Kindergartens slash fees in Canty, West Coast
Kidsfirst Kindergartens will provide one year's free early-childhood education (ECE) to Canterbury and West Coast children.
The two regions have been hit by tragedy, with earthquakes in Christchurch and the Pike River coalmine disaster on the Coast.
Kidsfirst chief executive Sherryll Wilson said the organisation had decided to use reserve funding to slash fees for most parents, above the Government's 20 ECE hours subsidy.
The not-for-profit company keeps reserve funding for emergencies or to finance special projects.
It was decided to spend this reserve on funding childcare for communites that had experienced hardship in the past two years.
All children enrolled in a Kidsfirst kindergarten qualify, but parents must spend the 20 ECE hours funding with Kidsfirst.
If their child is not yet three, they must commit to spending the ECE funding with Kidsfirst when their child becomes eligible to receive it.
"No community in the areas we operate has come out of the past two years unscathed,'' Wilson said.
''We are in a position where we can provide fees relief across our network, and hopefully ease things for people, at least for a time.
"Kindergarten has played such an important role in providing stability, certainty and a sense of community for families and children over these very difficult times.''
The company runs 59 kindergartens in Canterbury and three on the West Coast.
One Christchurch facility was forced to close after the February 2011 earthquake, and three are operating from temporary premises.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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