Kindergarten Fees Structure

Thank you for enquiring about or enrolling your child at a South Canterbury Free Kindergarten.  The word ‘Free’ in the name of the Association and kindergarten names does not mean there is no cost to families for attending kindergarten. The word ‘Free’ has been used in the names of kindergarten associations and kindergartens in the “Free Kindergarten movement” since it began in 1889 and means ‘free from discrimination’. Therefore, South Canterbury Kindergartens are open to children irrespective of family status, ethnic or national origins, colour, race, gender, disability, religious and ethical beliefs. The Government covers fees for 3 and 4 year olds up to 20 hours per week and subsidises fees for younger children. Where fees are required, we are committed to keeping fees at our kindergartens affordable.

Family Whānau Donations

The Ministry of Education funding does not cover all kindergarten costs. To assist with expenses that will enhance your child’s kindergarten experience, we ask families who do not pay fees to donate $5.00 per week, or $1.00 a day, to a maximum of $50.00 per term. Donations received are shared across each kindergarten to ensure all children benefit including your child.

Payment of Donations

We would appreciate it if Family Whānau donations are paid at the start of each term. You can claim this donation for tax purposes.

Fees for 3 and 4 Year olds

There is no fee charged for 3 and 4 year old children where you attest all of their 20 Hours ECE to the kindergarten. In some cases, this means your child could receive up to 30 hours ECE with no additional fee charged depending on their hours of attendance. If you do not attest all 20 Hours ECE to the kindergarten because your child is also attending another ECE service then the fee of $5.00 per hour (incl GST) for those hours not attested will be charged.

Fees for 5 Year olds

Five year olds, who have been using their 20 Hours ECE entitlement at kindergarten prior to turning five, will continue to receive free attendance at kindergarten up until the age of six.

Children under 3 years old

The fee for children under 3 years old is $5.00 per hour (incl GST).

Getting help with your fees

You may be able to get a WINZ childcare subsidy to help with payment of your fees depending on your total family income. To find out if your family qualifies:

Please note: The WINZ childcare subsidy is only part payment for fees and therefore parents must pay the balance owing. Full fees will be charged until the kindergarten receives the WINZ subsidy because it is not backdated.

Fee Terms and Conditions

To claim your 20 hours ECE you need to sign the declaration on the Kindergarten Enrolment Form. This is a legal agreement that confirms to the Ministry of Education how you are going to use your 20 Hours ECE. Whenever you change the way you use your free hours, you need to update the Attestation Form at your child’s kindergarten. Please note: You will be given one (1) months’ notice of fee changes.

Enrolment Agreement

Once your child is enrolled and a start date confirmed, all booked hours will be charged, as appropriate. Please note: until your child attends kindergarten, we cannot claim Ministry of Education funding. Therefore you will be charged full fees until attendance begins in order to hold the place at kindergarten.

Payment of Fees

When you are given notice of a space to start at kindergarten you are required to pay your first week’s fees in advance to secure the booking. All fees are to be paid regularly on a fortnightly or monthly basis, unless you have made prior arrangements with the Head Teacher of the kindergarten your child attends. Once you have agreed on hours/days of enrolment these are the minimum number of hours that you will be charged each week. A payment schedule will be agreed and monitored. Invoices are issued fortnightly. Fees can be paid in cash, by cheque, and automatic payment or direct credited (you can collect a form from the Head Teacher). For security reasons, we strongly recommend you pay fees by internet banking, automatic payment or direct credit. The SCFKA Bank Account No. is: 03-0887-0334051-000 Please include child’s name, kindergarten name and whether a fee of donation is being paid.


If your fees payment becomes one month in arrears you will be given 7 days to pay. Failure to pay fees may result in your child’s enrolment being cancelled.

Non Payment of Fees

Invoices show unpaid fees. Unpaid accounts will be referred to the General Manager and where non-payment of fees continues, this will be referred to the Finance Sub-Committee of the Governing Board who will decide if recovery of the fees will be referred to debt collection.


Fees are charged when your child is sick or absent. The Association may consider some absence circumstances, such as long-term illness, on a case-by-case basis.

Retaining Fee

If you know your child will be absent, for example, on holiday, you must inform us at least 7 days before you are absent, a holding or retaining fee is charged at 50% of the fee payable per hour. If you do not give us 7 days’ notice the full rate will be charged.

Changing booked hours

Two weeks written notice is required to change your enrolment agreement. Your request for increased hours will be accommodated as space allows and if all fees owed are paid in full. Every time you change your child’s hours, you must notify WINZ if you receive a childcare subsidy.

Leaving Kindergarten

We require two weeks’ notice if your child will be leaving kindergarten. You may be charged for these weeks if we do not receive this notice. If you have any questions regarding your account or the fees charged, please talk with your Head Teacher or contact  South Canterbury Kindergartens’ Association office T: 03 688 3098