Special Education Working Group Report Released
In late 2014, New Zealand Kindergartens (NZK) set up a working group which included representation from all New Zealand public kindergartens to explore the issues around the provision of and support for children with special education needs and their families and whānau.
A survey of kindergarten teachers was conducted and the findings, along with current research, examples of best practice and policies, inform a final report. The working group believes the issues raised in the report are likely to be similar across all early childhood education (ECE) services.
The final report makes three high level recommendations to the Ministry of Education:
- work to align policy across the ECE and schooling sectors alongside the broader context of changes in public sector social development and health policy;
- weave the engagement of ECE teachers, educators, parents and whānau into the work programme for an inclusive education system;
- facilitate better inter-agency collaboration to ensure families and whānau and ECE services can access support at one point rather than co-ordinate access to multiple agencies.
The report includes 20 strategies which could be implemented in the short to medium term to address key issues for practitioners and for families. The strategies are organised into three broad categories: cohesion across the system, equity and effective transitions.
“Teachers were clear that they want more time and support to work with children with special needs in the ECE setting, and a more joined-up, coordinated system across ECE and school,” said Clare Wells, Chief Executive, New Zealand Kindergartens. “Evidence shows that if we can support children and families well in their earliest years, we can often reduce the need for additional educational support later.”
The report findings, high level recommendations and strategies offer information to the Ministry of Education as it undergoes consultation on an update to Special Education.
To view the final report, detailed survey findings and a summary report click here .
For more information about New Zealand Kindergartens, visit here.
For further comment:Please contact NZK Chief Executive Clare Wells 0272 955 044
New Zealand Kindergartens (NZK) Incorporated, Te Pūtahi Kura Puhou o Aotearoa, is the umbrella organisation representing twenty-six regional kindergarten associations covering over 430 kindergartens and early childhood education services. Nationwide kindergartens provide services for over 35,000 enrolled children as well as support for their families and whānau. We are committed to working with parents, communities and the government to offer high quality services, with 100% qualified teachers, which meet the unique needs of children and whānau.
NZK provides services to all families. Almost two-thirds of kindergartens are in low and middle income areas. After nga kōhanga reo and correspondence school, kindergarten has the highest percentage of Māori children attending (22%), and among Pasifika children, kindergarten has the highest percentage attending alongside education and care services (8%). Almost twenty per cent of early childhood education enrolments in communities with a Ministry of Health deprivation index rating of 10 (the most socio-economically deprived communities) are in kindergartens.