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2:8 model for home-based ECE and care

Phase 1

Phase 2

Phase 3

Phase 4



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Ministerial response

This project is currently in the Discussion phase. Read more about the process. Please have a look at the project — we would love to have your thoughts and comments.

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What's the project?

Want to teach in a home-based setting but can’t provide the home? We have a solution for this. In the 2 teacher, 8 child model (the ‘2:8 model’) half the workforce doesn’t need to own the home, so this option could be open to you, if we can get he government to accept it. Home-based ECE and care has many good things going for it, including a home environment, a family-like setting, small group size, usually more space per child indoors and outdoors than centre-based care (although not by virtue of legislation), and better ratios. Why restrict this to 1:4? By international comparison, New Zealand’s home-based regulations are remarkably restrictive. We are proposing 2:8 as an additional model, adding to, rather than replacing, 1:4. The 2:8 model has all the good features of home-based care, including a maximum group size of eight, a 1:4 ratio, and tuakana-teina relationships, but with the major advantage of a two adult team and at least one ECE qualified teacher.

Quick summary

The 1:4 model has the disadvantage of only one adult on site, presenting difficulties if one child needs extra attention, and providing no breaks for the teacher. The two-adult team has obvious advantages in terms of breaks and flexibility of child teaching and management, with greater safety and parent confidence. Not requiring both adults to be ECE qualified provides for the employment of someone with other skills and qualifications, whether it is years of experience and rapport with children, child special-needs knowledge and skills, or language and cultural knowledge and relationships. A 2:8 home could work well with say, the language and cultural needs of a Pasifika or Chinese community, or provide an environment for a child with autism or mobility challenges.

New Zealand has many homes that could comfortably accommodate a 2:8 ratio, with 4m2 per child requiring 32m2 (e.g. two connected 4m x 4m rooms) plus a sleep room. This compares with a minimum of only 2.5m2 per child plus 10% for fittings (2.75m2 per child total) in centre-based care. At present half of a traditional quarter-acre section (500m2) could be licensed for 100 children in centre-based care, while in a home-based 2:8 model it would be for only eight children – with the ability to have real grass and room to run on it. Many homes don’t have this much outdoor space, but even a quarter of this (125m2) is more than three times better than the current regulation minimum if used for a 2:8 model home.

Suggested maximum numbers for very young children in a house are:

  • up to three children under two years

  • up to five children under three years.

The 1:4 model also has the financial constraint of having resources funded by subsidies and fees for only four children at most, which limits expenditure on equipment. At present home-based care is poorly funded, making it very difficult to earn a living wage, let alone a professional income. The 2:8 model can provide high quality care and ECE, and should be funded as such. The extra cost to a home of higher per-child ratios and overheads is offset by having funds go primarily to children and teachers, rather than new infrastructure.

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