Endorsed and designed by the Ministry of Education, the Happy Tots home-based early childhood education programme is for children aged newborn to five years old, and it is free education to all parents who enrol their child/children with Happy Tots.

Who can join the Happy Tots program?

Children 0-5 years, not doing full-time childcare.

Available to all parents or guardians who have an educator looking after their preschool children including grandparents, relatives, friends, nanny or AU pair, whanau caregivers and foster caregivers.

The educator need to be able to work legally in NZ and have a clear police report, which can be done by Happy Tots.

If the educator is a family member, the educator cannot live with the child unless the educator is looking after another child who is not a family member. If the educator is not a family member, the educator can live with the child or the educator can live in his/her home.

The home that the care is taken place can be at either educator's home or child's home, the home need to have a fenced front yard or back yard to provide safe outside play for the child.

As the authorising body behind the Happy Tots home based childcare education programme, The Ministry of Education offers childcare assistance through a child care subsidy when you enrol and attend the Happy Tots education program.

Child care subsidy rates are based on the age of the child; the number of hours each child is enrolled per week or month. The child care subsidy is not income tested.

Happy Tots - Child care subsidy rates

Children under 2 years old receive a child care subsidy of $2 per hour and up to 30 hours per week

Children over 2 years old receive a child care subsidy of $1 per hour and up to 30 hours per week

Children over 3 years old using 20 hour ECE receive a child care subsidy of $4.2 per hour and up to 20 hours per week.