child-at-playMission Statement

The symbol of Early Education Federation is a woven mat. This represents the weaving together of diverse groups with their own unique philosophy and structure – united by similar aims – promoting quality early childhood education and supporting families in Aotearoa/New Zealand.


We are a unified advocate for children’s rights to quality early childhood education.


Early Education Federation will be:

  • The unified and authoritive advocate on ECE issues
  • Pro-active in influencing strategic directions and positive public perceptions on ECE.
  • A forum for active debate and engagement between key organisations in the ECE sector.


The objectives of the Early Education Federation are:

  • To promote early childhood education that is provided and delivered according to the obligation of the Treaty of Waitangi;
  • To promote equitable access for all families in Aotearoa/new Zealand to early childhood services suitable for, and appropriate to, their needs;
  • To promote the interest of Early Childhood Education;
  • To set priorities from agreed objectives and undertake appropriate action;
  • To encourage the provision of a variety of Early Childhood Services;
  • To disseminate information through meetings, seminars, conferences and publishing and circulating any reports, periodicals, books, pamphlets or other material which is considered by the Early Education Federation to promote its objects;
  • To act as a medium for co-ordinated approaches to the Government and any other appropriate commission, committee or authority on matters pertaining to the objectives of the Early Education Federation;
  • To foster and support the continuing advancement of all the Early Education Federation members and to provide a vehicle for any desired co-ordination of activities between members;
  • To undertake any topic of research considered by the Early Education Federation to be in support of its objects;
  • To liaise with and/or affiliate to other organisations with similar interests;
  • To do all such other things as may be considered necessary for the attainment of the objectives of the Early Education Federation.


During the 1970’s early childhood organisations recognised the value of establishing an organisation that could promote closer ties, identify common issues and assist organisations to work together to achieve shared goals for the early childhood sector as a whole. Representatives from a small group of early childhood organizations had met from time to time over the years but it wasn’t until 1986 when six national organisations met at a Lopdell House course in Auckland, that firm plans were made to establish a Federation.

This group was made up of representatives from the NZ Childcare Association, the NZ Early Childhood Workers’ Union, the NZ Free Kindergarten Teachers’ Association, the NZ Free Kindergarten Union, the NZ Playcentre Association and the Te Kohanga Reo Trust. They identified the initial aims of the Federation as promoting, enhancing and developing early childhood education through discussion, public awareness, political lobbying and mutual support. A detailed proposal was developed, setting out options for the Federation’s structure and its operation. The proposal was agreed to by each of the individual organisations, and a Constitution was drawn up. Although the group continued to meet regularly, the first Annual General Meeting was not held until 1991. At this meeting, a commitment was made to widen the membership and invitations were sent out to all the major national organisations with an interest in early childhood education. By 1994 membership had grown to 13.

In 2005 the Federation drew up a long term Strategic Plan and later that year as part of a goal to become more influential, renamed itself as the Early Education Federation.

The Federation continues to work toward meeting its strategic plan goals by making submissions to government on issues of common concern, leading campaigns, taking delegations of sector representative to members of parliament and by meeting regularly with government ministers, and government department officials. Membership now stands at 16.

Strategic Plan

To provide a platform to debate issues of current interest and importance to the early childhood education sector.