20 Free ECE Funding
20 Free ECE Funding
The Montessori Association of NZ is advising it's members not to join the 20 Free Hours in July, 2007. The association has urged early childhood members to take a long term view of the effect this funding policy could potentially have on their ability to continue offering high quality Montessori programmes to their communities.
MANZ believes that the early childhood strategic aim to improve the quality of early childhood education offered in NZ will be severely undermined by 20 Free funding, as centres look to reduce the cost of services and programmes in order to make the 20 Free policy work financially.
''We believe that reducing the quality of services offered to parents in order to make 20 Free work for parents is morally wrong. MANZ does not wish to see our centres reduce the quality of Montessori programmes offered in their communities.'' says Jan Gaffney, MANZ Co-President.
MANZ is giving this advice as a result of unclear messages coming from the Minister and Ministry of Education about the ability of centres to recoup costs through optional charges. Due to mixed messages, centres can not be sure they can raise the shortfall in funds between that offered by the 20 free policies, and that necessary to run their centres. This confusion means that many of the plans that centres had in place to enable them to offer 20 free hours to their communities are in jeopardy.
Earlier this year a MANZ member survey showed a high degree of uncertainly over whether to opt into this programme. The bewilderment centres feel over what options are available to them is not making the decision any easier, hence MANZ’s advice to wait.
MANZ represents privately and community owned Montessori centres. Approximately 3% of children attending early childhood services attend a Montessori ece centre. Over 2700 New Zealand families choose Montessori education for their children (from infants to adolescents) in NZ.