Story image

ECNZ says ‘about time’ for early learning investments

06 Oct 2015

New Zealand’s early learning sector is worthy of investment and the Advisry Group of Learning report is more than welcome, says the Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand (ECNZ).

Education Minister Hekia Parata released the report last week, which lays out recommendations for early childhood education (ECE) investments. [link to this story: Changes to NZ's early education could require significant investment]

Nancy Bell, ECNZ chief executive, says the standout recommendations in the report were around the development of web-based resources to support Te Whāriki (the early childhood curriculum), strengthening transitions from ECE to school, professional development programmes for ECE leaders and early years teachers, and early learning clusters and teacher inquiry time.

Digitisation

Members welcome the updating and digitising of Te Whāriki and the development of modular web-based resources.

‘Te Whāriki was developed 20 years ago and is highly regarded internationally for its visionary bicultural framework but it is timely to update it,’ says Bell.

“As the report states, childhood has changed since 1996 and the curriculum document needs to reflect this.”

Transitioning

Bell says while most ECE services and schools already have transition policies, it is necessary to make these mandatory, and about time they be strengthened and reviewed.

‘It’s great to see this focus on transition to school – a time of opportunity and also risk for a child.

“Thoughtful attention to this critical period will help all children but especially those whose home language is not English and children with special educational needs,” she says.

Professional development

The report recommends significant investment in professional development to strengthen curriculum implementation and learning continuity across the early years, and this is something the sector has been seeking for some time, according to Bell.

‘ECE has been largely ignored when it comes to Government’s systemic investment in professional leadership. Investing in leaders is a cost-effective way to strengthen learning.

‘Recommendations related to shared professional development early years teachers (ECE and primary) are also welcomed.

“We understand that resourcing for these programmes is being considered as part of government’s overall PLD investments and await further information.

“There is no doubt that resourcing in PLD will be key to achieving shifts in practice,” she says.

Early-learning clusters

According to Bell, ECNZ welcomes the recommendations on early-learningclusters and teacher inquiry.

“Sharing of best practice that supports strong learning outcomes is consistent with international best practice,” she says.

Bell says Minister Parata has advised that she intends to use the recently established Communities of Learners as the primary vehicle for bringing educators together.

According to Bell, funding will be required for ECE services to be able to release teachers to take part.

The report also recommends that qualified teachers have paid released time for two hours per week for inquiry that supports children’s learning.

Bell says, ‘While most employers would agree that this is highly desirable, the provision of additional non-contact time would be impossible for many employers unless it were government funded.

“Employers are already struggling to make ends meet and this is unlikely to be affordable without significant increases to funding rates.’

Mozilla launches Firefox Send, an encrypted file transfer service
Mozille Firefox has launched a free encrypted file transfer service that allows people to securely share files from any web browser – not just Firefox.
Online attackers abusing Kiwis' generosity in wake of Chch tragedy
It doesn’t take some people long to abuse people’s kindness and generosity in a time of mourning.
Apple launches revamped iPad Air & iPad mini
Apple loves tinkering with its existing product lines and coming up with new ways to make things more powerful – and both the iPad Air and iPad mini seem to be no exception.
Epson innovations and Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport
The world’s greatest motorsport event, the Formula One Grand Prix World Championship, descended on Melbourne’s Albert Park over the weekend for the first race of the 2019 season.
Tesla unveils the Model Y SUV
After much anticipation, Tesla unveiled the Model Y last week – a vehicle that is described as an all-electric, mid-size SUV that can seat seven adults – and the vehicle has a glass roof.
Preparation for Tokyo 2020 Olympics begins - with robots
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are quickly approaching, but it won’t just be a sea of athletes and sports fans – now robots will make up a significant part of the fan experience.
Updated: NZ ISPs block internet footage of Christchurch shootings
2degrees, Spark, Vodafone and Vocus are now blocking any website that shows footage of the mosque shootings.
How AI could warn civilians before a volcanic eruption
Advance monitoring could lead to better disaster planning and evacuation warnings in the event of an eruption.