NZK Applauds Recommendations to Raise Quality in Early Childhood
“New Zealand Kindergartens welcomes recommendations announced by the Minister of Education to lift the quality of early childhood education services for all children and families,” said Clare Wells, Chief Executive of New Zealand Kindergartens. “The scope and range of recommendations reflects a commitment to ensuring quality for all children, of all ages, in all service types.”
The intention to require all early childhood teacher-led centres to employ at least 80% qualified teachers, and establishing maximum group sizes for very young children and those over two years olds is good news.
“It will be important the Minister ensures the recommendations are implemented as soon as possible over the coming months, and we look forward to contributing to the discussions around how that can happen,” said Wells.
New Zealand Kindergartens employs 100% qualified, registered teachers and maintains appropriate group sizes and adult:child ratios. Kindergarten teachers are supported with professional development and the infrastructure to effectively plan, assess and evaluate learning and teaching. Teachers support children exploring their interests, at their own pace, to develop the skills, knowledge and dispositions to be confident and competent learners in their world.
New Zealand Kindergartens (NZK) Incorporated, Te Putahi Kura Puhou o Aotearoa, is the umbrella organisation representing twenty-nine regional kindergarten associations covering over 435 kindergartens and early childhood education (ECE) services. Nationally kindergartens provide services for 37,000 enrolled children as well as support for their families and whānau. Over one-third of all four year olds enrolled in ECE in New Zealand attend a kindergarten. Almost two-thirds of kindergartens are in low and middle income areas.
Children who attend high-quality early childhood education are better prepared for school, are more likely to stay in school longer and to succeed in school. New Zealand research has found effects of quality ECE remain evident at age 16 years.
“We found that high-quality centres had a positive, long-lasting association with student’s literacy, numeracy and logical problem solving competencies, and also with their social skills.”
 Education Counts, Ministry of Education, Annual ECE Summary Report 2011.
 Ministry of Education, Education Counts, 2010.
 Wylie, C., Hodgen, E., Hipkins, R., and Vaughan, K. (2008) Competent learners on the edge of adulthood. A summary of key findings from the competent learners @ 16 project. New Zealand Council for Educational Research. Ministry of Education. Wellington. October.