law requires them to attend school from the 6th birthday).
What if I apply for a homeschooling exemption for my child?
The answer is yes!
Because....the law only requires children to attend school from their 6th birthday. Therefore before that birthday there is nothing to be exempt from. So, even if you apply for the exemption while they are 5 and it is granted, it does not legally start until their 6th birthday. Therefore they remain eligible for the ECE funding, if you wish, up until their 6th birthday.
What if I enrol my 5yo in school and then change my mind?
If this is your situation, you need to make sure that the school removes your child from the roll! That is not only so you can get the funding if you wish, but also because if they do not, under recent law changes, your child will be truant and there can be consequences.
Remember: school and Ministry staff sometimes are confused about these things. If you are told that you a) can't remove your 5yo child from school, or b) that you cannot get ECE funding for a non-enrolled child who has briefly been at school, or who has an exemption, then try politely explaining the facts to them, and if that does not work, you may Contact Me for support.
Te Kura early childhood program
Assuming your child meets the criteria, they may use the Te Kura program as part of their ECE funded early childhood learning. A child can be dual-enrolled in Te Kura ECE program and a qualifying ECE centre, with the latter being for no more than 8 hours a week.