Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


PM Speech - Early Childhood Education Strategy

Thursday 12 September 2002

Rt Hon Helen Clark
Prime Minister


Launch of the Government’s Early Childhood Education
Strategy Plan


10.00 am

Thursday 12 September 2002

Today is an important day for early childhood education as we launch this new ten year strategic plan for early childhood education : Pathways to the Future: Ngâ Huarahi Arataki.

I know that for some present in the audience, today marks the culmination of many years of committed work. In particular, I thank Dr Anne Meade and the members of the strategic plan working group which she chaired. The work you have done has built strong foundations for the strategy.

Pathways to the Future has been developed after intense consultation between the government, the early childhood education sector, academics, and parents. We now need to continue that collaboration so that the implementation of the strategy can be as successful as its development has been.

The Background to the Strategic Plan

In 1999 the Labour Party manifesto contained a commitment to develop a long term strategic plan for early childhood education in consultation with the sector. We pledged to do that because of our conviction of the importance of early childhood education. There needed to be a long term commitment to improving its quality and increasing participation in it.

To do that we needed a planned and stepped approach. We needed to make sure that we made the necessary changes in the right order. So, early strategies form the foundations of the plan and later strategies build on them.

This strategy is best thought of as a road map. It sets out the vision of where we want to go, and it plots the journey that we must undertake to get there.

The journey began with the working group, chaired by Dr Anne Meade in August 2000. There were fifteen months consultation, many meetings, and thirteen hundred submissions. Now the journey must continue with the government working with early childhood education professionals, families, and communities to get the best results from the strategy.

Importance of Early Childhood Education

In a child’s early years, the development of the brain creates the basis for on-going learning throughout life. The foundations for language are established, and the major parameters of the child’s attitudes and dispositions towards the world are developed. These years are a critical learning period as children are very receptive to positive learning opportunities.

Early childhood education has an important part to play in these early years. Research, here and overseas, shows that participation in quality early childhood education makes a positive difference for children, their families, and the wider society.

In quality early childhood education, children develop literacy and numeracy concepts, approaches to problem solving, social and co-operative skills, and an enjoyment of learning, all of which provide the foundation for later learning.
The recently released Competitive Children at 10 research shows that, in New Zealand, the positive effects of early childhood education are still present some five years after the child has left. It also shows that children with early childhood education experiences are stronger in areas such as problem solving, communication, individual responsibility, and perseverance.

While all the evidence supports participation in early childhood education, some children, often the most needy, are still missing out. That is why this strategy sets out a long term vision and plan for increasing participation in quality early childhood services.

Working Together

In today’s launch, Trevor Mallard will talk about the strategy’s three goals : improving, quality, increasing participation, and promoting collaborative relationships.

The first two goals are long standing government goals for early childhood education. This strategy focuses on how to achieve them. The third goal, on collaboration was developed by the strategic plan working group.

As you will see in Trevor Mallard’s presentation, a number of the strategies can only succeed if government, parents, communities, and the early childhood education sector work together.


New Zealand’s early childhood education sector is already a world leader. Our participation levels are already high by world standards. We have led the world in integrating the care and education of young children under one curriculum, Te Whâriki. Now Pathways to the Future: Ngâ Haurahi Arataki plots the journey we must take together to strengthen the sector further.

I thank Trevor Mallard for the leadership and enthusiasm he has shown for early childhood education, and all those who have contributed to the drawing up of this strategy.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Also, Loan Interest: Productivity Commission On Tertiary Education

Key recommendations include better quality control; making it easier for students to transfer between courses; abolishing University Entrance; enabling tertiary institutions to own and control their assets; making it easier for new providers to enter the system; and facilitating more and faster innovation by tertiary education providers... More>>


Higher Payments: Wellington Regional Council Becomes A Living Wage Employer

Councillor Sue Kedgley said she was delighted that the Wellington Regional Council unanimously adopted her motion to become a Living Wage employer, making it the first regional council in New Zealand to do so. More>>


Scoop Images:
Dame Patsy Reddy Sworn In As Governor-General

This morning Dame Patsy Reddy was sworn in as the New Zealand Realm’s 21st Governor-General. The ceremony began with a pōwhiri to welcome Dame Patsy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne to Parliament. More>>


Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>


With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>


Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news