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$9 million to help kids into early education

$9 million to help more children into early education

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Funding of over $9 million will create and retain 500 places for children at 42 new and expanding early childhood education centres across the country, Education Minister Steve Maharey announced today.

"This investment reflects the government's commitment to make quality early childhood education accessible and affordable for all New Zealand families," Steve Maharey said.

"The funding will increase participation in quality early childhood services around the country, in particular for children from low socio-economic and isolated communities. As well as creating an additional 305 places, and allowing another 186 to be retained, it will support centres with their ongoing planning and operations.

"The investment will also support the roll-out of the government's policy of 20 hours free early childhood education for all three and four year-olds in teacher-led services from July 2007.

"Both national and international research tells us that quality early childhood education makes a significant difference to the way children develop and achieve later in life. We also know that access to quality early childhood education has the greatest benefits for children who are the least likely to participate."

The funding, which comes from the first round of the annual $16.2 million Discretionary Grants Scheme, provides planning and capital assistance to early childhood education centres in areas of need. It includes: ·$ 8.3 million in capital grants for 13 early childhood centres, to create 305 new places and retain 186 places ·$500,000 in grants to help cover planning costs for 28 early childhood services ·$240,000 for a health and safety project

ENDS

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