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Early childhood conference will have a real impact

Media Release Thursday 1 May 2008

New Zealand’s largest early childhood conference will have a real impact

New Zealand’s largest annual conference for early childhood professionals starts in Wellington tomorrow with 685 delegates booked to attend a packed three day programme.

Early Childhood Council CEO Sue Thorne says the unprecedented level of interest shows the conference and the organisation are going from strength to strength.

Last year, we had 530 delegates at our conference.  This year, we have 685 and were sold out over six weeks ago.  Sadly, that means some teachers will be missing out this time, said Mrs Thorne.

The Early Childhood Council spent a great deal of time developing a broad conference programme which has a number of concurrent sessions designed specifically for teachers, managers, centre owners and committee members running community centres, she said.

The conference will feature 47 speakers, 35 workshops, 50 trade stands and 25 invited government officials and sector leaders.

This is a large, professionally run event that will challenge delegates and give them practical guidance on how to carry out their roles even better.  It is intensive professional development and delegates know they will be getting value for their money at the conference, said Mrs Thorne.

Education will be a key issue at this year’s election and we are very pleased to be hosting a policy forum with Members of Parliament from seven political parties.  This will be the first chance for the sector to get some insight into what politicians are thinking about early childhood education, she said.

One of the most important challenges facing the sector is how to engage with at-risk children.  These are the children who stand to gain the most from education but are traditionally the least likely to attend early childhood services.  We are delighted to have Heather Donoyou and Judy Potts out from England to explain the success the Pen Green centre has had engaging with children and families who had previously struggled to interact with early childhood education.  There will be a lot of valuable lessons there for New Zealand, said Mrs Thorne.

At a very practical level, there will workshops on the Early Childhood Council’s newly released Good Governance Guide and Toolkit for committee-run centres.

I'm confident the conference will be a huge success.  It will have a real impact on the sector, said Mrs Thorne.

The Early Childhood Council Annual Conference 2008 will be held at the Duxton Hotel and Wellington Convention Centre from 2 -4 May 2008.

Full conference programme available at:

The Early Childhood Council is the largest representative body of licensed early childhood centres in New Zealand. Our more than 1000 member centres are both community-owned and commercially owned, employ more than 7000 staff and care for more than 50,000 children.


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