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Playcentre Media Releases

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National News

PLAYCENTRE WELL POSITIONED TO BOOST ECE NUMBERS
31st May 2010
by Jude Pointon
email : Pointons@gmail.com
Playcentres are well positioned to reach families whose preschoolers are not participating in early childhood education, Education Minister Anne Tolley told a national Playcentre conference yesterday. (Sunday May 30)
 
Playcentres and Kōhanga Reo will be eligible to provide 20 Hours E.C.E from July 1.
 
The conference saw about 120 delegates from the Federation’s 33 associations come from around the country to spend four days at Silverstream Retreat in Wellington’s Hutt Valley. The associations represent 489 Playcentres throughout the country. Playcentres are a parent/whānau-led Early Childhood Education organisation for children from birth to six-years old.
 
“Providing quality early childhood education, as Playcentres do, is an important part of encouraging families and whānau to be involved in ECE.  We know that children who attend early childhood education regularly in their early years do better when they get to primary school. They do better in mathematics, reading and general school performance. They also manage better socially. These improvements are not just short term. The benefits from early gains in literacy and numeracy continue throughout a child’s schooling and life,” Mrs Tolley said.
 
However, while Government spending on ECE has trebled in the last few years the escalating cost has delivered no rise in participation. While 95 percent of those starting school have had some sort of early childhood education; for Maori that drops to 91 percent, and for Pasifika children to 85 percent. Children in lower decile schools are also much less likely than those in higher decile schools to have participated in early childhood education, she said.

Te Kapua Anga Reo in Cannons Creek is one of four Playcentres in Porirua. Four days a week up to 25 Cook Island, Maori, Samoan and Indian preschoolers attend the Playcentre, and are looked after by their parents or wider families.
"Twenty Hours would give us peace of mind," says P.R. officer Margaret Putaura. "A lot of local families want their children to attend, but it is not possible due to financial hardship.  We will definitely get more families into this centre when it comes in.”
Tamaki Playcentre Association has six Playcentres in South Auckland. “Many South Auckland Playcentres have highly transient communities," President Jo Newsham says. "This means organisational knowledge is lost and the load of running the centre, which includes a lot of administration, falls on fewer families.”
“If South Auckland received more money we could pay administrators and supervisors then there would be less stress on members and they would be able to focus on the children and those who wanted to train (do Playcentre's NZQA-approved early-childhood-courses) could train.”
“Playcentres are well-positioned to reach those who are not participating in early childhood education,” Mrs Tolley said. “The challenge here, as with other services, is to be culturally responsive.”
ENDS
Contact: New Zealand Playcentre Federation media officer – Jude Pointon
Pointons@gmail.com. 04 237 6967, 021 120 7521
 

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