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 18, 2019

Editor's note

Parents of a child recently injured at a centre have gone straight to the police with their concerns.  This is what parents see they have to do now because the Ministry of Education as the regulator is quite clearly failing children. It shows that an external review of the ministry's regulatory work is urgent and must be done. 

Problems with the ministry's regulatory work first came to light a few years ago as parents began turning to the media for help (e.g. parents of an 8 month old seriously burned in December 2015 while bathing at a Bright Sparks Childcare centre in Auckland, dressed and left in pain for the day with no medical assistance sought and the parents not contacted, went public with their story in March 2016 and called for better monitoring).

As service owners, managers, teachers and educators, we all need to place pressure on the Ministry of Education to focus on assessing that everything is safe.  We do not want to see participation rates drop and new parents turning their backs on using ECE.

We are sharing with you an article by Dr Sarah on the Ministry's involvement in ensuring child safety (see item 1 below).



  1. Urgent External Review of Ministry of Education's Regulatory Work Needed 
  2. Celebrating Diwali or Deepavali
  3. Halloween Thurs 31 October
  4. Pay Reviews
  5. A Family Protests the Appointment of a Teacher who is a Man
  6. The Pay Parity Campaign: Supporting Funding for Pay Parity for All Teachers in ECE with Kindergarten and Primary Peers 
  7. Curriculum: Creating edible gardens

 If you missed last next week's newsletter that included the topic of sun protection for children in Terms 4 & 1, go to the newsletter here.  


1. Urgent External Review of Ministry of Education's Regulatory Work Needed

"The most basic expectation any parent has when using an early childhood education service is that their child will come home alive and unharmed at the end of the day.

"However, this is the situation: The Ministry of Education acknowledges limitations on its involvement in making sure children are safe.

"In April 2019, the Secretary for Education Iona Holsted and two of her officials agreed to meet with myself and the parents of a toddler who nearly died in 2016 at a Rotorua early childhood centre and now has permanent brain injury after choking on raw apple. The meeting came after the release of a report into the handling of the tragic incident which received considerable media and public interest. In its statements to the media the ministry made some serious errors - see a rebuttal of the ministry's statements here

" A good thing that came out of the meeting was that the child’s parents received an apology from the ministry for never having had any contact with them and for not knowing of the family’s complaints about the standard of Worksafe’s report.

" But unfortunately, change is probably not going to happen any time soon and here are the reasons why.

... learn more by going to the article here


2.  Celebrating Diwali or Deepavali

Have you had time to think about and plan to celebrate Diwali or Deepavali, the Indian Festival of Lights at your service or place of work? 

  • About Diwali
  • Music, dancing, the sari
  • Foods
  • Ways to create rangoli patterns
  • The best resources
  • What to take care over and what to avoid

>  Go to member's resource 


3. Halloween Thurs 31 October 

Halloween is one of the oldest celebrations dating back almost 2000 years. It has caught on in NZ and Australia and many countries outside of the USA.

Children will talk about it and ask questions and as educators we can't pretend Halloween isn't happening. So be thinking now about what you might say, and whether or not you will support Halloween activities.

Ways to mark Halloween and some alternative ECE ideas


4. Pay Reviews

New guidance for teachers and staff

  1. Getting over fear to ask for a pay rise
  2. What your employer's obligations are
  3. Preparing to negotiate and what you can expect

> Go to article 

New guidance for service owners and managers 

  1. What are employer’s legal responsibilities and moral obligations?
  2. When to undertake pay reviews
  3. How to conduct a pay review
  4. Teachers-in-training and graduating teachers
  5. Unqualified teachers
  6. Management and leadership roles
  7. Further information

Regular annual pay reviews can help in developing and retaining a high-skilled and loyal staff.  Reviewing staff pay is also a useful exercise to ensure that each member of staff is receiving pay that is appropriate and all legal obligations continue to be met.

 > Go to article


5. A Family Protests the Appointment of a Teacher who is a Man

An early childhood centre manager asks: "After informing our parents that 2 new teachers had been appointed for the start of term, a mother said she did not want one of these teachers, a man, to have any contact with her daughter and that she must never be in the same group with him. We agreed to her demands as she said she would take her daughter out otherwise but we are feeling very uncomfortable about this. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated thank you". 

> Read more


ECE Teacher Pay Parity Poster pay discrimination small size6. Supporting Pay Parity for all teachers in ECE with kindergarten and primary peers  

The first thing you can do is sign the petition that will go to Parliament.  Many of you have already done this. Thank you. Please also share this with colleagues and families and ask for their support of the petition.  Go to:

The ECE Pay Parity Book is available for everyone.  It includes pay scales, funding rates, explanations on what the government will get out of funding pay parity, can we count on the Government Strategic Plan or not to deliver pay parity, the difference to teacher pay other government policies might have, and much more.  

Then there are postcards for you to send to the Minister of Education and to other parties’ ECE spokespeople.  These and other resources are available at the Pay Parity Campaign page here

We will keep you posted as things develop.

Best regards from your pay parity steering group,
Sarah, Karen and David


7.  Curriculum:  Creating Edible Gardens

Did you know you can eat the flowers from some vegetables? Here are a couple you can try:

  • Runner beans - red and juicy flowers
  • Peas - white, crunchy and sweet flowers

Always check with someone before eating vegetable flowers as some can be poisonous and cannot be eaten - like potato flowers!

You can plant any vegetable seeds in your early childhood service and at home.

Here is a list of vegetables which are more suitable to grow due to their speed of growth and their ‘fun’ factor.

It is also nice to have vegetables growing that are suitable for children and adults to ‘graze’ on whilst working in the garden.

> Read about some research, find out what early childhood services are doing and get some great ideas


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