The Office of Pre-Primary Education

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Early Childhood Alert No. 5, 2018

In this newsletter 

  1. Dress in green. Laugh. Have a feast. Celebrate St Patrick's Day
  2. Administering medicine
  3. The best way to boost enrolments at absolutely no cost
  4. Research on retaining early childhood teachers and job satisfaction
  5. What a primary caregiving system is and answers to common questions
  6. Getting free publicity for your ECE service
  7. Easter activities - hot cross buns and Easter biscuit recipes, crafts and games
  8. Reducing the risk of children choking when eating

  9. Staff who constantly arrive late for work
  10. Funding paid twice - when around 2,000 ECE services got to keep around $20 million 

Did you miss the special issue newsletter looking at the announcement of a new Strategic Plan for ECE, a separate review of home-based ECE, and a proposed Agenda for ECE changes? catch up with what you missed by going to a copy here


1.  Dress in green. Laugh. Have a feast. Celebrate St Patrick's Day 

Why not mark St Patrick’s Day and have some fun!  It's officially celebrated on 17th March - but you can transfer the celebration to a day when your service is open.  St Patrick's Day is a celebration that has caught on with nationalities around the world - including in New Zealand and Australia.

Read more: Pots of gold, mischievous leprechauns and more 


2.  Administering medicine

Pressure from parents and confusion over administering painkillers such as Panadol, Pamol and Ibuprofen could be putting the health of children in early childhood education services at risk.

Reports from teachers and carers show conflicting views and interpretations in ECE services over whether such painkillers should be administered to children while in care.

> Find out more. See the post on this on our Facebook page


3. The best way to boost enrolments at absolutely no cost

Quite simply the best way is word-of-mouth. New parents are busy people and it helps to reduce the time spent looking for a suitable service if it is already known from other parents what a service is like and what it offers. Take for example the following parent posts on service listings at My ECE: 

Pukeko Corner Kindergarten (go to more)

Stacey posted:  My son has been going to Pukeko since he was 2yrs, 3 months (he's now 3 & 1/2). As one of the youngest children when he started, he was exceptionally well taken care of. The staff knew my name, my husband's name, and my older child's name, from the first day! They were fantastic at settling him and supporting him through the 'Mum leaving' process. When the time came, they helped with toilet training, which was a non-issue. Now that he's older, they are wonderful at supporting his individual interests, as well as developing things like writing skills, at a pace directed by him. I am so glad we decided on Pukeko and I hope to have my next child attend as well!

Early Childhood on Stafford (go to more)

Fluerine posted:  They have a great philosophy about letting kids be kids and encouraging discovery and adventure. The children have access to the best outdoors area I have seen in any daycare centres. The staff are very committed and are proving to have a lot of knowledge of each kids, their personalities and interests. I couldn't recommend it more, we are extremely happy with our decision to use their services.

Waikanae Playcente (go to more)

Anna wrote: My son has thrived in this environment as he has learnt to interact with babies and older children all the while being given a wide range of play opportunities. I learnt more than I ever anticipated being part of playcentre. I would highly recommend it!


4. Research on retaining early childhood teachers and job satisfaction

When an early childhood sector is grappling with high teacher turnover rates and teachers are leaving in search of more satisfying positions it can help to gain an understanding of what inspires teachers to stay and not leave.  The findings of this research provide great insight for trainers, policy makers, personnel managers and employers.

Jones, C., Hadley F., & Johnstone, M. (2017). Retaining early childhood teachers: What factors contribute to high job satisfaction in early childhood settings in Australia?  NZ International Research in Early Childhood Education Journal: Special Issue "Educators and their Work", 20(2), 1-18. Retrieved from 


5. What a primary caregiving system is and answers to common questions

This article provides an easy-to-read discussion about primary caregiving in early childhood centres. It covers some common questions and concerns relating to a primary caregiving system.  A centre that has a primary caregiving system in place is often more attractive to parents than one that does not. 

Go to article


6. Getting free publicity for an ECE service

If you are planning to invite a local reporter along to your event or send a press release out, it pays to do a bit of planning beforehand to increase your chances of success. Here are some tips to get you started on the right track from Arwen Hann, ChildForum.

> Press-release preparation and getting your story out


7. Easter activities 

Early childhood professionals share their best ideas for Easter activities and games. Included in the article also are recipes for Easter eggs, hot cross buns and Easter biscuits.

> Go to the Easter teaching activities and teacher self-reflection article


8. Reducing the risk of children choking when eating

Did you know that a 14 month old attending an NZ early childhood education centre died after choking on a piece of apple?  This can happen.  It was quite a few years ago and we hope all early childhood services continue to be aware of the risks and provide staff training to reduce the risk of any child choking when eating. 

Learn about the prevention of choking and how to minimise risks within a group ECE setting


9. Staff who constantly arrive late for work  

For employers, this is a valuable article with discussion and pointers for responding to

  • a one-off or infrequent occurrence
  • an employee who is often late for work

When you can and when you should not issue a warning to fire an employee.

>  Go to ECE service member article


10.  Funding paid twice - when around 2,000 ECE services got to keep around $20 million 

This month a bulk funding payment was paid to some early childhood services twice from Government accounts. This time it was blamed on a banking error (see the post about this on our Facebook page).  The overpayment was taken straight back out of accounts.

But can you remember the time that instead of a 4 percent funding boost the Ministry gave about 2000 centres an 8 percent boost?  It was a wonderful windfall for services - and of course no one complained. By the time the Ministry picked up its mistake about a year later there were red faces and it couldn't very well demand the money back without throwing services into massive debt after spending. 

See and share this amazing news story from our history archives among your colleagues


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