Prime Minister visits kindergarten
The Prime Minister has two separate visits to kindergarten on his schedule this week and next, illustrating the importance of early childhood education and children in the current government agenda.
Despite fog at Wellington Airport disrupting plans, the Prime Minister was scheduled to officially open Nelson’s new teen parent unit (TPU) at Auckland Point School today. The Auckland Point Kindergarten is the early childhood education service attached to the TPU. Wendy Logan, the former Chief Executive of the Nelson Tasman Kindergarten Association, and a long-time active member of Nelson Soroptimists, was instrumental in the establishment of the unit. Nelson Soroptimists provides funding support to the unit alongside the funding it receives from the Ministry of Education.
On Tuesday, the 25th of February, the Prime Minister will open a new building for Helen Deem Kindergarten and a new association office for the Dunedin Kindergarten Association. The celebration coincides with the 125th anniversary of kindergarten in New Zealand. The first kindergarten was opened in Dunedin in 1889 and has been providing high quality early childhood education to children and families ever since.
“Having the Prime Minister opening new facilities reflects the government’s commitment to early childhood education,” said Clare Wells, Chief Executive of New Zealand Kindergarten. “Kindergarten has been a leader in early childhood education for 125 years, and we continue to partner with government to give children and families the best foundation for future learning.” The government has prioritised participation in early childhood education by including it as a Better Public Services Target.
The government aims for 98% of all children starting school in 2016 to have attended early childhood education. There have been a number of initiatives focussed on increasing participation, particularly among Māori and Pasifika children and families, and children and families in low-income communities. There are signs of some success with participation increasing, particularly among Māori and Pasifika children and whānau.
For further comment: Please contact NZK Chief Executive Clare Wells 0272 955 044.
New Zealand Kindergartens (NZK) Incorporated, Te Putahi Kura Puhou o Aotearoa, is the umbrella organisation representing twenty-nine regional kindergarten associations covering over 440 kindergartens and early childhood education services.
Nationwide kindergartens provide services for 35,000 enrolled children as well as support for their families and whānau. Nearly one-third of all four year olds enrolled in early childhood education in New Zealand attend a kindergarten.