Early Childhood Alert, December 2020

The office will be open and staffed over the holiday break to process membership enquiries and provide support to members - contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Our website provides a wealth of information on practice, policy, and research if you are planning to do some catch-up reading - www.childforum.com 

Matters to do with proposed changes in regulations can wait till next year.  You shouldn't be burdened with this now.

In the new year, we'll provide:

  • advice on how to successfully manage implementation of the new licensing criteria around food safety and quality for children, and
  • how to respond to questions that the MoE is asking as part of consultation on its proposed changes to ECE regulations.

Enjoy your break, take care of yourselves and your whānau. Meri Kirihimete me ngā mihi nui o te tau hou. 


Christmas wishesContents

  1. 20-Hour ECE Funding change on what you can charge parents
  2. How the participation of children in ECE has been affected by COVID-19
  3. Equal Pay claims - what you need to know
  4. Christmas ECE Activities and Teaching
  5. Write to Santa
  6. Your posts
  7. Alcohol and the ECE service's legal obligations
  8. Have you done some good early childhood research recently?
  9. It's the season for vandalism and burglary


1. 20-Hour Funding Change on Claiming Contributions from Parents for Additional Staffing

Following the reintroduction of the 100% funding band on 1 January 2021 services will no longer be able to request additional payments from parents to help contribute the cost of having more than 80% certificated teachers.

The Ministry of Education continues to allow optional charges for:

  • aspects of provision that are not required by regulation
  • additional staff beyond the minimum regulated adult/child ratios
  • items that parents may either provide for their own children, or pay for the service to provide.

Parents who choose not to pay an optional charge must receive at least the standard of service required by the regulations. It is the responsibility of the service providing 20-Hours ECE to ensure parents do not pay a fee for hours covered by 20-Hours ECE, either to the service provider or to the educator (in the case of a Home-based service).


2. How the participation of children in ECE has been affected by COVID-19

Has participation in ECE recovered following the lockdown(s)? And, what has Covid-19 meant to the number of new enrolments and attendance in 2020 compared with 2019?

You can find a short summary of a new report by the Ministry of Education here (a 2-minute read)  


3. Equal Pay Claims - What you need to know

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 who are not union members of putting in an individual claim.

David Haynes has kindly offered to represent qualified and certificated teachers who would like to be represented by him in making a claim as an individual. The claim is expected to proceed quite quickly since comparators are already available. Many employers have already agreed that the claim is arguable. The government is the major funder of ECE and this will advantage services as well as ensuring that teachers can be paid what they are worth.  

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   

One organisation appears to be behind service providers putting pressure on individual staff to withdraw their claims. Time will tell that this bad advice is to the disadvantage of the services.  It is also illegal behaviour. 

  • Once a claimant has appointed a representative the Equal Pay Amendment Act (s13C) says that the employer must deal with that representative, and not with the employee, on all matters related to the claim.
  • All employers are bound by the Employment Relations Act. They are bound to act in good faith and to be a good employer.
  • It is illegal for employers to discriminate against claimants in any way.  The Equal Pay Amendment Act states that claimants must not be treated adversely (s15) and it forbids "oppressive means, undue influence, or duress" in negotiating a settlement (s13ZI).

Go to employer information about equal pay claim(s) here 


4. Christmas ECE Activities and Teaching

An ECE guide with ideas for Christmas gifts for children to make, art and craft activities, Christmas games to play. It includes a discussion on answering children's difficult questions and talking with children from different religions and with different cultural beliefs about the reasons for the celebration. You can find the Christmas ECE gifts and activity page online here.


5. 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.  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.


6. Your Posts

Buying or selling?
Perhaps you would like to trade some equipment or resources?
Place your advertising post on our online page which you can find by clicking here 

Permanent Part-time Teacher Auckland
We are seeking a responsible and motivated Qualified Registered ECE Teacher (new-graduate welcomed), to join-in a small, cheerful, supportive team at a boutique ECE Centre located on Main Highway, Ellerslie.  Find out more, see the full job advert here.


7. Alcohol and the ECE service's legal obligations 

It is a legal requirement that services must "ensure that children do not come into contact with any person on the premises who is under the influence of alcohol or any other substance that has a detrimental effect on their functioning or behaviour".  This includes parents, visitors, teachers, managers, and owners.  Read more

Ensure there is no alcohol left or stored on the premises. And, check the hand sanitiser does not contain alcohol (you may recall the 2014 case of a child at a centre who got drunk on their centre's hand sanitiser). 


8. Have you done some good early childhood research recently?

Now is your chance to submit a paper for consideration for publication. There are currently calls for papers for two forthcoming journal issues


9. Vandalism and burglary over the festive season

Thefts of outdoor play equipment often occur over the Christmas period. The probability of vandalism to property increases when services are closed.  

Some tips:

  • Put any outdoor equipment that is not fixed into locked storage
  • Invest in some outdoor security cameras
  • Be friendly with neighbours and enlist their support to report any suspicious behaviour
  • Should your service be open over the festive season, devote additional time to doing the playground safety check every morning before children arrive. Use the hazard identification and safety management checklist (get copies here).   


PO Box 58-078
Porirua, 5245
New Zealand
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