Early Learning Regional News – March 2019
Regional News / General News / Other News updates for March 2019 from the Directors of Education for each Ministry of Education region.
- Tai Tokerau
- Bay of Plenty, Waiariki
- Hawke’s Bay, Tairawhiti
- Taranaki, Whanganui, Manawatū
- Nelson, Marlborough, West Coast
- Canterbury | Chatham Islands
- Otago, Southland
Tēnā koutou katoa
ECE Kāhui Ako / Communities of Learning funding
A reminder to all early learning services that are approved members of a Kāhui Ako | Community of Learning that funding is available to support your participation and collaboration within your Kāhui Ako.
Early learning representation in a Kāhui Ako helps meet the needs of children by supporting positive education outcomes from an early age, laying the foundation for a lifetime of learning. If we receive your funding application before 30 June 2019 you will be entitled to funding for both this and the next financial year. After 1 July 2019 you will only be eligible for one payment. You can read more about this and find an application form on our website.
Early Years Hub Dargaville – TAP project
Dargaville Hub & HIPPY Trust were contracted in 2018 to create innovative ways of getting children and their families engaged in early childhood education. They have certificated four playgroups and provide a co-ordinator to run the sessions. For many parents this is the highlight of their week as they socialise with other parents and learn alongside their children. While this in itself has been a great success, it has also provided a pathway for greater community engagement, allowing the hub to run a computer course for parents alongside the weekly playgroup sessions. Parents gain a certificate at the end of the programme.
One of the playgroups caters especially to children with learning support needs. Ako Me Te Aroha – Special Learning Puna has had many highlights since starting in late 2018. This particular group of parents have various health issues with their tamariki. Between regular health check-ups and appointments they have little time for themselves to relax, so the hub team felt it was very important to be able to provide more support.
Before the Christmas break the Puna offered 2 ‘pamper days’ where parents were looked after while their children played. The glow and appreciation on the mum’s faces showed just how thankful they were. For many this was the first time they were able to sit and relax while staff supervised their children. It was a blessing to see parents leave with such confidence and pride. Another huge highlight has been one of the young boys (aged 4) standing up with no assistance and being able to walk around freely. This was a very special moment for his family and the staff.
Another highlight for all the playgroups this year were the Matariki celebrations held at the hub, and it was a special day with all four Puna combined. They made poi and sand koru art and were treated to a special performance by students from the local high school kapa haka group. The tamariki loved the performance and enjoyed dancing around to the lovely singing. This was followed with a beautiful hakari (feast) of fried bread and seafood chowder.
Kaitaia community open day
We had a fantastic open day at the new Ministry office in Kaitaia on Friday 15 February. The aim of the day was to reconnect with whānau and community and let them know about all the services we offer.
It was a scorching day, buzzing with positivity as the public explored our office with sausages and cakes in hand. Tā moko, balloon animals and helpful resources were provided to the crowds, topped off by amazing performances from some of the local students, and the one and only Tihei Harawira. All in all a successful day forming connections with the community.
2019 Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards
The 2019 awards are open for entries from Monday 25 February and close on Friday 5 April. There’s a new category this year – Excellence in Health and Wellbeing Education – while the 2019 Focus Prize celebrates Excellence in Māori-medium education. To submit an entry for your team, or find more information about the awards, go to the link below.
Incredible Years Parent programme dates for February to June
We are pleased to confirm the dates for our Incredible Years Parent programmes below:
|Organisation||Location||Start date||Group leader/contact|
|Ngati Hine Health Trust,
Nadina Jones 09 430 1230
027 255 5323
|New Era Tangata Solutions,
|Gil and Dianna Paki
021 041 0867
|The Hub & HIPPY Trust,
|Lynette Matthews @The Hub
09 439 7861
|Ngapuhi Iwi Social Services, Kaikohe||
022 004 7627
Rob and Ruby Korewha
022 325 9895
|Te Rawa Anga Mua,
09 929 6555
09 436 8909
027 5311 561
email@example.com Rosemary Miller
021 240 7476
firstname.lastname@example.org Heather Sharp
027 278 7382
If you are unable to reach any of the above organisations for whatever reason please give me a call (Eileen Turner/PB4L Advisor/IY Co-ordinator/MOE/Whangarei on 09 436 8909).
