Access to early childhood education

The data in this indicator is no longer being updated.

Stats NZ is developing well-being indicators, Indicators Aotearoa New Zealand - Ngā Tūtohu Aotearoa, to track New Zealand’s progress. As the well-being indicators have similar aims to the NZ Progress Indicators and NZ Social Indicators, we are reviewing the future of these existing indicators.

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Positive change

Since 2000, the gap in participation rates across different ethnic groups has narrowed, and participation rates for all groups have increased

  • Image, access to early childhood education
    • Participation rates in early childhood education increased for all ethnic groups between 2000 and 2015.
    • Participation rates for New Zealand European children are the highest. From 2000 to 2004, rates for both Māori and Pacific ethnic groups increased faster than the rate for New Zealand European students, lessening the difference between the groups.
    • From 2000 to 2015, the Pacific and ‘other’ ethnic groups’ participation rate increased the fastest.  


     Note: This graph is interactive. Hover over the data points to see the exact values. Click legend text to hide or show variables.

    View source data

    The source data for this indicator is available from Participation in early childhood education on the Ministry of Education website.

    Definition and measure

    Participation in early childhood education is used as a proxy indicator for equal access to education. Time spent in early childhood education enhances future learning and can help narrow the achievement gap between children from low income families and those from more advantaged families. As early childhood education is not compulsory in New Zealand, different rates of participation among ethnic groups can indicate differing access to education.

    This indicator shows the proportion of children, by ethnic group, who have regularly attended early childhood education in the six months before starting school. Early childhood education includes all forms of organised and sustained centre and home-based programmes designed to foster learning, and emotional and social development in children. This data relates to all New Zealand citizens or residents who started schooling during the 12 months before the end of June each year.

    Previous publications

    Key findings on New Zealand's progress using a sustainable development approach: 2010
    Measuring New Zealand's progress using a sustainable development approach: 2008
    Key findings on New Zealand's progress using a sustainable development approach: 2008

    Page updated March 2016

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