Focus on ECE in 2015
2015 promises to be a pivotal year for early childhood education (ECE) as the government and sector focus attention on the funding system, curriculum and effective collaboration. While the government will maintain its Better Public Services goal of 98% participation in ECE by 2016, it will shift its focus to improving the quality of ECE services.
- The Ministry of Education will continue to develop a new ECE funding system which we expect will be out for consultation this year. The funding advisory group first met in 2012, tasked with exploring options for a new, simplified and equitable funding system.
- The government set up the Advisory Group on Early Learning in December last year. The group comprising academics and practitioners from the ECE and schooling sectors, will review the implementation of the early childhood education curriculum, Te Whāriki, and transitions from ECE to school. A report is expected this winter.
- The Ministry of Education will continue its work to improve home-based care services focusing on a range of issues including qualifications and training.
- An ECE post-graduate teacher education qualification for entry to the teaching profession will be trialled this year alongside trails for primary and secondary teacher education.
- Work to implement the Children’s Action Plan will continue with the introduction of requirements for vetting and screening, safety standards, and a competency framework for people working with children and new child protection policies.
- The government will award Teacher-led Innovation Fund grants in March this year as part of the Investing in Educational Success (IES) initiative. Early childhood education services are likely to feature in some of these projects, particularly those focused on transitions and cross-sector collaboration.
- Legislation will be passed to establish a new professional body for teachers, the Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand (EDUCANZ). EDUCANZ will replace the current New Zealand Teacher’s Council and will operate as an independent statutory authority.
- The Early Learning Information (ELI) system, adopted by most centre-based ECE services last year, will provide better information about ECE attendance.
New Zealand Kindergartens has a number of initiatives underway this year including:
- A national working group exploring issues around support for children in ECE with additional needs. The aim is to develop a comprehensive and cohesive policy framework for special education in ECE that will be promoted to government.
- A national working group exploring learning outcomes in kindergarten and a framework to support teachers to articulate the learning that happens each day for children in kindergarten. The working group aims to contribute to the sector discussion about learning outcomes in early childhood and to the work of the Advisory Group on Early Learning.
- New Zealand Kindergartens will continue to promote a culture of research in kindergarten and provide support to kindergarten researchers through its Ethics Committee review process.
- The 11th ECE Convention He Wai Whakariporipo - Making waves in early childhood – surviving the storm will take place in Rotorua in October this year. The convention is an international event and the largest ECE gathering in the country. It presents an opportunity for dialogue around the key issues facing ECE – teaching and learning, provision, the policy and politics of the sector.
For more information about NZK, visit www.nzkindergarten.org.nz. For further comment: Please contact NZK Chief Executive Clare Wells 0272 955 044