Kathy Wolfe

Te Rito Maioha ECNZ's Chief Executive, Kathy Wolfe reflects on 2017

Tēnā koutou

I’m sure that like me, you are finding it hard to come to terms with how quickly 2017 has passed.

I feel that in years to come, we will see this year as critical for early childhood education.

I say this because I am sure that the change in government will be good for young children and their teachers. We had the chance to have a brief kōrero with Education Minister Chris Hipkins last week. That left me feeling confident that the new government will deliver on its ECE promises while ‘first year free’ will encourage more people to consider early childhood as a career – or encourage people already working in the sector to study for a qualification.

In November, we provided the new Education Ministers with a briefing that clearly stated the case for greater support for early childhood education.

In our briefing, we put the case for:

  • Reinstating funding for 100% and 80-100% qualified teachers
  • Recognition of ECE teachers as equals alongside primary and secondary teachers, including provision for pay parity. After all, “A teacher is a teacher is a teacher’’
  • Greater investment in professional learning and development for ECE leaders and teachers.

In terms of more long-term priorities, in the briefing we said that our sector needs a vision and workforce development strategy, which integrates with other government education strategies to provide true lifelong learning pathway.

As you would expect, we fully support the new government’s objective to have te reo Māori integrated into learning at every ECE, primary and intermediate school by 2025. Indeed, from 1 February 2018, we will leverage our bicultural tikanga focus and offer exciting professional development, to support and grow teachers to be competent and confident in te reo Māori. We will let you know when registrations for this professional development open.

Speaking of professional development, we are currently taking a good look at what we offer members in this area. In 2018, you can expect a lot more from us, as we refine and grow what we offer, and develop our bases into vibrant community hubs – for members as well as students. Next March, we will be doing a roadshow across the motu to kōrero with you to get your ideas on how we can best meet your needs.

But please don’t wait until then. Te Rito Maioha’s door is always open to hear your success stories and help you successfully face your teaching or leadership challenges. Feel free to email me or our membership email address, or call us on 0800 244 532.

When I reflect on 2017, I feel proud that Te Rito Maioha received a perfect Category 1 rating from the New Zealand Qualifications Authority in our four-yearly external evaluation review.

This is the second consecutive time we’ve achieved this rating and as a private training establishment, it’s a big deal as it places us firmly among the very best providers of Initial Teacher Education (ITE) in New Zealand, with our graduates having sound professional experience while studying. 

This also means that the ECE services that employ our graduates can be confident of the high calibre of their new teachers.

You have probably started to notice a few changes at Te Rito Maioha. These changes have been necessary to ensure we can respond to our political, ECE and ITE environment, and improve our capability and capacity to attract and train students, support your professional development, and lobby the government for a better deal for ECE.

I am confident that these changes will ensure Te Rito Maioha is here for another 55 years because we have also been careful to honour the legacy of our founders, our organisation’s strong values and bicultural tikanga.

To close, I would like to say how very much I am looking forward to supporting you and getting to know you better in 2018. We are a proud organisation in a sector with an important job to do – improve early childhood education for the benefit of our tamariki, their whānau, and New Zealand as a whole.

No reira, kia kaha, kia toa, kia manawanui. (Be strong, stand tall and be sure we can do this together.)

Ngā mihi

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