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Hope that dialogue will produce ‘best possible’ curriculum

04 November, 2016

Early Childhood Council hopeful dialogue with government will produce ‘best possible’ curriculum for early childhood education

The Early Childhood Council has praised a government decision (announced today, 04 November 2016) to spend six weeks consulting on its redraft of the early childhood education curriculum, Te Whāriki.

Government is moving currently to update the curriculum guideline it published in 1996, and which all New Zealand early childhood education services are expected to follow.

Council CEO Peter Reynolds said there was risk that mismanaged consultation ‘might see us ditching acurriculum truly owned by those working in the sector for one imposed in the absence of a supportive grassroots consensus’.

He said he was hopeful ‘a creative dialogue between government and the early childhood education sector will produce the best possible outcome for children’. And he called the curriculum document released today ‘a very good draft’, but with ‘some issues those in our sector will be examining over the next few weeks’.

‘We will need to take care that the new emphasis on links between the early childhood and primary school curricula does not bring inappropriate primary school methods into the early childhood education environment.

‘And we will need to ensure that there is support documentation and professional development to help early childhood education services implement the revised curriculum.’

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Mr Reynolds said that 20 years ago, when the old curriculum was introduced, the then Government ‘promised resources to help early childhood services implement it’.

But these did not arrive in sufficient quantity, implementation was and remained ‘uneven across the country’, and the Early Childhood Council would be working to ensure ‘that history does not repeat itself’.

He said the implementation timeline remained ‘very tight’, and while tight schedules and efficient delivery were positives, it would not be a postive ‘if the new curriculum contains unnecessary deficiencies because it was not well tested on the ground in early childhood education services’.

The Early Childhood Council is New Zealand’s leading representative body for childcare centre owners, committees and management. It has a membership of more than 1100 centres that care for tens of thousands of children.

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