Learning Support Before Your Child Goes To School

Learning Support Before Your Child Goes To School

If your child needs extra support for learning and development, there are early intervention supports available. These supports help tamariki (children) at home and in their early learning centres. They are available from birth through to starting school.


Who provides early intervention services?

Early intervention supports are provided by:

  • Ministry of Education Learning Support
  • contracted early intervention service providers (in some areas)

Support for tamariki who are blind or low vision is provided by the Blind and Low Vision Education Network NZ (BLENNZ).

The different types of specialists who may be part of an early intervention team include:

  • early intervention teachers
  • kaitakawaenga (Māori cultural advisors)
  • advisors on Deaf children
  • psychologists
  • speech language therapists
  • education support workers

How can I get early intervention support for my child?

To ask for support for your child, contact your local Ministry of Education office. Call free on 0800 622 222 and follow the voice prompts.

You can also contact other early intervention providers such as:

  • CCS Disability Action (Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin)
  • Ohomairangi Trust (Auckland)
  • McKenzie Centre (Hamilton)
  • Conductive Education (Hamilton and Christchurch)
  • Wellington Early Intervention Trust
  • Champion Centre (Christchurch)

Other people who can ask for support for your child, with your permission, include:

  • teachers
  • paediatricians (child health specialists)
  • GPs
  • audiologists
  • Plunket nurses

Your child does not need a diagnosis of any specific medical condition to access Ministry of Education early intervention supports.

What help can my child get from early intervention support?

Talking with an early intervention specialist

After a request is made for your child, someone from early intervention support will contact you. If your whānau (family) identify as Māori, this may be a kaitakawaenga.

The early intervention specialist will talk with you about how your child is managing in different situations. They will ask you about your concerns and priorities. With your permission, the specialist may also talk with your child's early learning centre, Kōhanga Reo, or healthcare provider. This allows the specialist to coordinate the support for your child.

Developing a plan

The early intervention specialist can develop a plan with you. The plan will outline the support your child will receive for their learning. The specialist will review this plan with you every few months to discuss progress and make changes as needed. 

How to find out more

To find out about more about early intervention supports, visit the Ministry of Education website.

You can also call them on 0800 622 222 (New Zealand only).

See more KidsHealth information about learning support

Find out what learning support is

See the KidsHealth page on learning support when your child is at school

See the KidsHealth page about learning support when your child has significant needs

See the KidsHealth page about learning support when your child has high health needs


The Paediatric Society of New Zealand acknowledge the cooperation of the Ministry of Education | Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga in making this content available to parents, caregivers and whānau.

This page last reviewed 05 December 2023.

Call Healthline on 0800 611 116 any time of the day or night for free health advice when you need it