Pre-school roll numbers indicate that the proportion of European children who attend pre-school in New Zealand is greater than the proportion of ethnic minority group children. This thesis presents an exploratory study of some of the patterns of participation that exist within one Kindergarten. These patterns are compared with a non-participant sample which consisted of mothers from different ethnic backgrounds. In order to provide a viable framework for comparison, the study is carried out within the general context of exchange theory. A research review of participation in education is presented at the beginning of the study. This is done in order to establish a rationale for some issues raised later in the study with regard to ethnic minority groups. As well, the research literature provides a base for examination of the research problem in the social exchange area. Some theoretical implications of social exchange are then examined under three sections, the mechanics, commodities and dynamics of exchange. The empirical model is then presented with implications from the theory translated to the case of the Kindergarten and Playcentre. Hypotheses are stated together with a definition of the research problem in the research design chapter. As well, the methodology including sample, interview techniques and data analysis are presented. Results obtained from the interviews are then presented under three headings of access to information, anticipated rewards and expectation-meeting. A discussion which co-ordinates questions central to the research problem, and results and theoretical implications follows the presentation of results. Finally, the conclusion highlights some implications from the results. These are discussed with direct relationship to Kindergartens and Playcentres.