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Early Childhood Alert No. 3, 2017


1.  The Grapevine

2.  Inadequate checking of early childhood education standards may lead to danger

3.  Kids' needs could be forgotten in debate over earlier school entry

4.  Reading readiness: 7 signs that a child is ready to go from listening to reading

5.  How to increase your service's revenue and bring in more money

6.  Sleep and rest times for children and parents' different wishes

7.  Playdough - the best recipes, accessories to have, tips for extending play, and debate on food-based play 


1. The Grapevine

This is a new section in the newsletter that we are trialling and to see if it is something that you would like to be continued or not. If you have an idea for something to include in next week's Grapevine, drop us a line at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..   And if you know more on anything mentioned in this week's Grapevine let us know too. 

Still a push to grow the number of services and places
The deadline for Government's Better Public Service ECE participation target of 98% children in ECE in 2016 has passed so its weird that the Ministry of Education is continuing to offer grants to business operators to support the target. The year has only just really started but already offers of up to $100,000 to providers to grow or establish more ECE services have been put up for grabs in Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Whanganui, Manawatu and Northland.  Read more.

Who is controlling who or perhaps getting into bed with who? 
The NZ Police were publicly threatened last year by business lobbyist, the ECC, with legal action over delays in police vetting as the NZ Police were trying to cope with a nationwide influx of requests. The ECC were complaining that its centres were losing money by not being able to speedily employ unqualified people without practising certificate who had not been vetted. This wasn't good for the public image of ECE. The Ministry of Education seems to be calming the situation down with its support of the ECC along with Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand (which seems to be aligning itself more with the ECC these days) to do a survey of centres in their groups. What the centres in Te Rito Maioha ECNZ might not realise in doing the survey in good faith is that they could be sharing their contact details, IP address,or business info with the ECC. 

Karori Kids Preschool and Campbell Kindergarten are saved!
Two early childhood education centres in Karori will stay right where they are, after a decision to transfer some of Victoria University's Karori campus back to the Ministry of Education. Read more 

New union for ECE
There's talk of a new union for ECE. It seems there is disillusionment by some early childhood centre teachers with NZEI.  But is this really a good idea?  More in next week's newsletter.

New early childhood curriculum - Te Whariki
The Ministry of Education is due to release the new curriculum unless its had a change of mind regarding timeline. More in next week's newsletter. 


2. Inadequate checking of early childhood education standards may lead to danger

An infant was burned horribly while being bathed at an early childhood centre in December 2015. He was 8 months old at the time. It would seem that the centre did not call for emergency help or medical assistance, and the Ministry later found it was operating in breach of some regulations. This would have remained fully covered-up had the child's parent later not talked to the media. 

At the end of last year we learnt about serious incidents at two other early childhood centres only because the media reported on these following the centres calling for emergency help.

> Go to the full online article for details, discussion, and questions arising


3.  Kids' needs could be forgotten in debate over earlier school entry

In the debate about school entry age and making it compulsory to attend from the date of starting instead of from 6 years, the issue of loss of revenue for early childhood education services has been raised by a few with business interests in the sector.

But a bigger problem for the early childhood education sector is what the proposed law change implies about how the Government views ECE.

It will become compulsory for children to attend school from the first day of enrolment. Parents and new entrant teachers can probably say goodbye to the flexibility of allowing a child to have an afternoon off, to start gradually by attending perhaps only a few days a week, or to withdraw and start a term or two later if the child finds it hard to cope.

Children are a valuable part of our society, and in the debates that follow about these changes, their well-being must be at the centre of any thinking.

> Read more in the full article published this week on the Stuff news website 


4.  Reading readiness: 7 signs that a child is ready to go from listening to reading

How can you tell if a child is ready to go from listening to stories to reading stories? Here is a short list of behaviours, skills, and interests which point to a child being likely to be ready for reading.

> Go to article


5. How to increase your service's revenue and bring in more money

Money is important - new equipment may be needed or need to be repaired, there will be staff wages and requests for pay increases, bills must be paid, and unless as much or more money is coming in than is going out your service could come to be at risk.

This article gives a range of different ideas and strategies that have proven successful for different services.

The strategies will go a long way to maintaining financial sustainability and increasing your service's revenue stream - though which strategies you choose will likely reflect your values.

> Learn more


6.  Sleep and rest times for children and parents' different wishes 

Differences in opinion as to whether a child should have a nap or not have led to tensions and stand-offs between teachers, parents and children in some centres and home-based services. 

This article discusses and provides information on:

  1. Parents’ wishes and worries
  2. The challenges for ECE services of meeting parent wishes
  3. Solutions and answers
  4. Research on the importance of sleep for pre-school aged children
  5. Guidelines for how much sleep on average a child at different ages should have

> Learn more


7.  Playdough recipes and play extension tips

Here we've got an all-time favourite recipe of early childhood teachers for cooked playdough, along with many other recipes for playdough to meet different purposes, accessories to have, and tips for extending learning and play. 

> Go to the Playdough guide

See also an earlier story looking at debate on cultural sensitivity around food-based play and how hygienic playdough is when used by many children

Playing with playdough is an everyday occurrence at most ECE services, but the humble pastime has hit the news this week with suggestions that playdough and other food based play ideas are culturally insensitive.

> What's all the fuss about playdough?


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