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Mâori to benefit from early childhood strategy

12 September 2002 Media Statement

Mâori to benefit from early childhood strategic plan

Whänau whänui and their tamariki will be specifically targeted to increase their participation in early childhood education in a new government ten-year plan, said Mäori Affairs and Associate Education Minister Parekura Horomia.

“Early childhood education makes an important difference to the way children go on to develop later in their lives. Mäori children currently participate in early childhood services at lower rates than non-Mäori children, so if we can encourage their whanau to get them into the education system as early as possible, they are more likely to stay in it,” Parekura Horomia said.

Pathways to the Future: Nga Huarahi Arataki, a major plan outlining a ten-year vision for early childhood education in New Zealand, was launched today by Trevor Mallard.

This is the first long-term plan for the sector since Before Five, introduced in 1989 and abandoned by the then National government.

“We know that some tamariki are less likely to access early education, but stand to benefit the most if they do. Increasing participation is crucial to reducing disparities that occur throughout the education system."

The plan aims to build a stronger framework for the delivery of quality early childhood services. It will place a greater requirement on early childhood services and teachers to be responsive to the care and education needs of whänau whänui and their children.

“As part of the plan, we will work in partnership with Mäori to develop a teacher education course for Mäori immersion early childhood teachers. We’re aiming to increase the number of professionally trained teachers responsible for providing education and care for our children.

“The Plan will get early childhood services working more closely with parents/ whänau, schools and social agencies such as the Health Ministry and the Ministry of Social Development. There will be a strong focus on initiatives to improve the understanding and appreciation of the Treaty of Waitangi and the use of te reo and tikanga Mäori.

“Our children deserve the best and we’re going to make sure they get it,” Parekura Horomia said.

ENDS

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