More needs to be done to support children and whānau
The 2015 State of the Nation report from the Salvation Army, A Mountain All Can Climb, shows that more needs to be done to support children and whānau so that all New Zealanders can achieve and reach their potential. Key findings from the report indicate encouraging improvements such as a reduction in the number of teenage pregnancy and people gambling, but little progress has been made for vulnerable children and families, particularly those living in poverty and experiencing violence.
“These statistics confirm what kindergarten teachers know about the communities they engage with and hear from parents and whānau,” said Clare Wells, Chief Executive, New Zealand Kindergartens.
“There is a significant number of families who face extremely complex challenges and require more support to meet essential needs and to engage in education, employment and community.” There were mixed results in the report for the education sector. It disappointing that 2014 early childhood education (ECE) enrolment data was not released by the Ministry of Education for inclusion in the report, however, we know that participation rates have been increasing, particularly among Māori and Pasifika children and whānau.
“We know that there are many families who are unable to engage in early learning for a variety of reasons including poverty, lack of affordable housing, violence at home, and lack of access to affordable, relevant early childhood services, “ said Clare Wells. “Services for children and whānau need the resources and flexibility to support families in a way which meets their individual needs and to coordinate and work effectively with other services in their community.”
New Zealand Kindergartens is currently engaged in a number of initiatives to increase participation. “If we can get it right for children in their early years, the other social issues represented in the State of the Nation report will benefit,” Clare Wells said.
For more information about NZK, visit www.nzkindergarten.org.nz.
For further comment:
Please contact NZK Chief Executive Clare Wells 0272 955 044