Director of Education Tai Tokerau
Phone: 09 436 8914
A big thank you to all those in Auckland who have supported our consultation on both changes to home-based early learning and the 10 year Strategic Plan for Early Learning. The Minister has now announced changes to the sector that will ensure better and more consistent quality. You can read the full announcement on the Government website.
Consultation on the draft Strategic Plan for Early Learning has now closed. More information about the final plan will be available later in the year through this Bulletin.
Welcome to Deidre Alderson
I am pleased to announce the appointment of Deidre Alderson into the role of Deputy Director, Learning Support – Auckland.
Deidre was previously the Principal of Willowbank Primary School – a large, multicultural and diverse school in South East Auckland. She has been actively involved in Auckland education for a number of years, representing both the Auckland Primary Principals Association and the New Zealand Principals Federation in a number of Ministry-led forums and working groups.
Deidre has particular strengths in strategic and systems planning, evaluative review and collaborative practices, with expertise in inclusive and culturally connected education practices, which is very evident in her current school.
I look forward to Deidre joining the Ministry, and our team in Auckland. She takes up the role of Deputy Director, Learning Support on 18 March 2019.
New Learning Support Service Managers for Henderson, Rodney and Manurewa
Welcome, and welcome back, to 3 Learning Support Service Managers who have joined the Ministry in the last few months.
Emma Dobson is the new Service Manager for schools and early learning services in and around Henderson. She was previously a Practice Leader in the Resource Teacher of Learning and Behaviour (RTLB) service in West Auckland.
Maryanne O’Hare is the new Service Manager for schools and early learning services in and around the Rodney area. She has recently returned to the Ministry after a year overseas. Prior to that, Maryanne worked in practice leadership, supporting the work of Speech Language Therapists at both a regional and national level.
Sarah Mulholland (nee Bramston) is the new Service Manager for schools and early learning services in the Manurewa/Takanini area. She worked as a Speech Language Therapist and Service Manager from 2009 to 2016 in the Otara area and has recently returned from Auckland Council where she held the role of Strategic Broker supporting the Papakura local board and community.
Mā te wā
Director of Education Auckland
Phone: 09 632 9333
He honore, he kororia, he maungarongo ki te mata o te whenua, he whakaaro pai ki ngā tāngata katoa. Pai Mārire.
New playgroup - Te Puna Reo o Whitianga
We are very excited to have a new playgroup in the Waikato region. Te Puna Reo o Whitianga has recently established in the Coromandel town of Whitianga. As a certificated playgroup, Te Puna Reo o Whitianga provides a supportive environment for children and parents to learn together and develop a strong sense of their identity, language and culture.
The playgroup encourages the speaking of te reo Māori and emphasises the use of tikanga throughout the programme. We wish the playgroup all the best as it establishes and grows numbers. If you are interested in learning more about this playgroup, or would like information about establishing a playgroup in your community, please contact email@example.com here at our Hamilton office.
Review of Home-based Early Childhood Education
Many of you will be aware that the Government decisions on the review of home-based early childhood education (ECE) have recently been announced. Key changes include a gradual shift towards requiring home-based educators to hold at least a Level 4 ECE qualification or Te Ara Tuarua (the Level 5 kōhanga reo qualification). Other decisions on the review include:
- strengthening the ‘visiting teacher’ role
- giving the Education Review Office the power to enter homes where home-based ECE is taking place
- more explicit requirements on service providers to provide health and safety training and professional development for educators.
The review aims to ensure that parents can be confident about the quality of education their young children are receiving in a home setting.
If you are wanting more detailed information about this review please look at the Kōrero Mātauranga – Education Conversation website.
Tomorrow’s School Review
As early learning is an important part of the wider education sector you may be interested in having your say on the Tomorrow’s Schools Review. Currently the Government is asking teachers, parents and whānau to make submissions on a range of proposals. The report is out for consultation until 7 April 2019 and can be accessed at Tomorrow's Schools Review on the Kōrero Mātauranga – Education Conversation website.
Draft Strategic Plan for Early Learning consultation
Thank you if you attended an engagement meeting or put in a submission about the draft Strategic Plan for Early Learning. Along with Gill Brown, I had the opportunity to be in Te Kuiti with a stunning group of education professionals who gave us plenty of rich feedback about the proposals for the draft Strategic Plan. Here I am pictured with our group.
Ka nui ngā mihi.
