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Children benefit from early childhood education

8 October 2004

More children benefit from early childhood education

Prime Minister Helen Clark and Education Minister Trevor Mallard today announced funding of $8.8 million to create an extra 290 places for children in licensed and chartered early childhood education centres over the next year.

"This funding is a significant way to increase participation in quality early childhood services especially amongst children from low socio-economic, rural, and isolated communities," Helen Clark said.

"As part of the government’s annual discretionary grants scheme, 48 community-based non-profit early childhood services will receive money to establish new early childhood education centres, extend existing buildings or remove health and safety hazards.

"Our government strongly believes in opportunity for everyone. That is why we are very committed to getting more under-fives into top quality early childhood education. We see this as a high priority.

“The support for early childhood education through the discretionary grants scheme is in addition to the $451 million the government will spend on early childhood education services in the 2004/05 financial year. The $451 million is an increase of $135 million, or 45 per cent, since 1999," Helen Clark said.

Helen Clark today visited a South Auckland Pasifika early childhood playgroup, Akoteu Kato Kakala in Mangere, which is currently operating out of a garage. The group is to receive $787, 489 to build a new licensed centre in an area of high need in Otara. It will cater for 40 children.

Trevor Mallard said that since 1999 the Labour-led government had enabled an extra 5706 children to take part in early childhood education as a result of the grants scheme, including the extra 290 places announced today.

"Research shows that regular and high quality early childhood education makes a noticeable and positive impact on a student's educational success later on. The discretionary grants scheme is one way we can give more children the chance to gain from the benefits of quality early childhood education."

Key facts about early childhood education are attached.

ENDS

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