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Hundreds turned away from ECC conference

11 April 2006

Hundreds turned away from Early Childhood Council's Annual Conference in Rotorua

The organiser of a conference for early childhood centre managers and teachers is turning away hundreds.

The Early Childhood Council's Annual Conference was full less than two weeks after publishing its programme in March and four weeks before the conference was scheduled to run.

Says Council CEO Sue Thorne: 'We increased our capacity over last year's conference by 200. But we immediately filled all 600 places. We could have filled more than a thousand.'

Scheduled to run in Rotorua from 28 to 30 April, the conference includes OECD economist Willem Adema arguing that governments, firms and fathers will have to do more if employment and looking after children are to be compatible functions.

The conference includes workshops on:

- The increasing vulnerability of preschoolers and preschools to online risk, and what can be done about this;

- The way a reading programme that uses rap music lyrics to raise confidence in struggling readers was developed in Kawerau, and may in future be exported overseas; ß The loneliness, frustration and underachievement that can result when gifted preschoolers go unrecognised;

- The emotional impact of separation and divorce on preschoolers, and how to help children through grief;

- How parents and teachers can teach math to preschoolers;

- The links between exercise - and brain development, memory and problem solving in preschoolers;

- Problems with bullying amongst New Zealand preschoolers and how to teach young children to deal with these; and ß How New Zealand businesses get themselves into trouble by hiring the wrong staff. The conference is to be opened by the Minister of Education Steve Maharey, closed by the Leader of the Opposition Don Brash, and includes a speech by Maori Party Co-leader Tariana Turia.

It also includes a debate on the value of for-profit childcare between the Business Roundtable's Norman LaRocque and the Quality Public Education Coalition's John Minto.

Mrs Thorne says the conference's popularity this year can be put down to the practical nature of many of the workshops, the broad range of workshops, the popularity of Rotorua as a destination and the Government's new support grant for provisionally registered teachers that is funding the attendance of many teachers.

The Early Childhood Council is the largest representative body of licensed early childhood centres in New Zealand. Its more than 860 member centres are both community-owned and commercially owned, employ more than 5000 staff, and care for more than 45,000 children.

The full conference programme can be found at


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