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Early Childhood Alert, No 20, 2016

Newsletter Contents

Funding
1. The higher funding rates to cover the cost of employing certificated teachers in NZ ECE services could be withdrawn anytime soon. How will your service cope? A survey with 1,000 responses reveals deep concerns.  

Latest posts in the members' individual and ECE service discussion areas
2. There's a question on leave accumulation and calculating payment after a pay rise; a question with some really interesting discussion on the accuracy of calculating rates for payment of teacher wages; and an excellent job advertised for a teacher at a lovely centre in Waikanae. 

Digger winner
3. Who the winner is of the fabulous sandpit digger  

Cultural events and celebrations this month
4. Diwali
5. Halloween

Safety in the sun - or everything you need to know for sun protection policies and implementing best practices
6. Sample policy and guidance for reviewing your policy
7. How and why of sun protection for infants, toddlers and preschoolers
8. Activities and top tips for teaching and learning

New Research
9. Early childhood science and inclusion practices 

 

Buy, sell, swap, ask for a job or advertise for new staff, get help with your research, start up a new discussion, share and get ideas on any early childhood matters - Take a look and start using the awesome new online Discussion Forums for ECE services and individual members.  
Go to www.childforum.com and near the top of the screen look for the tab "DISCUSSION FORUM" click on the discussion forum to view 

 

1. Funding 

The Government could be on the verge of taking away funding that has proven to be an effective incentive for early childhood services to employ and remunerate certificated teachers appropriately.

In the early childhood education sector there is no other incentive for services to recruit and compete for the best teachers - ECE is not part of the state education school system and the majority of services are privately owned.

In 2011 when the qualified and certificated teacher target along with funding was reduced from 100% to 80% we saw staff redundancies and significant losses in annual income for services.

The certificated teacher funding now looks likely to be withdrawn altogether. Some indications of this are:

  • The target of 80% certificated teachers has been reached with the majority of ECE services now meeting or exceeding this target.
  • A report commissioned by the Ministry of Education warns of the risk of fiscal pressure on the Government from increasing wages / salaries in the sector. The certificated teacher funding exposes the Government to this risk.
  • The Education Minister’s personal advisory group for the review of education funding systems lacked sufficient representation of early childhood interests and leaders with actual expertise in ECE. The funding proposals reflect a near absence of understanding of the special characteristics of the ECE sector and its needs. The certificated teacher funding and the gains made in uplifting the quality of staffing over the last decade are not presented as being politically important any longer.
  • The Minister of Education does not seem to like that funding goes towards ECE services having more certificated teachers working with children, stating in a paper presented to cabinet that the funding has “effectively tied staff to the floor hampering change and innovation.

We know from past experience that Education Ministers can bring in changes as they wish with little or no consultation and before the sector has time to really grasp what is happening. For example when the 100% teacher target and funding was dropped and when the maximum group/ centre licence size was changed from 50 to 150 children to reduce pressure on government to increase funding to ECE services.

Our survey with 1000 responses reveals deep concerns that even worse outcomes would occur this time round.

> Read more

 

2. Latest posts in the members' discussion areas

There's:

 

3. Winner of the prize draw from all comments posted on any ChildForum website article last month 

The name drawn out of the hat as the lucky winner of a brand new wooden sandpit digger crafted by Bryan Millar at Pioneer Wooden Toys was - kindergarten head teacher Joceline Triscott! Congratulations Joceline.  

Joceline posted a comment on our article about the NZ government's plan to lower the entry age for primary school to before a child's 5th birthday and make school compulsory to attend from the day the child starts with no opportunity for a change of mind if an early start proves too stressful. (read more).

 

4. Celebrating Diwali or Deepavali, the Indian Festival of Lights

At the end of October, Diwali will be celebrated. This celebration is a fun way to bring Indian music and culture to early childhood education and care settings. We recommend an article by Karen Miller for great ideas on participation and activities.

> Go to Karen's article

 

5.  Halloween, 31st October

Halloween is one of the oldest celebrations dating back almost 2000 years. It is a tradition that is becoming more and more popular in New Zealand and Australia, especially as shops engage in marketing to children. 

> See our early childhood teaching discussion and ideas for Halloween

 

6.  Sun protection sample policy for centres and home-based services

In NZ and Australia from Sept/October 2016 to March/April 2017 sun protection is important for all children and adults - and when outside especially between the hours of 10am and 4pm.

ECE providers and all centre and home-based teachers are recommended to read the following information and review and refresh their service's sun protection policy.  

Below is a link to an article that outlines:

  • what your legal and professional accountability is
  • guidelines for policy development
  • the recommended frequency of and reasons for review
  • and a sample policy/ template

>  Policy help and review

 

7. Knowledge on sun protection that all adults and ECE providers should hold

Test your own and your colleagues knowledge to be sure you all know and understand best practices and are able to explain why these are important.  

In the knowledge resource (see the link below) we have lots of helpful tips for coping with common dilemmas such as getting parent support for appropriate sun hats. 

>  Go to knowledge resource 

 

8. Lots of cool activities for teaching children about summer and safety in the sun

Lots of easy to implement ideas for teaching and learning about sun protection and being safe in the sun are provided in this article.

We discuss the value of capturing teachable moments and also that you can hold planned discussions on particular sun safety topics. Ideas are given for conversations you can have with infants, toddlers and young children during caregiving routines, such as nappy changing times and lunch times.

Some science investigations that preschoolers can really enjoy and learn from are outlined.

Ideas for art and craft activities, drama activities including pretend play, group games, along with a sample of suitably themed songs, rhymes and poems are provided here also.

Go to our members' article

 

9.  New Research 

Science learning is important for all children as it is an approach to thinking and behaving that incorporates aspects of motor, behavioural, sensory, communication and mental functioning.

Children from diverse situations can contribute at their own level to the opportunities involved in exploration and investigations. Through a review of international literature and consolidation of several Australian research projects, this paper discusses inclusive pedagogy and planning in early childhood centres with a particular focus on science learning through play and child-instigated explorations.

>  Go to the NZRECE Journal 2016 article by Coral Campbell 

 

Have you got news to share?

Let us know in 150 words or less and your news may be included in the next newsletter.

> Contact us

 

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