Education reforms welcomed but action needed now for early childhood sector

Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand (ECNZ) welcomes the fundamental reform of the education system. 

‘It’s fantastic that the Minister of Education, Chris Hipkins has announced plans to overhaul the whole education system,’ says Te Rito Maioha Chief Executive, Kathy Wolfe. 

‘While we are optimistic, it will be vital to have strong early childhood education (ECE) sector representation in all the working parties tasked with developing the strategic blueprint and implementing the reforms. This will ensure that finally, we have an interconnected approach to education in New Zealand.’

Ms Wolfe says since 2010, the early childhood education and care sector has changed dramatically. 

‘More young children are spending more time in services, as parents respond to financial, career and family demands. 

‘This situation means that early childhood education and care must be provided by qualified teachers, centres must be fully-staffed, and ECE teachers must be recognised through appropriate pay aligned with their peers in primary schools. 

‘All this is why increased funding is needed for the ECE sector now.’

Ms Wolfe says ECE tends to be overlooked or seen as an add-on by decision and policy makers in the education sector. 

‘This situation is short-sighted, given the impact children’s first learning experiences have on the rest of their learning lives. 

‘ECE must be recognised as a critical component of a modern education system. There needs to be a meaningful workforce strategy covering ECE to tertiary that supports a joined approach to this reform.’ 

Ms Wolfe says Te Rito Maioha is committed to working with the government, and bringing its bicultural ECE and learning expertise to these reforms.

He taonga te mokopuna, kia whāngaia, kia tipu, kia rea.

A child is a treasure, to be nurtured, to grow, to flourish.

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