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Early Childhood Council To Issue Guidelines

13 March, 2008 For immediate release

Early Childhood Council To Issue Guidelines

The Early Childhood Council is set to release (14 March 2008) a 'how-to-do-it' for those running the boards and committees of community-based early childhood centres.

Council chief executive Sue Thorne said the boards of community centres, comprised largely of parents, could change regularly and were 'on occasion' made up of people with little governance experience.

Parents almost always had enthusiasm and good intentions, but some did not always have the skills to run boards that delivered the best possible education for the children.

The problem tended to be worst in lower income parts of New Zealand, Mrs Thorne said, 'in precisely the areas in which early childhood education is most important to ensure children arrived at school ready to learn'.

It was in response to this problem that the Early Childhood Council had written and published the 'Early Childhood Council Good Governance Guide and Toolkit'.

The most common mistake was board or committee intrusion into the role of management, said Mrs Thorne.

'Board members are often parents of children in the centre. So of course they have a real passion for what the centre is doing. And with the best of intentions they get involved in day-to-day management.

'One board member tells a staff member to do one thing. Another tells her to do something else. A centre manager says something else again. And pretty soon you have confusion.'

Mrs Thorne said the 'guide and toolkit' had solutions to the main problems boards faced.

It included guidance on how to separate board, staff and parental responsibilities; the identification and management of conflicts of interest; the employment of professional advisors to fill gaps in board knowledge; what to do in crises such as staff misconduct or a health scare; 'right down to the correct writing of agenda and minutes'.

The book was produced by the Early Childhood Council in association with Steven Nayda of BDO Spicers.

It can be acquired by calling 0800742742 or emailing

The Early Childhood Council is New Zealand's largest representative body of licensed early childhood centres. It has more than 1000 centre members. About 40 per cent of membership comes from the community sector.


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