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Record numbers for Early Childhood Council Annual Conference

24 May 2012

Record numbers for Early Childhood Council's Annual Conference in Auckland

The organiser of a conference for early childhood centre managers and teachers to be run in Auckland this weekend, has struggled to accommodate the numbers seeking to attend.

Early Child Council CEO Peter Reynolds said delegate attendance was up almost 100 per cent from last year, with total numbers including speakers and others set to top 800.

‘We are struggling to accommodate the numbers, and if we were at a smaller venue, as we are for many of our conferences, we would be turning away potential delegates,’ Mr Reynolds said.

The conference's popularity this year could be attributed, he said, to centres seeking knowledge to deal with ongoing Government revenue cuts, the practical nature of many workshops, and the popularity of Auckland as a destination.

Scheduled to run at Auckland’s Sky City Convention Centre from tomorrow (25 May) to 27 May, the conference includes a keynote address by Minister of Education Hekia Parata (25 May, 1pm) that is expected to address the meaning of the Budget for early childhood education centres and the families they serve.

Keynote speeches include also:
• Early Childhood Council President Maria Johnson on the damage done to early childhood centres unable to be certain that current levels of Government funding will be maintained; (25 May, 11am)

• Early Childhood Council CEO Peter Reynolds on the past year in early childhood education; (25 May, 11.20am)

• Psychologist Nigel Latta on what science has to say about the effectiveness of modern approaches to parenting and the implications of these lessons for early childhood centres; (25 May, 3.25pm)

• Associate Professor Martin Devlin on the value of enrolling a child in early childhood education from the parents’ perspective, and the possible future of childcare; (26 May, 1.50pm)

• The 2010 New Zealander of the Year Sir Ray Avery on how leadership and innovation, together with improved anthropological profiling, can lead to improved educational outcomes. (27 May, 8.50am)

The conference includes workshops on the following.

• The more than 160,000 children in New Zealand considered to be ‘vulnerable’ at any one time, and how early childhood teachers can recognize and support these children and their families. (Ruth Ham and Lynda Harris, Auckland Kindergarten Association - 25 May, 9.15am)

• The experience of a Christchurch early childhood centre, which has sought to ‘keep it positive’ despite, since August 2010, being subject to a fire that caused extensive damage and consequential temporary closure, four large earthquakes that also caused closure, two tsunami warnings, three-weeks of closure due to nearby flooding (which stopped only two houses away), and closure due to snow. (Paula Robinson, New Brighton Community Preschool and Nursery – 26 May, 11am)

• The growing use of iPads and iPods in early childhood centres and how they are being used to develop literacy, numeracy and creativity. (Ann Hatherly and Tania Coutts, CORE Education - 26 May, 11am)

• The outcomes of a research project that investigated both how and how much Auckland men engage with their children’s early childhood centres. (Dr Geoff Bridgman Unitec and Elaine Dyer, Violence Free Waitakere – 26 May, 2.55pm)

• The outcomes of the Government’s ‘participation projects’, designed to lift the number of children participating in early childhood education in communities in which participation is low. (Karl Le Quesne, Group Manager, ECE, Ministry of Education – 26 May, 2.55pm)

The Early Childhood Council is the largest representative body of licensed early childhood centres in New Zealand. Its 1100 member centres, a third of which are community-owned and two thirds commercially owned, employ more than 7000 staff, and care for tens of thousands of children.

The full conference programme can be found at http://www.ecc.org.nz/Category?Action=View&Category_id=43.

ENDS

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