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What are the Different Types of Early Childhood Centres?

There are many early childhood education options available so choosing the right type of early childhood centre that is the best fit for you and your child is important.

Providing Quality Childcare Since 2012   Infants, Toddlers & Preschool  •  Daycare Centre

What is Meant by Early Childhood?

Early learning starts from birth and consists of everything a child learns through various actions and activities such as talking to your child, going to the park, singing together or spending time in fun activities like cooking. 

Activities like these enable children to learn strategies that will determine how they will relate to learning throughout their lives, and allow them to see themselves as skilled learners and communicators. 

Early learning has a significant impact on children’s growth. An appropriate type of early education in an early childhood centre that suits their needs becomes essential in providing children with the opportunity to develop their full intellectual, emotional and physical potential.

What are the main benefits of early childhood education?


Early childhood education (ECE) enables children to:

  • play and explore;
  • make friends;
  • learn to share, negotiate and wait for taking turns;
  • be (more) creative;
  • think and reason;
  • acknowledge their feelings and the feelings of those around them;
  • develop reading and language skills;
  • gain the skills they need for attending school;
  • listen to others;
  • formulate and communicate their ideas;
  • learn how to relate to those outside their immediate family circle.

An early childhood centre is focused on providing children with the skills and tools that will enable them to develop into positive and confident individuals who like to learn, socialise with other children and adults, explore, nurture a curious mind and understand themselves and the world around them.

The main types of early childhood centres are teacher-led and parent-led. As their names suggest, each type of centre indicates the person deciding what the children will learn during their activities at these centres. 

Teacher-led early childhood centres

This type of early learning education is led by fully qualified teachers.

The teacher-led centres:

  • can be dedicated solely to children younger than two years;
  • provide flexible or all-day programmes;
  • teach in certain languages and cultural backgrounds;
  • use different education approaches such as Reggio Emilia, Montessori or Rudolf Steiner;
  • teach children from birth to specific age or until they enrol on school.

New Zealand’s regulations stipulate that depending on the number of those attending an early education centre, at least one teacher must be registered, ECE-qualified and have a valid and current certificate for practising.



Kindergartens offer a wide range of ECE services. They:

  • can provide different start and finish hours;
  • teach children ages between two and five years. Some of them also receive children younger than two years;
  • provide holiday programmes for summer vacation;
  • offer bilingual teaching services for promoting culture and language such as Māori and Pasifika;
  • involve parents and whānau in their sessions, to work with teachers in planning and managing the kindergartens.


Home-based early childhood education

This type of early education can be provided in the educators’ or the children’s homes. The educators must be part of a licensed home-based care network and guided by a coordinator registered as an Early Childhood Education Teacher with a current practising certificate. 

The coordinator periodically checks the children’s learning progress and wellbeing and can support parents in choosing the suited educator for their children’s education.

The educators teach up to 4 children providing:

  • part day of full-day education and care;
  • resources to facilitate the learning process;
  • regular outdoor walks and activities;
  • access to mobile toys and books libraries.

Parent-led early childhood centres

The main types of parent-led ECE are organised in the form of playgroupsplay centresNgā Puna kōhungahunga and Te Kōhanga Reo

Playgroups are early education groups organised inside communities and run by parents and whānau volunteers. Pasifika playgroups focus on teaching and preserving Pasifika languages and cultures such as Samoan, Fijian, Cook Island, Tongan, Tuvaluan, Tokelauan and Niuean


Playcentres are early education groups organised inside communities and run by parents and other family members.

Ngā Puna kōhungahunga

These sessions include in their structure elements of the Māori language and Tikanga.

Te Kōhanga Reo 

These centres provide tamariki and their whānau a Māori cultural environment and care for children from birth until they enrol on school.

Other Early Childhood Education services:

Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu (or The Correspondence School) 

It addresses children ages three and five. Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu provides learning programmes to children who; 

  • cannot attend another type of education due to health problems
  • live too far away to benefit from alternative forms of early education services
  • change their home once a term, at least. 
Hospital-based services 

Hospitals or hospital play specialists can provide you and your child access to a playroom inside the hospital. These services do not require enrollment and are free of any cost.

Questions to ask Early Childhood Centres

Selecting the right Early Childhood Centre for your child is very important. As they will spend a lot of their time in these learning spaces, feeling comfortable here is paramount.

Before choosing the education centre, we recommend visiting its location so you can see the learning environment and resources the centre provides.

You can also prepare a list of questions to ask the centre’s staff. This list can include questions such as:

  • What is the enrollment age?
  • How many children have every teacher in their direct care and monitoring?
  • Are you allowed to ease the transition of your child to the centre’s routine by bringing comfort toys or objects, at least in the first days after joining the centre?
  • What time do the children eat and sleep?
  • Do children have easy access to water?
  • How is the centre supporting your toilet training efforts?
  • What actions or techniques will the educators use to address your child’s non-positive feelings or behaviours? (such as sadness, fury, self-separation from the rest of the group, etc.)
  • What will your child study, and how will you be informed about their learning progress?
  • How much will the whānau be involved in the centre’s activities or sessions?

Bright Beginnings Early Learning Centres provide your children with the best start on their preschool learning journey. The stimulating learning environment is a key feature of all our early education centresand our educators and teachers are guided in their activities by the core values and principles of the Reggio Emilia educational approach.

Book a tour to meet our team and see the environment your child can learn in!

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Our Early Learning Centres

Our early childhood centre environments strongly reflects our inspiration – The Reggio Emilia philosophy, from Reggio Emilia, Italy.

We provide a creative and open ended environment that encourages infinite learning for the children and strong relationships between teachers, children and families.

