Money trumps community in Auckland Kindergartens
Money trumps community in Auckland Kindergartens – parents speak up for their children
Date: 10 August 2017
Press Release: Save Our Kindergartens Parent Group
The Auckland Kindergarten Association (AKA) is failing children, parents and teachers and letting down all those who have built is as it is not operating as a community-based organisation, reveals a new independent report. The report is available at https://www.childforum.com/news-early-childhood-education-latest/1537-auckland-kindergarten-association-aka-changes.html
The AKA is seeking to extend the kindergarten day, and abolish school holidays for kindergarten children and teachers. This will increase costs for many families.
Marnie Wilton, an Auckland kindergarten parent is shocked at the tactics of the AKA.
“I find it astonishing that a community organisation that benefits from taxpayers money and charitable status is pushing through fundamental changes without listening to those most affected,” says Wilton.
And parent Sarah Fleming adds that the report shows the AKA are making assumptions about the views of parents and about what future Auckland families will require.
“This is not about children or what is best for their education. This is a leap in the wrong direction for the AKA, away from being champions of best practice towards homogenising the Early Childhood Sector and prioritising profits over people.
“The teachers who have to face their communities are unsupported by AKA management. The culture that exists in the AKA is causing teachers to be careful about what they say. This stops teachers from discussing with parents how the changes are likely to affect their child and ways to manage this,” she says.
For example a teacher quoted in the report says “There is a practice of intimidation of teachers, especially Head Teachers. The consultation process for past changes, plus this current change, has always been one of 'telling' Tanya Harvey's agenda. Calling it ‘consultation’ suggests it is not set in concrete but this is not the practice teachers and families experience.”
The Board of the AKA have a governance problem: They have a revenue loss and an issue with most kindergartens not operating at full capacity. Now communities are being dictated to in order to solve this issue. This is not the answer.
The AKA Board are answerable for the future direction of the association. The AKA shouldn’t be blaming government funding alone or hiding behind this as an excuse, for what is very clearly a problem of poor governance.