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Early Childhood Education – a focus for Labour

Hon Trevor Mallard

Minister of Education

MP for Hutt South

3 July 2002

Early childhood education will continue to be a focus of a Labour-led government, Education Minister Trevor Mallard said today.

The Party’s policy for the 2002 election includes a commitment to reducing staff:child ratios in early childhood education and increasing qualifications for staff.

“Early childhood education is one of the hardest yet most important areas of education policy. In this term of government we have concentrated on policies to increase participation in quality early childhood.

“Next month, we will release our formal response to the Early Childhood Strategic Plan that will guide us over the next decade in this area.

“In the meantime, we have identified the areas that we will focus on in our next term of government. They include:

- Improving staff:child ratios in early childhood settings, as well as reducing group sizes by 2006

- Rolling out initiatives such as the Early Childhood Primary Links project that has a proven impact on literacy achievement

- Giving the Ministry of Education responsibility for mapping the network of early childhood services, and planning future provision, so communities have the facilities they need, when they need them.

- Ensuring all staff in early childhood centres are qualified and registered teachers by 2012

- Extending the Early Childhood Education participation initiative to more regions.

“More and more research is showing that participating in quality early childhood education positively affects a child for the rest of their life. Labour is committed to investing in early childhood so all New Zealand children have the opportunity for a high quality early childhood education,” Trevor Mallard said.

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