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Playcentre calls for funding confirmation for ECE services

Playcentre calls for funding confirmation for ECE services such as Home-based and Kohanga Reo

Playcentre members throughout New Zealand are holding a national day of celebration today to promote their high-quality parent-led education model. This follows the announcement last week by Education Minister Anne Tolley that her government will not follow the ECE Taskforce recommendation to slash funding to Playcentres.

In her statement, Minister Tolley confirmed that her government values diverse provision in the early childhood education sector, and high-quality ECE delivered by teachers and parent-led services.

"We now ask Minister Tolley to confirm that Home-based and Kohanga Reo will also have their future secured," said Playcentre Federation Co-president Maureen Woodhams.

"Parents are best served when they have a range of high-quality services to choose from for education and care support for their children," said Mrs Woodhams. "No one education model meets every family's aspirations for their children, or their own involvement in ECE."

Playcentres are run by groups of trained parents, who are all offered free access to the Playcentre Diploma in early childhood and adult education. A large proportion of enrolled families have completed at least the basic courses of this Diploma, and many go on to careers as educators in home-based services or teachers in kindergartens and childcare centres. Past and present members also make a strong contribution on school boards of trustees and in community organisations.

"We know that every service kind has strengths, and each can learn something from the others," said Playcentre Federation Co-president Marion Pilkington. "For example, Playcentre has taken a new step on our journey as a Treaty-based organisation by creating and filling Co-presidents from each treaty partner. Ourlong-term aim is to enhance the learning experience of Ma-ori wha-nau within Playcentres.

"We also know that other service kinds can learn from Playcentre's leading role in parent engagement with ECE, and from our strong network of associations which support local centres," said Mrs Pilkington.

Each service kind, whether it be Playcentre, kindergarten, long-day childcare, Kohanga Reo or Home-based, has a different set of factors which promote high quality in that service. The ECE Taskforce report has narrowly focused on the importance of teacher qualifications, but these alone will not ensure a high quality experience, especially for children spending many hours within a centre.

The Playcentre Federation is committed to working with the Minister and Ministry of Education, and with the other parts of the education sector, to ensure every child and family has access to a high quality early childhood education setting that meets their family aspirations.


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