ChildForum Office of Pre-Primary Education

ChildForum Office of Pre-Primary EducationLead advisor on early childhood care and education 
National membership 

Publisher of the New Zealand-International Research in Early Childhood Journal


Early Childhood Alert No. 9, 2018


  1. Funding question
  2. Help available to help keep the adults safe at your ECE service 
  3. Matariki: Time to begin to look at getting ready for celebrations next month
  4. Call for research papers - NZ International Research in ECE Journal
  5. Who counts as a teacher in the adult-child ratio and a new modern-day issue
  6. Co-construction, Problem-Solving, Scaffolding and Hypothesising: Super teaching for super success
  7. Signing for babies and toddlers
  8. How ECE teachers can easily help integrate sign language into our services
  9. Strong emphasis on staff health and safety in Australia
  10. Teachers sue for injuries caused by working with children in centres and home-based ECE
  11. A centre that walks the talk in showing it supports gender diversity
  12. Toddler's death


1. Funding question

A reason why some groups of people go for home-based as their choice of ECE is that educators are often prepared to work flexible hours - willing to work weekends or when centres may be closed. 

Parents do not all work traditional 9 to 5 Mon-Fri jobs. And what about families whose beliefs mean that their day of rest or holiday is Friday? For example, Friday is the Muslim holiday and families may not attend because it is a very special day of the week for them, but having their child in care on Saturdays can be helpful. Mosques may run English lessons, driving lessons etc for refugees on the Saturday.

Home-based agencies can be licensed for 7 days a week so you would think that there would not be a problem with funding.  But we understand that the Ministry of Education will only fund Saturday/Sunday hours retrospectively? And will not give an advance on these hours as they do for the Mon to Fri hours? This means staffing a service without funding or stopping Saturday enrolments when fees can not cover or are not payable. 

What are your thoughts on this?  or if you have any further information or problems to add - contact us at ChildForum and let us know. 


2. Help available to help keep staff safe at your ECE service 

Think about your day. The number of times you lifted children:

  • On/off change tables
  • On/off the floor
  • In/out of cots, etc...

It goes without saying that creating an excellent learning environment is always at the forefront of your mind, but it is important to also note that the majority of your day is spent doing manual handling tasks.

Edusafe helps people working in an Early Childhood environment to comply with their legal responsibility, as per the recent Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA).

The online training takes about 1 hour per person to complete. At the end of the course, each participant is issued with a certificate, valid for 12 months, which can be used as evidence of professional development. It also gives employers documented evidence of legal compliance with the new H&S at Work Act for staff training on manual handling. 

> Access this now for yourself or team 


3. Matariki: Time to begin to look at getting ready for celebrations next month

> Go to a 3 minute article with everything you need to know plus get ideas for celebrating Matariki in ECE with young children


4. Call for research papers - NZ International Research in ECE Journal

Manuscripts are now being invited to be submitted for consideration for publication in the next general issue of the New Zealand International Research in Early Childhood Education Journal. Submissions must be received before or by 5 September 2018.  

The journal publishes research results, critiques, methodological papers and theoretical articles relating to children’s education, wellbeing and care in the early years (from conception and up to eight years of age).

Research relating to teaching and learning, pedagogical approaches, early intervention, parenting, child health, child safety, child development, and teacher/parent education are particularly welcome. Papers examining a research method, an aspect of methodology, or contributing to the development of theory are also invited.

> View the Call for Papers and information on how to make a submission


5. Who counts as a teacher in the adult-child ratio and a new modern-day issue

Head teachers working in the office, the centre cook, teachers who are off on their lunch-break - should not be counted in the adult to child ratio as they are not actively caring for children. Please make sure this is widely known and check your service is properly adhering to the legal requirements. It's an issue that has come up again unfortunately and hence the need to put out this reminder. [Back in 2015 it was reported from survey findings that "teachers’ comments suggest a possible lack of enforcement by the Ministry of Education and a lack of knowledge by ECE providers/managers of the rules concerning who counts as a teacher and where the teacher needs to be in order to be counted within ratio."]

