Early Learning General News – July 2019

General news for the Early Learning sector for July 2019 including information about the new emergency contact tool.

New emergency contact tool

In an emergency we want to connect with you as quickly and simply as possible. We want to know if you need our help.

We have developed Mataara, a school and early learning service emergency mass contact tool. Mataara allows us to quickly text you in the event of an emergency in your area (such as a fire, flood or earthquake). You can then reply to our message by text letting us know the status of your service. We can then collate this information and plan a response. We can also provide useful information to other agencies such as NZ Police and Civil Defence.

Mataara is now available for use across the country. We can generate a text message very quickly to all schools and early learning services in a specified area or nationwide.

Mataara is easy to use and sends a text to a mobile phone. After we send you a message regarding an emergency, you simply reply using the number which corresponds to your status:

1 = Open
2 = Open - NEED HELP
3 = Closed
4 = Closed - NEED HELP

Don’t worry, you don’t need to memorise these numbers, they will be in the text. Responding with the relevant number allows us to quickly identify if you need help. You can also add additional text to your reply.  Please note that you cannot initiate the emergency texting process.

If you reply with 2. or 4. indicating that you need help, we will contact you. If you do not respond to our message, we will follow up by phone and/or email.

Mataara is free for you to use. The message comes from 8707 and will only be used by the Ministry.  You may like to save this number to your phone as assurance that it has come from us.

We are working to include another option of sending an email for rural services as a backup in case the mobile infrastructure is out. We are also working to include a second emergency contact as a backup in the event that the primary contact is away. We will update you as these are further developed.

Gifted learner awards

As part of the new package of support for gifted education, submissions for awards for gifted learners are now open. The twice-yearly awards are open for gifted learners in three categories – early learning awards, primary awards and secondary awards.

The awards include early learners or groups of learners who identify as gifted or have exceptional abilities.

These awards are designed to support children to take part in something they’re really interested in, challenging and extending them and supporting their overall wellbeing.

There may be children who would like to explore their passion with an expert or other like-minded children, develop an artefact, access resources, or do an experiment. Children may want to visit a special place of interest, for instance with a culture, craft, outdoor or language focus. The possibilities are open and we hope as many children as possible take up this opportunity.

Submissions for the awards opened on 26 July and close on 30 August. Awards will be announced on 31 October.

For more information please visit the awards for Gifted Learners page on the TKI website.

Awards for gifted learners - TKI website(external link)

For further information about the new package and support for kaiako please see the Gifted Learners page on the TKI Website.

Gifted Learners - TKI website(external link)

We encourage you to forward this to your local kaiako and early learning services.

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