MoE Update – 14 April 2020

Information supplied from Ministry of Education on Tuesday 14 April 2020.

14 April – COVID-19 Early Learning Special Bulletin

Our bulletin for today focuses on:

  • Supporting children with learning support needs and distance learning
  • Home learning television
  • More providers offer childcare options for essential workers

Welcome to Term 2 but not as we knew it, Jim!


Supporting children’s learning

As we move into Term 2, you’ll be thinking about how the current situation is affecting children with additional learning needs and their parents and whānau.

You will be aware that some families and whānau, are likely to be experiencing additional stress and challenges as a result of the loss of their children’s normal routines and usual supports. Some children will be finding it hard to understand why these changes are occurring, resulting in increased anxiety, meltdowns or other forms of distressed behaviour.

Planning and organising support

Many of you have planning underway for children in your services with a range of needs that include those with learning support needs. This planning will involve adapting materials and methods to meet the unique learning needs of all children, along with considering how this will look in a distance learning setting.

Kaiako in early learning services are pivotal in the development of tailored distance learning programmes, based on existing goals in the child’s individual plan, as well as providing support to whānau to manage this at home.

Early learning services can also continue to call on early intervention staff and other existing services for help in supporting a child’s learning from home in the usual way.

Our learning support staff are here to support you, parents and whānau during the home isolation period. Like your teams of kaiako, they are working from home, balancing caring for their own whānau with their work.  You can reach them through their usual contact details. 

Early Intervention during COVID-19 Level 4 response

Learning support staff already involved with children and whānau will continue to check in with the child’s parents and whānau and where possible, their early learning kaiako to provide virtual guidance and support as necessary at this time. This will involve listening carefully and adapting support and strategies to meet current needs for support.  When parents agree, our early intervention staff are providing “home visits” to support the progress of plans, learning and development at home using online platforms such as Skype. These “visits” are sessions carried out using “telepractice” over the phone or skype, to coach parents to develop routines, use naturally occurring home experiences and materials and equipment they already have available in their homes to support the learning of their children.

Like early learning kaiako and other staff, learning support staff will be working differently, but their goal remains the same: to support kaiako to connect children to relevant learning experiences by accommodating their learning needs.

Families can also contact their usual Needs Assessment Coordinator (NASC) to discuss the disability supports available during lockdown, including emergency support.Please contact your local Ministry office if you’re concerned about how your children with learning support needs will be supported during the home isolation period.  

Local Ministry offices

There are many online resources already available.

Wellbeing for all

Alongside priorities for learning, the wellbeing of students and whānau and supporting them will be front of mind.

We have information also focused on supporting a child’s learning at home for parents, caregivers and whānau. It may also be useful for teachers. This resource adds to the information we have previously provided supporting conversations with children about COVID-19 –

From overseas, this 25 Mental Health Wellness Tips during Quarantine from Eileen M Feliciano, Psy.D. is a good list and highlights some things particularly important for children. Remember the rules of New Zealand’s level 4 lockdown still apply.

Further information to support wellbeing

We will continue to build wellbeing information on our website that is easier to find and better reflects how the COVID-19 response has changed over the last weeks. This includes adding resources as they are developed.


Home learning television

Home Learning | Papa Kāinga TV will start education broadcasting for early learners and students in Years 1–10 from 9am on Wednesday 15 April, with Māori Television launching te reo educational programmes on the same day.

As a result of negotiations led by Nicholas Pole (Chief Review Officer and Chief Executive of the Education Re Review Office) Home Learning | Papa Kāinga TV will be free to air, on TVNZ channel 2+1 and on TVNZ on Demand, as well as on Sky Channel 502. It will run from 9am to 3pm on schooldays with programming for children and young people, as well as for parents.

Content will be grouped for early learners and students by age range, and will include play, literacy, mathematics, science, te reo Māori, physical education and wellbeing. All of the programmes will feature highly experienced teachers and presenters, along with wellbeing and movement experts.

The Minister will be announcing the presenters and programme schedule later today, after which we’ll publish the information on our Learning from Home website. Check the updates page of the site for daily programming information.

Programme presenters include nine teachers from Christchurch and Auckland. Thank you to those of you who have agreed to release your staff to deliver these lessons – we’re very grateful for their willingness to be part of this initiative.

Home Learning | Papa Kāinga TV will be on air for one month with provision to extend beyond that if needed.

We’ll be promoting Home Learning | Papa Kāinga TV and the Māori Television programmes on television and through social media – please share the information through your own social media, emails to students and whānau, etc. Later this week we’ll have resources on the Learning from Home website that you can use to help promote Home Learning | Papa Kāinga TV. Keep checking the website for updates and resources.


More providers offer childcare options for essential workers

Parents who are essential workers, can get additional childcare support if needed during the lockdown. Our website has more details and will be updated as new providers are identified. 

Home-based care options for children aged 0-13 of essential workers

If your service is interested in making home based educators available for care and supervision work during the lockdown please register your interest by emailing [email protected]