More Early Childhood Centres on the Way

  • Brian Donnelly
Associate Minister of Education

Allocations totalling nearly $5.7 million in discretionary grants for early childhood centres throughout the country were announced today by Associate Education Minister Brian Donnelly.

Eight new Maori immersion centres and six new Pacific Islands early childhood centres will be built as a result.

"These grants help local groups establish new centres or upgrade existing ones," Mr. Donnelly said. "They can also help early childhood centres remove health and safety hazards, such as lead paint or asbestos roofing, and upgrade their toilet facilities."

The Government contributes up to 80% funding assistance under a grants scheme established in 1990 to stimulate growth in early childhood education.

Applications for the early childhood discretionary grants are invited each year from early childhood centres with projects that are ready to proceed. The successful applicants have to fund at least a fifth of the cost and the Government meets the difference.

Grants for individual property-related projects are divided into three pools: General $2.885 million, Te Reo Maori $1.8 million, and Pacific Islands $1 million.

Mr. Donnelly said this year's grants would support a total of seventy-one projects, including new centres in Northland, Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Hawke's Bay, Nelson and Southland

In the allocation of the Te Reo Maori Immersion Pool, priority was given to funding centres where
the principal language of communication is Maori, and where there is whanau involvement in all
aspects of the centres' operations. A total of eight new immersion centres would be able to proceed.

The Pacific Islands pool would allow work to start soon on six new Pacific Islands early childhood
centres in the Auckland region, catering for well over a hundred children under five.

Mr. Donnelly said that, as was to be expected with applications for the kind of support available, the
demand exceeded the level of funding available.

"All applicants can be assured that their cases were given close consideration, and that a fair and
transparent process was used to set the priorities and allocate the funding."