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Interim Playground Standards given the thumbs down

Interim Playground Standards Given The Thumbs Down

Media Release

Interim Playground Standards given the thumbs down

The early childhood sector has send a resounding rejection of the US Playground Safety Standards to Standards NZ.

498 centres showed their support for the rejection of the US Standard for the early childhood sector by returning the form submission sent out to the sector in June, and many more centres sent in their own submission rejecting the US Standards.

The Early Childhood Council was part of a group of early childhood sector representatives who studied the implications of adopting the US Standards in New Zealand Early Childhood Education Centres. This group concluded that the US Standard should be rejected because:

* Available NZ playground injury statistics for supervised early childhood centres show that the existing standards effectively ensure children's safety. The extra cost inevitably associated with compliance with these new standards is therefore not justified.

* Licensed early childhood centres are supervised. The new standard does not recognise this important difference between our playgrounds and the public playgrounds it is designed to set a bench mark for.

* Some traditional New Zealand outdoor early childhood play experiences will be effectively prohibited, Eg use of rope, more than two swings per bay.

The Standards NZ Committee formed to consider the submissions is to meet on 27 and 28 August. Standards NZ have indicated that it is at this meeting that it appears most likely that supervised play areas will be ruled out of scope of the American Standards.

Sue Thorne, CEO of the Early Childhood Council, said "Whilst it would be premature to preempt the decision of the committee, it is looking veryhopeful that we will get the outcome we have been seeking and the way will be made for supervised early childhood settings to develop their own relevant playground standards."

Contact Sue Thorne 09 449 1327 or mobile 027 4483 215

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