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Early childhood education - a week to celebrate

15 November 2004

Early childhood education - a week to celebrate

Education Minister Trevor Mallard says all New Zealanders have the opportunity this week to celebrate the one investment that is guaranteed to last a lifetime - providing quality education for our very youngest children.

“Early Childcare and Education Awareness Week starts today and is a chance to remind ourselves of the value of our children’s earliest education experiences.

"Congratulations in particular to the NZ Childcare Association, which organised this week, and which has been promoting quality early childhood education with energy and commitment since 1963.

“Like the association, our Labour-led government seriously values early childhood education. We are investing significantly in this area as research shows that if a child has received a top quality education before they get to school, then that will have a positive impact on their educational achievement in later years.

"That's why the Labour-led government has made a solid commitment to make top quality early childhood education more accessible, and more affordable for all families so every single child has the chance to benefit.

"By 2008 this government will have increased its investment in early childhood education by a massive 79 per cent compared to 1999. Already this investment is having positive spin-offs. Participation for pakeha has increased by 2 per cent to 98 per cent since 2001, the Maori participation rate is up by 5 per cent to 89 per cent, and the Pasifika rate has increased by 12 per cent to 85 per cent," Trevor Mallard said.

A comprehensive plan for early childhood education would see an extra $365 million injected into the area over the next four years.

"By the middle of 2007, three and four-year old children will be entitled to 20 hours free attendance a week at a community-based early childhood education service. Our investment will also see improved staff to child ratios and will support the hiring of qualified and registered early childhood education teachers.

"From 1 April next year a new resourcing system will support the different ways early childhood education is provided. It will benefit the entire sector, from community-based centres to private providers. Private centres will receive about half the $307 million being invested in this new resourcing system.”

ENDS

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