New plan for high quality early learning

A bold ten year plan looks to restore the Government’s commitment to quality in early learning, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today.

“Moving towards 100 percent qualified teachers in early childhood education centres and improving adult:child ratios are among some of the key proposals for change put forward by the sector and experts in the new draft ten year strategic plan for early learning,”  Chris Hipkins said.

The draft plan, He taonga te tamaiti, sets the direction for early learning for the next 10 years and is open for consultation until 15 March 2019.

“This Government wants New Zealand to be the best place in the world to be a child, and an important part of that is giving every child the best early learning experience.

“This ten year vision for early learning puts the focus back on quality, picking up on the huge progress made by the last Labour Government.

“All the evidence shows that early learning gives children a head start in life, improves their wellbeing and contributes to a happy safe childhood. But only if it’s high quality. 

“Participation in early learning has grown in recent years, but this doesn’t mean that all children have access to high quality learning opportunities. 

“This is why I appointed a Ministerial Advisory Group and a Reference Group to work with the sector and the Ministry of Education on a new Strategic Plan for Early Learning. I asked them to focus on three themes:  quality, equity, and choice.  

“Their draft plan released today sets out a path to develop and strengthen the early learning sector over the next 10 years, to meet the needs of all children and their families and whānau,” Chris Hipkins said. 

Key proposals for change include:

  • moving towards a 100% qualified teacher workforce in early childhood education centres
  • improving the adult:child ratios for babies and toddlers
  • increasing the consistency and levels of teacher salaries and conditions across the sector
  • a more planned approach to establishing new services, greater support and increased monitoring.

“The draft plan will see some significant changes in the sector, including the increase in demand for qualified teachers.

“This is a long term commitment which requires a staged approach to allow time for the sector to respond to the changes and additional workforce demands.

“I am keen to hear from families and whānau, kaiako, service providers, educators and the wider community about the specific changes suggested, as well as the proposed timeline for implementation,” Chris Hipkins said.

Consultation will include an online survey as well as a series of hui around the country. 

Notes:

Here is the draft Strategic Plan for Early Learning and here is the Cabinet paper.