The day’s routines are flexible. At the same time, care is taken to recognise and respect each child’s needs.

Playground at Bright Beginnings Early Learning Centre childcare in Howick, Auckland
Child playing in BBELC - Bright Beginnings Early Learning Centre Childcare (1)

Why Choose a Bright Beginnings Early Learning Centre?

Here's what our parents say about our childcare centres

Come and visit one of our childcare centres and see for yourself why your child will love it

Talk to the Centre Manager, meet the team, see the natural outdoor play areas and educational rooms, learn about how we develop our programs and find out more about our unique approach to partnering with our families.

Our latest parent reviews from Google

Tanya Vester
Tanya Vester
Our sons attended Bright beginnings early leaning Centre and absolutely loved it. They attended Manuka and Kowhai rooms, and later also Pohutukawa room. The teachers in all three rooms were just SO lovely, caring, attentive and supported their learning journeys and communicated the children’s achievements with us. We are so thankful for the time our kids were able to spend there, and the kids made great memories for life. We highly recommend BBELC to anyone looking for a child care center. We had to leave due to moving overseas and will miss BBELC so much!!!
Sukhpreet Singh Mediratta
Sukhpreet Singh Mediratta
"I don't think I can express in words the gratitude I feel towards you all. My child, Amrin have learnt so much in your care that will stay with her for life. I believe their fondest memories of childhood will include many of you - I truly hope you are all extremely proud your efforts with our children. Thank you for all the wonderful support and care you have given to my daughter. This Centre is a very special place and she has grown so much in your nurturing, inspiring and challenging environment. You are really helping her to prepare for her school foundation." Actually, this is a second home for Amrin, she started her journey from BBELC, Auckland and will leave for school from here. Thanks to all the teachers, If I start typing the names, the list will be so long. In last especially I should not forget Nikita, who is so understanding and caring towards kids as well as families. Thank you with much love."
Anaru Pui
Anaru Pui
We've had our daughter Waikohu pui in the center for over 1 year now And she has Developed into such a beautiful kind person and has gained some great life skills and experiences thank you to all the teachers for there support and care with our baby girl making life alot easier knowing shes getting great education and Aroha (Love) from all the teachers at her Kura ( school ) thanks again ❤️ from the Pui whanau
Jagroop Kaur
Jagroop Kaur
Teachers are very kind and patient. Also they encourage children to learn in different indoor and outdoor activities. I am so pleased in POHUTUKAWA room the teacher do the school transition program, which is really helpful to the kids enter the primary school in the future. Thanks all teacher who support VIRASAT and other kids there quite well.
anne dela cruz
anne dela cruz
We have been with BBELC Hamilton since 2020 during the peak of pandemic and I never doubted to bring my children here knowing that they are on a safe place and the team are all aware of the best health and safety plan to ensure that everyone in the centre are safe. The centre is the BEST for me in terms of CLEANLINESS (the place os very tidy), SAFETY OF CHILDREN (only parents/caregivers can enter the premises on their pin coded door), FRIENDLY STAFF (you will be greeted by a very friendly receptionist, you can talk to the teachers about your concern with your child), OPEN DOOR POLICY (Manager’s door is open all times for parents for any concern or question), NUTRICIOUS FOOD for our kids, SCHOOL READINESS PROGRAM (table activities, book reading, sharing with others, simple literacy), MAT TIME IS THE BEST as the kids learn to socialize, listen to teachers, story telling, yoga, dance time, music time,etc. and they also held PARENTS TIME where we can chat with the teacher about our kids, meet other parents, share experiences and strategies, parents gets treat and gift on special occasion like mother’s day and father’s day that will definitely make your day as a parent. And lastly for few years now, my kids have enjoyed their Christmas party where they get gift and enjoy bouncy castle, it’s simple but the experience and memories will be lifetime. THANKS TO ALL THE STAFF AND TEACHERS OF BBELC Hamilton! KUDOS TO ALL YOUR HARDWORK AND DEDICATION. CHEERS TO MANY MORE YEARS OF SUCCESS! - DELA CRUZ Family ( Robb and Reuben)
I love BBELC and my child love it too. As parents ,my husband and I deeply appreciate the staff being friendly ,kind ,patient ,role models and caring .The educators work well with parents to achieve the children’s developmental goals , the manager Leonie and Teachers Mari, Kathryn, Summer and Emma really care about the children and very welcoming. The childcare is secure and this gives us peace of mind in knowing that our little ones are in good hands and safe . The classrooms are clean and nicely decorated. I highly recommend sending your child to this center. It’s become our second home.
BBELC is an awesome environment for my daughter to learn and grow through different types of activities. All the staffs are friendly, supportive and helpful. Highly recommended to all.
Neda Bolouri
Neda Bolouri
A safe, happy and caring place for our children.
Norvega Bantang
Norvega Bantang
Bright Beginnings Early Learning Centre - Hamilton is like a second home to my 2 little girls. They are very supportive of the children’s early learning and individual development. The rooms are spacious, warm and cozy and provide different kinds of resources for the children to explore. My girls are always excited to go to kindy every morning. Since I have also recently become part of this centre, it’s good to know and see for myself how things work in the centre and how very passionate the staff are in looking after every child like they are family. As a parent, it gives me the peace of mind that my children are in good hands and are well taken cared of. Definitely made the right decision to enroll our children here.
Diana Villa-Ignacio
Diana Villa-Ignacio
BBELC is a wonderful centre which caters to quality care and learning of children. We take pride in our relationship with parents , whanau and children having positive environment, open communication, flexibility, catering to children needs and working alongside parent's aspiration for their children. Feel free to come and see our Hamilton centre. We will be happy to show you around and be part of our Bright Beginnings Family.

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