The new enrolment options for Auckland kindergartens has been met with support from west Auckland families.
Auckland Kindergarten Association (AKA) announced changes to its model earlier this year, which included longer opening hours for its 107 centres.
Centres would now remain open during the school holidays, except for the Christmas break.
On August 16, AKA announced new enrolment options following the review of the proposed changes.
There were four enrolment options for families to choose from. Two of the options had a a six-hour a day or seven-hour day, and an opt-out option for school holidays. This means families don’t pay for non-attendance during the school holidays.
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Parents could also choose a six or seven-hour day with compulsory fees during the holidays, even if children were not attending.
All four options included a $5 per hour fee for hours above the Government-funded 20 hours, and a $5 late pick-up fee.
AKA chief executive Tanya Harvey said in an open letter a “good deal of discussion” with parents had occurred about the proposed costs.
She said the finalised four-option enrolment structure offered flexibility and a choice for families to choose an option best suited to their needs.
Half-day options of 3.5 hours in the mornings or afternoons would also be available, but only where there was demand.
Amanda Lowe’s son attended Te Atatu Peninsula Kindergarten. She was against the new model when it was first announced, but now said the new enrolment options were a “great step forward”.
She was going to choose the six-hour a day option for her son Alex, and skip the school holidays.
Self-employed mum Catherine Tanner, with twin daughters at Laingholm Kindergarten, welcomed the move. She said it was a “much cheaper option” for working parents.
She was going to choose the 7-hour a day option, with holidays included, for her twins.
“It’ll be a real life saver and make it so much easier on working parents,” Tanner said.
She said the new model was still “cheaper than daycare”, and less difficult than finding alternative childcare during the school holidays with different caregivers.