New Zealand’s parents will be better informed about early childhood education with the launch of the My ECE website (www.myece.org.nz) on Thursday 26th September 2013.
With the Government targeting spending in early childhood education (ECE) towards funding more places in ECE with a view to increasing enrolments of 0 – 5 year olds, it is now more important that parents make well-researched choices about their child’s care.
My ECE makes it easier for parents to understand the most important things they need to know about ECE and how to choose the best service for their child.
Parents will now have everything they need to choose an ECE service and get the best from their child’s service -- all at one place. My ECE will offer access to a directory of early childhood services across New Zealand along with statistics and ratings, and descriptions of the different types of service available. It will also feature information about funding and the different fees, minimum regulations and standards for ECE services, and the New Zealand ECE curriculum in an easy to understand format, along with advice on all aspects of early education and care with everything from settling a child into a new service to healthy eating.
Founder of the My ECE website Dr Sarah Alexander has made sure that the resources are up to date, easy to read and contain high quality information. Dr Alexander has been able to use her expertise as a researcher and experience in the sector and as a parent to ensure other parents are well informed in this important area of their child’s life.
Dr Alexander said she hoped the website would help parents to become active in their child’s early childhood education and care. Several resources have been developed to help parents take a more active role in their child’s ECE service. For example, a parent complaint form and a document outlining the basic rights of children in ECE are both available on the website.
My ECE should help drive improvements in quality throughout the sector. “Greater transparency is vital to improving NZ’s early childhood sector,” says Dr Alexander.
“Now that parents can get key details about ECE services easily and compare services, this will likely motivate ECE providers who are not performing well to do better,” says Dr Alexander. “We are hoping to see a positive contagion effect whereby others will be motivated by those ECE providers who get higher ratings to also go for this.”
Dr Alexander said the website is also designed to offer a wide range of information of interest to parents. “Parents can look up articles written by ECE experts on topics they are curious about and discuss online with others, things such as what to pack in the lunch-box or whether it is good for a child to become emotionally attached to a teacher.”
My ECE is a very extraordinary development, the significance of which is huge for charting the future course of ECE provision and policy and enabling parents to have more say in their child’s care and input into and influence on the quality of ECE.
- Government spending on early childhood education in the 2012 fiscal year was $1,561,567,000 (excl. GST)
- Nearly 200,000 children attend one or more of the over 4,000 licensed early childhood education services across the country, including around 8,500 babies under 1 year old.
- The current National government has committed to a target of 98% of new school entrants having attended ECE by 2016.
- One of the National Party’s five election promises for ECE in 2011 was to “make available interactive web tools providing good information about services, allowing parents to compare ECE services in their area”.
- My ECE will be free for parents to access and information will be available to download.
- Not all ECE services are currently listed on the My ECE website. New listings will be added progressively over the coming months.