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Your Direct Costs
At parent-involved services, the average hourly attendance charge is around $1- $2 or $5 -$6 for a 3 hour session. Some services ask for a donation instead of a fixed charge.
At staffed services, the average hourly charge for centre and home-based care is around $4.50 to $6.50 an hour per preschool aged child. Charges for under-two-year-olds are usually at the higher end because services are required to have at least 1 adult to every 4 children under 2 years as compared to a minimum of 1 adult to 10 children over 2 years in full-day services (though services do receive a higher funding rate from government which is expected to cover the additional staffing cost for under 2s). If you are paying more than $8.00 an hour you are probably being charged too much, unless the service is providing much more than other early childhood services.
Whether at a parent-involved service or a staffed service, government policy is that you should not/can not be charged fees for any attendance up to 6 hours a day with a maximum of the first 20 hours, if your child is 3 years or older and the service claims 20 Hour ECE funding from the Ministry of Education. You can refuse to pay any additional charge.
Many services say that the extra funding they receive for children under the 20 hour top-up means they would be losing out financially if they made it free for families, and so will ask you to volunteer to pay a fee or may require your child to be enrolled for longer hours so that a higher fee can be charged for the hours outside of the first 6 hours in a day or first 20 hours in the week.
If your service provides more than is required by regulation it may ask parents whose children are on the 20 hour ECE funding rate to pay a fee to cover the difference between the 20 hour funding rate and what the usual fee charge is. The service must be able to tell you what they are providing that is more than required by the early childhood regulations and criteria and other legislation, and the additional charge should reflect only the cost of this. This is called an 'optional charge' and you don't have to pay it, though once you've agreed to pay it by signing a statement to the effect on the enrolment form or whatever, then you must and the service can chase you for any debt.
Check the fees policy of your childcare provider if you will be required to pay fees for hours you can't use or don't need including statutory holidays and when you go away on holiday. Also check whether you will still be charged fees for the period of time that the service may close at any time to contain the spread of an infectious disease (e.g. measles or swine flu).
You may be invoiced for things like a parent levy in lieu of fundraising and compulsory memberships to associations your service requires families to belong to.
On top of your fee you may be charged for things like tissue boxes, new building levy, outings and excursions, lunches and snacks, nappy washing etc. Ask about extra charges before you enrol so that there is no nasty surprise when you receive your first bill.
Some services charge an enrolment fee which may not be refundable if you change your mind. Usually this fee is kept by the service as an administration fee and is not deducted from your first childcare fee payment.
Your Indirect Costs
Apart from fees, you will have the cost of travel to and from the service and possibly parking.
Other costs may include buying a lunch-box and drink bottle and school bag, clothing and sunhats as might be stipulated by the service.
Providing extra bits of money for whatever might be organised by the service and for which you can't really say no to e.g. gold coin charges for dress-up days, raffle tickets, paying a charge for visiting artists or shows the children may be taken to.
Voluntary costs of time for things you might help with such as mowing the lawn, taking the aprons home to wash, participating in and organising fund-raisers, participating in parent committees or giving time in consultation meetings or filling out questionnaires.
Finding and paying for alternative childcare when your child is sick or the cost of taking time off work to stay home with your child. Or, finding and paying for alternative childcare for two or more weeks at short notice if your early childhood service is closed down by health authorities if for example there is a case of measles.
Government Introduction of Quality Standards through Charters: Reactions and Impact (1 match)
Fundraising and Promotion: A Guide for all Early Childhood Services (2 matches)
Wagga, Australia - Report on What's Happening to Costs, Fees and Staffing after Introduction of National Quality Famework (2 matches)
Funding Cutbacks in Teacher-Led Services with 80% or more Qualified Staff: Perspectives and Consequences (2 matches)
What is a 'Registered Teacher' ? Why Should a Teacher be Registered? (1 match)