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Government Support For Early Childhood Education

6 April 2002

The government is to take a more active role in ensuring more consistent access to quality early childhood education.

Education Minister Trevor Mallard said the work would identify gaps where there was early childhood education available and work with communities to develop appropriate services. The Budget would allocate more than $10 million over four years for the project.

Speaking to the NZEI early years conference, Trevor Mallard also announced an increase of $5 million to in the discretionary grants scheme this year making the total amount available this year $13.8 million. The scheme provides building funds for community-based early childhood services and more than 130 centres are expected to benefit this year.

“Quality early childhood education is so important to lifting standards throughout the education system. We want to be more active in identifying the areas where there is not enough provision and provide more help to communities to set up centres,” Trevor Mallard said.

“Taking more responsibility for network management will involve government working with families, communities and community-based ECE services in areas where ECE participation is low to find solutions to access to quality community-base ECE services.

“We are going to do this in two stages. The first stage will happen from May this year. It is about looking at the current network of ECE services and establishing new community-based ECE services where planning tells us there are gaps.

“Solutions that could be put in place include identifying groups as a priority for the Discretionary Grants Scheme but I am also looking at other ways of providing property for community-based ECE services where communities are struggling to do this themselves.

“But we know that property is not always the solution. The second stage of the project is about working community-based ECE services where participation is low to identify services the need help and find ways of providing assistance to them. This work will start from the middle of next year.

“Early childhood education is very important for a child’s development. Good experiences of early childhood education early on will help children be successful in later years,” Trevor Mallard said.

Ends

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