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MPs asked to Have a Heart

MPs asked to Have a Heart - NZEI media advisory

EMBARGOED TILL 1PM THURSDAY MARCH 23

Hundreds of heartfelt messages from children all over New Zealand will be delivered to Parliament on Thursday, as MPs are asked to sign a pledge to restore quality and funding to Early Childhood Education.

Children from ECE centres throughout the country have filled colourful hearts with drawings and messages as part of NZEI Te Riu Roa's Every Child is Worth it campaign.

"These beautiful messages are like a petition to MPs from New Zealand's youngest citizens," said NZEI executive member and kindergarten head teacher Virginia Oakly.

"Children are saying they're worth the best early childhood education we can give them. Today we're asking MPs to show they think every child is worth it too, by signing up to the Have a Heart pledge."

The pledge commits MPs in election year to ensuring every child can get the best Early Childhood Education possible by:

1. Restoring the funding to ECE that has been cut over the past six years

2. Reducing teacher to child ratios and group sizes

3. Restoring the goal of 100 percent trained teachers in ECE.

"All the evidence shows that ECE has a powerful, positive impact on a child's entire life but only if it is of a really high quality," Ms Oakly said.

"Yet since 2010 new Government spending on ECE has gone solely towards paying for increased enrolments. Despite all we know about how crucial it is for children to have high quality ECE, the Government has frozen per child funding, cut funding for services that employ only fully qualified teachers, and increased the group sizes in ECE.

"While many children are getting a fantastic early childhood education from 100 percent qualified, dedicated professional teachers, other children aren’t. NZEI members believe every child is worth it.

"We're asking MPs to sign the Have a Heart Pledge, and let New Zealanders know this election year if they are committed to giving our littlest children the best education possible," Ms Oakly said.

What: Presentation of hundreds of children's "I'm worth it" messages to MPs. Launch of the Have a Heart pledge to restore funding and quality in Early Childhood Education

When: 1pm, Thursday March 23

Where: Forecourt, Parliament.

Who: Children from Wellington ECE centres, NZEI President Lynda Stuart, Wellington ECE teacher Donna Eden, Writer and parent Emily Writes, NZEI Executive member and kindergarten head teacher Virginia Oakly, Labour MP Chris Hipkins, Green MP Catherine Delahunty, NZ First MP Fletcher Tabuteau.


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