We recognise our proud history, and we work tirelessly to ensure that generations to come can enjoy a bright future at Kindergarten. NZK Members strongly believe that
we are kaitiaki. We recognise that the influence of the German educationalist, Fredrick Froebel, who founded the Kindergarten Movement in the mid-1800s, must be honoured, and that it is beholden on us to lead contemporary practice so that Kindergarten is enduring.
We know that what happens in early childhood education matters for a lifetime, and we also know that it takes a village to raise a child. This is why, as a network, we focus on supporting local Kindergarten Associations to deliver reputable quality early childhood education in a way that reflects and meets the needs of their local communities.
We are focused on ensuring that Kindergarten is affordable, appropriate, and accessible. All of our Associations offer 20-free hours, and some offer 30- free hours. Outside of the free hours, the additional hourly rate charge is minimal, to enable all children to access high quality education and care. We have a mixed-model of provision, with some Kindergartens open all year, some catering for 0-6 year olds, and some opening for extended hours 7.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.
Our focus on delivering appropriate education and embracing diversity and inclusion means that we have a growing number of children with additional and complex learning support needs within our Kindergarten whānau. Our leadership and teaching teams excel at providing education and care services for these children and their families. The complexity of need is increasing, and to enable us to continue providing reputable education, there will need to be system change to recognise and contribute to the value-add cost of this service.
Currently the Kindergarten Movement in Aotearoa New Zealand represents 14% of all attendance/enrolments within the Early Childhood Education sector. Of the 14%, the ethnicity mix of children is:
- 16% European
- 14% Māori
- 12% Pacific
- 12% Asian
- 09% Unknown
Our early learning curriculum, Te Whariki a te Kohanga Reo and Te Whariki: He whariki matauranga mo ngā mokopuna o Aotearoa underpins what happens at Kindergarten every day. We are proud of our bi-cultural curriculum, and of our ability to give genuine effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi through our teaching, learning, leadership and governance practice.
Our focus on accessibility and meeting the needs of local communities enables us to form strong relationships with parents and caregivers, and with the wider community. Kindergartens have become a hub for social service outreach, wellbeing and support. This has meant that children are fed and clothed, families have access to many of the services that they need and, when additional support is required, there is an opportunity to work in partnership with families to facilitate this.
Our local leadership and teaching teams are at the heart of their communities. They are active participants in local networks, and they partner with government agencies and not-for-profit agencies to provide comprehensive education and wellbeing services. Economic and social changes are affecting people across New Zealand, and we know the important role that Kindergarten will continue to play in the lives of children, families and community.