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Lange's Vision For Early Education Recognised

August 15, 2005

David Lange's Vision For Early Childhood Education Recognised

The country's largest education union, NZEI Te Riu Roa, mourns the loss of former Prime Minister, David Lange and acknowledges, in particular, the work he did in early childhood education.

"David Lange has been rightly hailed for his work on the world stage in promoting the anti-nuclear policy that gave all New Zealanders a sense of identity and pride," says NZEI Te Riu Roa National President, Colin Tarr.

"NZEI members also remember him for the work he did in recognising the importance of early childhood education."

In December 1988, as Minister of Education, David Lange, released his early childhood education policy entitled "Before Five" which set the platform for many of the policies of today's government, such as the goal of having all early childhood teachers qualified and registered by 2012.

In the introduction to his Before Five policy David Lange stated: "Research shows that resources put into early childhood care and education have proven results. Not only do they enhance the individual child's learning, the advantages gained help create success in adult life. Improvements in this sector are an investment in the future."

"Unfortunately the progress being made on the forward thinking policies outlined in 'Before Five' was halted in 1990 when the Labour Government was defeated," says Colin Tarr.

The current Government's strategic plan for early childhood education, "Pathways To The Future" builds on the vision for the sector outlined in the "Before Five" report.

"It would be a major setback for early childhood education if there was another change in policy direction," says Colin Tarr.

David Lange is also remembered for introducing the "Tomorrow's Schools" policy which gave parents and communities a say in the running of schools through boards of trustees.

"Primary principals supported this because they know that involving parents and communities in schools can be used to enhance children's learning," says Colin Tarr.

"However implementing the policy has proved difficult because there has not been enough recognition of the resourcing and support principals and school boards need to make it work," says Colin Tarr.


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