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Te Rito Maiohawelcomes the Early Learning Action Plan

e Rito Maioha (ECNZ) welcomes the Early Learning Action Plan

Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand welcomes the Government’s focus on improving the quality of early childhood education in the ten-year action plan for early learning released today.

Te Rito Maioha Chief Executive, Kathy Wolfe, says Te Rito Maioha supports many of the plan’s proposals, especially those that address issues the early childhood sector has been advocating for over a decade.

Key proposals for change include:

• moving towards a 100 per cent qualified teacher workforce in early childhood education centres

• improving the adult:child ratios for babies and toddlers

• requiring teachers to be organised to ensure appropriate supervision of children

• increasing the consistency and levels of teacher salaries and conditions across the sector

• a more planned approach to establishing new services, greater support and increased monitoring.

‘We believe that having more qualified teachers, better teacher to child ratios and smaller group sizes are essential if young children are to receive the best start possible to their education, and it’s good to see the Government driving quality improvement,’ says Ms Wolfe.

‘However, the sector needs the Government to immediately address the pay gap between non-kindergarten ECE teachers and other teachers, and the staged nature of this plan won’t do that.

‘I am concerned that many of the plan’s objectives won’t be achieved if early childhood teacher salary and conditions are not urgently improved, including parity with their kindergarten and primary school colleagues.

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‘There should also be more support for ongoing professional learning and development, which is another area where primary and secondary school teachers are far better off.

‘The timeframe for implementation is the next ten years. We know from experience the ECE sector is vulnerable to reversals of policy direction. Bipartisan support will be critical if this strategic plan is to truly deliver better outcomes in the provision of early childhood education.

‘If New Zealand governments, now and in the future, can commit to sustained investment in early childhood education, that investment will bring dividends in the decades to come.

‘Overall, this plan is moving in the right direction to recognise early childhood education as an essential part of a New Zealand education system, integrated for our tamariki from nought to 18’, says Kathy Wolfe.

We would like to acknowledge the work of the Minister’s Advisory Group, the ECE Reference Group and the Ministry of Education in developing the plan with the sector’s input which does provide a clarity of purpose and a holistic approach under the Education Strategy.

After all this is about every child in Aotearoa thriving!


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