He taonga te tamaiti, the draft strategic plan for early learning, is now open for consultation until 15 March 2019. The consultation process involves a survey that is available for all Playcentre members to have their say.
To view the Draft Early Learning Strategic Plan click here
The Draft Early Learning Strategic Plan was developed by the Ministry of Education together with the Ministerial Advisory Group and the Sector Reference Group. The New Zealand Playcentre Federation was represented on the Sector Reference Group.
The Draft Early Learning Strategic Plan, as it currently stands, appears very focussed on improving teacher-led services. Accordingly, it does not focus specifically on addressing issues that are central to the Playcentre philosophy. However, our continued involvement in developing the Draft Early Learning Strategic Plan will allow us to ensure that Playcentre has a say in this process.
As part of this process a survey is being conducted of stakeholders in the early education sector.
We have received feedback from centres asking for guidance on how to respond to this survey. If you decide to submit a response to the survey, it is completely up to you how you respond and what issues you raise. For your consideration, some current issues that are relevant to Playcentre are set out below. Each Centre is encouraged to raise issues that reflect their own experience and concerns.
The survey can be found here and covers 23 recommendations and will take approximately 15-20 minutes to complete.
You do not need to give your name to complete the survey. Your answers are confidential and anonymous.
If you have already written a submission and would like to submit an existing document, please email this to [email protected].
Implementing recommendations in the final Strategic Plan will be contingent on Cabinet agreement to individual proposals and future Budget processes.
Goal 1: Quality is raised for children by improving regulated standards
- Regulate new adult:child ratios for infants and toddlers
1.2 Require early learning services to support secure and consistent relationships for children
1.3 Incentivise for 100% and regulate for 80% qualified teachers in teacher-led centres by 2022, leading to regulation for 100%
1.4 Develop advice on group size, the design of physical environments, and environmental factors
1.5 Gazette Te Whāriki (the early learning curriculum) to support shared expectations. (Gazetting will strengthen Te Whāriki’s legal status).
1.6 Prevent low quality service providers from opening additional services
1.7 Increase monitoring of services
- Playcentre supports the recommendations but notes that the ratios and regulation impact more on the teacher-led centres. As a parent-led provider Playcentre currently meets the ratios and the minimum is 1:5 for all ages. Parents must stay with children under age 2.5. Playcentre also notes that many Centres have put in place lower ratios, such as 1:3 as they felt it was better.
- Playcentre is strongly supportive of the recommendation to lower adult:child ratios for infants and toddlers, acknowledging the importance of strong relationships and responsive care for this age group.
- Playcentre appreciates the recognition of the importance of secure and consistent relationships for children in the early years. Playcentre believes that the most important consistent relationship is with parents/primary caregivers and whānau, and that these relationships should be central in any early childhood setting.
- Playcentre would welcome additional advice and support on ensuring centres are providing safe and nurturing environments for the tamariki in their care. However, with over 420 active centres, we would be concerned if the advice on group size, the design of physical environments, and environmental factors created additional compliance costs for centres.
- More detail would be needed on the processes to be utilised to prevent low quality service providers from opening additional services as this could impact on Playcentre given the large number of centres we operate.
- Playcentre supports ongoing monitoring but is concerned that additional monitoring would add to the workload of Centres.
Goal 2: Every child is empowered through timely access to the resources they need to thrive
2.1 Ensure equity funding supports children who need it
2.2 Co-construct progress tools to support children’s learning and wellbeing
2.3 Expand the number of early learning services that facilitate wrap-around social services to support children and their whānau
- Playcentre supports a review of equity funding if the review is focussed on what is required and not on reducing support via targeting.
- Co-constructing progress tools needs to recognise the difference in delivery across the various providers in Early Childhood Education.
- Playcentre would also be concerned if the progress tools became de-facto ‘national standards’ that children were judged against. Any such tools need to be designed to reflect the natural variation in development that occurs across children.
- Playcentre would like to see that current providers are supported to develop wrap-around services and that expansion utilises current providers before any new services are developed. Playcentre would also like to see recognition and acknowledgement of the benefits of supporting families/ whānau as being integral to positive early learning outcomes, as well as future learning and social outcomes for tamariki. Wrap-around social services to support children and their whānau needs monetary, as well as regulatory support. This would also require government departments to work together more and with ECE providers. Playcentre has long advocated that as well as providing ECE, we also provide a social service of support for parents – both in giving parents more knowledge on child development, providing concrete support and encouragement in a community based environment.
- Playcentre, by supporting parents and giving them the tools and knowledge to be active in their child’s education, sets parents up for ongoing involvement that is shown to provide benefits to children’s future achievement
Goal 3: Investment in our workforce supports excellence in teaching and learning
3.1 Improve the consistency and levels of teacher salaries and conditions across the early learning sector
3.2 Strengthen Initial Teacher Education
3.3 Improve professional learning and development
3.4 Develop a workforce supply strategy
- Playcentre supports investment in the workforce and the need for excellence in teaching and learning. Any changes should recognise the differences in delivery and opportunities for improvement be offered across the sector. Any workforce strategy should also be applied across the sector not just teacher-led.
Goal 4: Planning ensures that provision is valued, sufficient and diverse
4.1 Develop and introduce a process to determine whether a new early learning service is needed
4.2 Provide governance and management support for community-owned services
4.3 Support the establishment and maintenance of early learning services on Crown land administered by the Ministry of Education
4.4 Co-design an appropriate funding model with Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust
4.5 Co-design an appropriate funding model with the NZ Playcentre Federation
4.6 Consider setting up state-owned early learning services with an associated research programme
- Playcentre supports all of the initiatives to ensure that provision is valued, sufficient and diverse. Planning should however recognise current providers and how they can be supported to succeed. Diversity needs to be encouraged and parents and caregivers need to be supported to engage in a variety of ECE settings.
- The opportunity to engage in an Early learning service should be based on preference and not dictated by economic necessity. Funding is required on a level that can be accessed by all parents so that they have the opportunity to choose a service that meets their needs.
- The New Zealand Playcentre Federation has been advocating for an appropriate funding model for over 10 years and is of the view that this is an urgent priority to ensure that Playcentre can thrive on an equal basis with other ECE providers.
Goal 5: The early learning system continues to innovate, learn and improve
5.1 Establish innovation hubs for early learning services
5.2 Support early learning services to collaborate with other education services
5.3 Support robust internal evaluation to ensure ongoing improvement
Playcentre is supportive of all the initiatives to ensure that the early learning system continues to innovate, learn and improve.
Please list (in order) the three recommendations that you think are most important.
- The most important recommendation :
5 Co-design an appropriate funding model with the NZ Playcentre Federation.
- Second most important recommendation :
1 Regulate new adult:child ratios for infants and toddlers.
- Third most important recommendation:
1 Ensure equity funding supports children who need it.