Early Childhood Alert, November 2020


  1. Write to Santa
  2. Have your menu checked
  3. Where substantial scope lies for improvement in our ECE services 
  4. Regulatory challenges for the MoE and a case story of a New Shoots centre
  5. Call for papers: NZ-International Research in Early Childhood Education Journal
  6. Finding good staff without breaking the bank and advice for those who are going for a new job
  7. Equal Pay Amendment Act and teacher pay claims

ECE Advice provides business advice to ECE centres - see the advert at the end of this newsletter. 


To renew your membership if it has recently expired, or to join if you are not already a member, go to the joining page at www.childforum.com  Contact us if you have a question or need assistance in resetting your login. Our email is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  


1. Write to Santa

NZ Post works with Santa and his elves at Christmas to make sure children in NZ receive a reply to their message.  The address to send hand written/drawn letters by 30th November to get a reply in time for Christmas is:

Santa Claus,
c/o Santa’s Workshop,
North Pole 0001.

No postage stamp is needed.
Make sure the child's name and address is written clearly on the back of the envelope, so Santa knows where to send a reply. Post the letter in a post box or at a NZ Post retail outlet.

To create a letter for Santa online go to: https://writetosanta.nzpost.co.nz Note that there is a limit of 6 children's letters using the same email address.  The last day for creating an online letter to receive a reply the next day is the 23rd December.


2.  Have your menu checked 

The best place for ECE services who would like to get their menu quality reviewed by a dietitian is the Heart Foundation

Did you know that a dietitian is a registered health professional who meets specific standards and training requirement as set by the NZ Dietitians Board?  The term ‘nutritionist’ can be used by anyone.  If your service is paying for a nutritionist, check the person's qualifications and if they have a sound knowledge of the dietary requirements of young children necessary for high levels of energy and good health. 


3. Where substantial scope for improvement lies

A  new report shows there is need for a major re-think of early childhood regulation, policy, and practice.  We've got to focus more on ECE being good for children, and less on ECE services looking good for others. 

Specifically, the areas that need to be addressed if ECE is to be better for children are: 

  • making sure that children’s fundamental needs for care and learning are met;
  • not having so many children that teaching staff are engaging in crowd control;
  • ensuring sufficient staffing;
  • enabling teaching staff to focus on working with children, and not giving routines and other tasks greater priority;
  • recognising that employment practices influence the quality of ECE (e.g. if staff are overworked, poorly paid, not ECE trained, not up to the job, and not consistently present/ permanent staff);
  • making sure that the regulatory requirement for adult-child ratios is met in practice in all teacher-led centres;
  • introducing adult-child ratio regulatory requirements for classroom or group size in teacher-led centres;
  • changing the expectation that teaching staff will perform the duties expected of a professional cleaner, and educating employers on the dangers of teaching staff being expected to clean while they are also part of the adult-child ratio; and
  • the provision of non-contact time for teaching staff.

Read what teaching staff say and get the full analysis in the report which is available online here:  "Is our publicly-funded ECE good enough for children?"


4. Regulatory challenges for the MoE and a case story of a New Shoots centre

A glimpse behind the scenes and questions of what is really going on.  

Reading this case story may help to inform your view on how well the current licensing system works and what needs to change. 

See the story and find out more here    Or it can be found online at: https://www.childforum.com/news-early-childhood-education-latest/1905-new-shoots-childrens-centre.html  


5. Call for research papers

The NZIRECE Journal is an academic journal that publishes local and international research and theory relating to young children in the early years and childcare/ education settings.  


Research papers, research notes, and commentaries on topics relevant to ECE are invited

Manuscripts can now be submitted for consideration for publication in the 2021 general issue of the NZIRECE Journal and may be on any topic relevant to early childcare and education. Go to the guidelines for submission here.

A call for papers has also just been released for a journal special issue on health and wellbeing in early childhood education settings - see below. 


Journal Special Issue Theme: "Health and Wellbeing"

For this special issue, high quality papers from a range of disciplines relating to health and wellbeing in early childhood education settings are invited. Research on the effect of any aspect of the early childhood environment, pedagogy, policies and practices on the health or wellbeing of infants, toddlers, children and their educators is in scope. Papers specifically focussed on Māori or Pacific children’s health or equity would be valued.

Papers from different perspectives and on various aspects of health and wellbeing are welcomed, including but not limited to:

  • Health-related policies, workplace health and sick leave policies
  • Nutrition, mealtimes, food provision, eating behaviours
  • Breastfeeding support policy or practice
  • Food safety, allergies
  • Active play, physical activity, sedentary behaviours
  • Sleep and nap times
  • Noise management
  • Temperature and humidity
  • Space, group and centre size
  • Outdoor or natural environments, play equipment, greenspace, sun safety
  • Child or carer safety, injuries
  • Common illnesses, infection control and hygiene
  • Oral health
  • Psychological wellbeing and mental health

Find out more by going to the Call for Papers for the Special Issue, here. 


6. Finding good staff without breaking the bank and advice for those who are going for a new job

It's the time of year when staff may be considering changing their employer, students are graduating from training, and service providers are starting to look at what their staffing requirements for 2021 will be.

ECE Service Members, check out the following articles: 

Graduates, educators, teachers, and all individual members see these articles that contain many helpful tips:  


7. Equal Pay Amendment Act and Teacher Pay Claims

We are hearing of many great employers who value their teaching staff and have held special staff meetings to explain the process to their staff of putting in an individual claim.

David Haynes has kindly offered to represent teachers who would like to be represented in making a claim as an individual. Mr Haynes is submitting a large number of claims on behalf of ECE teachers who are not union members.

This is not meant to penalise employers financially. The government is the major funder of ECE. 

The case for equal pay, at least equivalent to that of 'kindergarten' and school teachers is clearly arguable. The equal pay claim is expected to proceed quite quickly. So, don't delay in informing your teaching staff and colleagues about this.

The online form for qualified and certificated teachers to register their interest and ask Mr Haynes to represent them can be accessed from this page:   https://www.childforum.com/pay-parity.html   

Note that shamefully, some centre providers are starting to gear up as a group with lawyers to delay the process and fight it.

Their opposition runs counter to the best interests of our sector, the wellbeing of children and building the quality of our ECE workforce. Their opposition also flies in the face of the views of the Education Minister in supporting pay parity for all qualified and certificated teachers.  The names of these centre owners should they proceed, will in due course be revealed and become widely known.  Check that your centre or service organisation is not one of these. 



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Porirua, 5245
New Zealand
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