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|News for Early Childhood Education|
Submissions are being called for a programme to guide the renewal of the early childhood, school, and tertiary network in Canterbury following the earthquake devastation.
Education Minister Hekia Parata says that "among the ideas being proposed is the establishment of education campuses which would see tertiary education, schools, early childhood education and social services on a single site."
The 'Directions for Educational Renewal' draft plan outlines how ECE services have been affected in Christchurch and the greater Christchurch area. "Eleven early childhood centres have been permanently closed. Ten have had their licences suspended. Seven centres are in temporary premises, pending decisions on buildings; five more are on red-zoned land that is to be cleared".
ECE enrolments dropped by a total of 1,080, including 85 Māori children and 60 Pasifika children as families have left the city and parents have wanted to keep their child at home close to them. The draft plan states that many existing early childhood services are now left financially vulnerable with fewer children, parents using fewer hours, and less predictability in attendance for funding claims from the Ministry of Education.
The following 3 proposals for ECE renewal in the greater Christchurch region put forward in the report are:
1. To ensure that demand for ECE services is met in the short and long term to be achieved by:
- actively monitoring demand and capacity to support sector investment and decision-making;
- providing access to business advice and support to individual services;
- making greater use of relocatable and modular buildings to quickly provide services in areas of need;
- provision of grants, where necessary, to establish new services in areas of need;
- locating ECE services as part of collective education hubs where other social services may also be co-located;
- where appropriate, making provision for the establishment of ECE facilities on school sites.
2. To ensure that the identities, languages, and cultures of learners continue to be valued and supported, to be achieved by:
- working with Ngāi Tahu to develop ECE provision that better supports the identity, language and cultural needs of Māori and enables Māori to enjoy educational success as Māori;
- establishing further bilingual and immersion ECE services;
- working with the Te Kōhanga National Trust to secure and strengthen the role of kōhanga reo;
- supporting a strong Māori immersion network by such means as increasing the number of awards available to teachers in greater Christchurch to train in Māori immersion and bilingual teaching;
- establishing an umbrella organisation to aid Pasifika ECE in their administration, management, and development of resources and teaching staff.
3: To encourage ECE participation by families from priority groups, to be achieved by:
- identifying families not currently involved in ECE, working with them to establish and maintain participation, and then ensuring effective transitions onto school;
- developing culturally responsive supported playgroups for vulnerable and isolated families to establish community connection and a sense of belonging;
- working with social service agencies to get wrap-around support and ensure families are receiving full entitlements in order to access ECE services and programmes.
Submissions on the Draft Plan open on May 11 and close on May 31 2012 - click here for submission information.
Directions for Educational Renewal report, click here.
Parents' choices for childcare/early education following the Christchurch earthquakes, click here.