Since placing this reminder on the ChildForum Facebook page about who counts when calculating the ratio, our office has been inundated with questions and messages regarding whether ratios apply to rooms within a centre or to the centre as a whole. This is a whole new problem.  It is caused by the fact that the adult-child ratios were set decades ago, and have not changed, but the maximum licence size has changed from 50 to 150 and today there are centres that divide children by age into different rooms instead of all being together. Larger centres can comply with the legal requirements but individual rooms may be short-staffed because it would seem that the old method of calculating across the centre continues to be used.  

A second issue raised on our Facebook page is that there can be confusion between the Funding handbook which states that teachers on short breaks do not have to be counted as absent and the regulations for ratios which states that the minimum ratio must be maintained at all times, including providing cover for staff on breaks. Not replacing staff counted within the minimum ratio when they go on breaks is also a main reason why a centre can go under-ratio.

There may be something that you would like to add - go to the post about this on our Facebook page

To learn about legal and optimal adult-child ratio numbers click here to go to a chart provided by My ECE


6. Co-construction, Problem-Solving, Scaffolding and Hypothesising: Super teaching for super success

The early childhood years are a busy, exciting time. New discoveries, skills and competencies are a regular part of life for a young child. Early childhood teachers have the opportunity to optimise these amazing and important years. In this article, I will discuss teaching strategies that can turn children’s possibilities into realities.

The practices that will be discussed involve expanding thinking, problem-solving and developing hypotheses. These teaching strategies can build on children’s learning dispositions and their strengths and interests to put the ‘wow factor’ into learning.

>  Go to this hugely lively and lovely article, it's available for all members 


7. Signing for babies and toddlers

Learn about:  

  • What is baby signing?
  • History - how it developed and what the researchers discovered
  • Simple tips for getting started with baby signing 
  • Examples of some baby signs that you can easily learn and teach to infants in your care

> Go to online ECE article


8. How ECE teachers can easily help integrate sign language into our services

NZ Sign Language (NZSL) is one of the three official languages of NZ and all ECE services and teachers need a basic understanding of it. Hearing children can become more understanding of differences and Deaf children can experience an environment where they feel welcome and supported. Why learn and use NZSL in early childhood education settings.

  • Reasons for teaching and communicating in NZSL even if there are no Deaf children at the service
  • Things for teachers to consider
  • Lots of ways you can incorporate NZSL into your teaching and the service
  • Where to go for more information
  • Links to articles on baby sign language, teacher hearing loss, and related information

Find out more here


9. Strong emphasis on staff health and safety in Australia

Early childhood staff are mandated to report anything they see as unsafe - so a slippery ramp would be reportable.  Lawyers can win when a work base claim is made so an emphasis on health and safety begins at induction. Employers make every effort to provide training and information and ensure that staff sign off on being inducted to workplace practices. These include: 

  • understanding manual tasks such as how to lift children safely;
  • conduct of safety checks such as electric cords, splintery wood, slippery surfaces, etc
  • procedures such as evacuation procedures;
  • first aid procedures- who takes responsibility;
  • management of safety such as safe nappy change for the child and the employee;
    the wearing of protective equipment such as a sun hat;
  • knowing the whereabouts of workplace facilities such as where to find the disinfectant and gloves.

> Keep reading and learn more


10. Teachers sue for injuries caused by working with children in centres and home-based ECE

Um-mm this is an interesting read for reflection. It's not about NZ but definitely will be of interest to ECE providers and teachers/educators alike.   

> See the story/stories here  


11. A centre that walks the talk in showing it supports gender diversity and a non-sexist learning environment

Early Childhood on Stafford centre in Dunedin, article published on Stuff


12. Toddler's death

> Link to Maori TV 'Native Affairs': Toddler dies after suspected fall at preschool

> An article we put up following the segment on Maori TV: Toddler’s death: Too early to be naming and blaming early childhood centre

> Latest NZ Herald article: Staff did wonder if he had fallen  (note the article has been drastically shortened and originally contained more detail) 


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