Check out our checklist of the key points in Before School and After School care in New Zealand you’ll need to consider. We list the important issues, the things to watch out for, as well as links to some great providers.

You can browse our list of After School care providers here. You should also browse our extra-curricula activity providers.

First, you should consider your ‘Out of School’ needs

  • Before School care only?
    • Can you drop off?
    • When do you need to drop off?
    • Do you need breakfast provided?
  • After School care only?
    • Can you pick up?
    • When can you pick up?
    • Do you need afternoon tea provided?
    • Extra-curricular activities to co-ordinate? Sports; Music; Dance; Clubs, etc.
  • School Holidays care also?
    • Every school holiday period?
    • The entire school holidays or part thereof?

Then make a list of your Out of School Caregiver options

  • Another stay at home parent
  • At your home professionals – Nannies or Au Pairs
  • A family member (grandparent? relative? sibling aged 14+ years?)
  • A neighbour
  • Away from home professionals
  • Some combination of the above

Consider the strengths and weaknesses of each caregiver option

  • Safety? — will your child always be safe? safety record?
  • Reliability? — guaranteed? every day that you require their service?
  • Quality of care? — how good exactly? testimonials?
  • Educational value? — help with homework? developmental activities?
  • Fun factor? — varied games and activities? interesting?
  • Social value? — desire to interact with other kids?
  • Child friendly? — is each individual caregiver friendly?
  • Flexibility? — prepared to adapt to your changing needs?
  • Transport to & from school? — and extracurricular transport?
  • Cost? — what is your budget? eligible for government subsidy?
  • Another important factor?
    • Your child special needs? – diet? allergies? behavioural issues?
    • his or her preference?
    • opportunity to develop friendships?
    • ability to adapt to and bond with caregiver(s)?

If choosing a professional programme provider

The household income requirements, and associated need for full time employment or study, of parents has resulted in the huge growth in businesses, councils and community groups providing professional “Out of School” Care and Recreation (OSCAR) programs.

These include Before School programmes, After School programmes, as well as School Holiday Programmes in supervised places where children may learn and play.


Many of these Out of School service providers have become OSCAR approved, which provides the benefits of (i) approved by Child, Youth and Family (CYF) to have met certain quality and safety standards; and (ii) potential eligibility for Work and Income (WINZ) subsidy, depending upon household income and number of dependent children.

Ministry for Vulnerable Children approved?

Ministry for Vulnerable Children approval for OSCAR Services is an assessment process carried out by the Ministry. It ensures that OSCAR programmes are properly run and take place in a safe environment.

The selected OSCAR programme must be Ministry Approved for OSCAR if parents want to apply for the government OSCAR Subsidy from Work and Income.

Work and Income OSCAR Subsidy

The OSCAR Subsidy helps towards the costs of Before and After school care of up to 20 hours a week, and School Holiday Programmes of up to 50 hours per week, for school-age children (5-13) years. For the details on eligibility, search the Work and Income page our check out our OSCAR article.

Face-to-face questions to ask professional providers

  • OSCAR Approved?
  • CYF Approval for OSCAR Services?
  • Written Policies & Procedures?
  • Comprehensive Enrolment form?
  • Safety records?
  • First aid kit?
  • Emergency (eg. injury) procedures?
  • Food catering abilities?
  • Transport service?
  • Collective experience of staff?
  • Staff to child ratio?
  • Discipline philosophy?
  • Staff turnover?
  • Well maintained facilities?
  • Indoor and outdoor spaces?
  • Variety of play equipment?
  • Well resourced for games & activities?
  • Structure vs Individual freedom to choose activities?
  • Range of programmes? — Before school? After school? Holiday?
  • Overall atmosphere? Happy? Friendly? Cheerful?

For an overview of OSCAR (Out of School Care and Recreation) programmes, click through to our OSCAR article.

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This information was compiled by the Kiwi Families team.

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