Tēnā koutou katoa

Over the last few months we have worked with the Ministry of Education to adjust the qualifications that are able to be recognised as a Person Responsible in a Playcentre environment. I am pleased to announce that we have now had it gazetted that Course 3 will remain as a Person Responsible qualification indefinitely. For more information click here


As I write this message on Thursday morning you will know the Ministry of Health’s Director-General, Ashley Bloomfield, announced the third confirmed case of COVID-19 in New Zealand.

At the Early Childhood Advisory Committee (ECAC) meeting yesterday the representatives of all the main ECE providers discussed the issue with Ministry of Education officials and were reassured that the Ministry will continue to update us with the latest information. The Ministry of Education regional offices are also in contact with regional health officials who will also provide regional specific information as required.

It is important to remember this is a health issue and as such we need to be guided by what our health officials are telling us but also to ensure that we respond to known facts.

For example, the World Health Organization information notes that:

  • Evidence from China shows that only 1% of reported cases do not have symptoms, and most of those cases develop symptoms within 2 days.
  • Young people 18 years and under represent less than 2.4 per cent of those who have contracted the virus.
  • From the data we have so far, COVID-19 does not transmit as efficiently as influenza.

This is an opportune for us all to reinforce healthy behaviours with our tamariki and from our own actions. The best thing to do is to practice good preventative measures, particularly good hygiene:

  • Washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before and after eating as well as after attending the toilet
  • Covering coughs and sneezes with clean tissues or with an elbow
  • Putting used tissues in the bin
  • Encouraging Playcentre whānau to stay home if they are unwell

In the event that a Centre may have to close that is very likely to be at the direction of Health officials although we are a very long way from that situation. At this stage, there is no reason that our tamariki and whānau should not be attending Playcentre.

Ministry of Education officials will be discussing some key notification and planning protocols with the local medical officers of Health over the next day or so and they will be working very closely together as the situation evolves.

Attendees at the ECAC meeting were very appreciative of the efforts of the Ministry of Education to keep us informed and we expect that this will continue and we will continue to pass on information as it comes to hand. It is important to reiterate however that we should follow the directions of our health officials in the first instance.


The change proposal for phase two has been released and is now available for feedback. I would like to thank everyone for their feedback so far and to again note that this is a proposal so your feedback is valuable and will be included when it is time to make decisions on how to proceed. The proposal is very much based on providing support and services to our Centres in a much more effective and efficient way all the while taking into account the current financial environment.

Marina Cook, Playcentre CFO, has provided a very informative paper explaining our current financial situation and I encourage you to read this as it explains why Playcentre is struggling under the current funding model. Please click here to view.

We are not anticipating that Centres will experience less support but that we will deliver that support in different ways that hopefully work well for Centres. The proposed Centre Advisor roles for example will have more hours available to them and be positioned around the country to work where they are needed

The proposed structure for Playcentre is very much about putting in place a sustainable platform on which we can build more support, more services and provide a better experience for our Playcentre whānau. The proposed structure is focused on addressing the short-term financial issues we are experiencing but also planning for growth in support, services and numbers for Playcentre. As previously advised, we have been meeting regularly with Ministry of Education officials to put together a funding bid for the Government Budget 2020 and we will know the outcome of that on Budget day the 14 May 2020.

This afternoon I am also meeting with Ministry of Education to start the process of co-designing a new funding model for Playcentre Aotearoa. The Government’s Early Learning Action Plan https://conversation.education.govt.nz/conversations/early-learning-strategic-plan/ includes as one of its actions the following:

5.7 Co-design an appropriate funding model with Playcentre Aotearoa New Zealand
Playcentre is a uniquely New Zealand model of early learning service that views parents as the first and best educators of their children. The Ministry is currently co-designing a funding model with Playcentre Aotearoa New Zealand and considering qualification requirements to align with the organisation’s preferred operating model.

This is a great opportunity for Playcentre Aotearoa and with a sustainable platform in place following the consultation on the change proposal we will see the increase in support and growth at Playcentre once a more appropriate funding model is secured.

Once again thank you for all you do for Playcentre. Please look after yourself, your whānau and those around you at what is a very stressful time. I am looking forward to advising of more positive outcomes for Playcentre in the near future and thank you for your support at this time.

Ka kite anō au i a koutou.