Director of Education Waikato
Phone: 07 850 8924
Kia ora and talofa lava
Heat Health Plans
By the time you will be reading this the hot summer of 2019 will have passed and we will be into autumn. Already the days are cooler and mornings darker! The summer season certainly presented us with some very high temperatures across the nation. There is no formal definition for heatwaves in New Zealand. However, climate change is predicted to cause both average and maximum temperatures to rise, and the number of hot days experienced in this country is expected to increase (Ministry for the Environment, 2016). This is a timely reminder to visit the Ministry of Health’s website where you can access information on New Zealand’s current climate and Heat Health Plans.
Tomorrow’s School Review consultation meetings
This is a reminder about the Tomorrow’s Schools Review consultation meetings which I really encourage you to become involved in. While this review is focused on the schooling part of our system, early learning plays a critical part in the education pathway so it would be great to hear the early learning voice. The meetings for our region are set out below:
|Taupō||6 March||7pm–9pm||Venue TBC|
|Rotorua||18 March||7pm–9pm||Venue TBC|
|Tauranga||19 March||7pm–9pm||Venue TBC|
On the Tomorrow’s School website you can register to attend local meetings, read or download a copy of the report, watch a short video with Bali Haque, the Taskforce Chair, and look at the other supporting materials.
Congratulations on relocation
Congratulations, to whānau, tamariki and kaiako of Rotorua East Kindergarten who successfully relocated back into their newly renovated building after suffering flood damage in 2018. They had a wonderful opening ceremony with many guests, including Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick.
Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards
Do take the time to seriously consider entering these 2019 awards. We have experienced high levels of success over the years with Te Kōhanga Reo ki Rotokawa winning in 2017. Papamoa Kindergarten has also been a finalist.
School attendance survey results
Many of you will have noted the recent media attention given to student attendance at schools. A survey is carried out annually and schools provide attendance information for the Ministry to analyse and results are then provided to the media. Our region has a real challenge with some areas featuring as having some of the lowest rates of student attendance at schools. In the Schools’ Leaders Bulletin I talked about the challenge being something we can all work together on. I would like to urge you to have a discussion in your centres about what you can you do to develop good patterns of attendance. I would also be pleased to hear any good news stories.
ASG National Excellence in Teaching Awards
On Friday 22 February I had the honour, with my Ministry of Education colleague Nancy Bell, of attending the ASG National Excellence in Teaching Awards (NEiTA) in the Grand Hall at Parliament. It was very inspirational hearing about each of the awardees and the difference they were making in the lives of children and young peoples. An excellent address was given by the Minister of Education Chris Hipkins and also the Chairman of the NEiTA Foundation Allen Blewitt.
I was especially proud of Paulene Walsh from John Paul College in Rotorua who was recognised for her amazing work with young people with learning support needs. The Bay of Plenty was well represented by Paulene, Joanne Hayes from Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology, as well as Patrick Walsh, Principal of John Paul College. Well done ASG and to all our amazing teachers!
I would also thoroughly recommend that the early learning sector become involved in these awards.
Te Matatini ki te Ao 2019
Tina Leach, Lead Advisor Māori has written the following:
"Matatini ki te Ao – what a fabulous few days! A beautiful celebration where the epitome of Māori excellence, leadership, grace, power, poetry, protest and whanaungatanga were on display. Huge congratulations to the 46 groups that made it to the big stage and gave up their weekends and whānau time to proudly represent their iwi, hapū and whānau. What fierce competition this year, with some fresh faces in the top 9 making a huge impact.
Te Arawa were proudly represented by 6 amazing teams with 3 of those making it through to the finals. A special mention to Te Piki Kōtuku o Ngāti Rongomai who placed second overall. Te Piki Kōtuku o Ngāti Rongomai were led by the tumuaki of Te Wharekura o Ngāti Rongomai Renata and Tuki Curtis. It was awesome to see past and present students from the kura take the stage alongside their tumuaki and mentors Renata and Tuki, as well as wider whānau.
Congratulations also to Te Toa Whakaihuwaka – Ngā Tūmanako. I loved their performance, their kaupapa and wero to us all about the preservation and revitalisation of Te Reo Māori.
We were lucky to have our very own Ruakiri Fairhall (Strategic Advisor Māori) sitting on the judges’ panel. As one of the youngest judges to sit in the ‘hot seat’, I know he would have added value and a fresh perspective but also filled up his own kete of knowledge from the experience – tau kē e hoa.
I headed home from Matatini with a heart full of pride. Proud to be Māori, proud to be Te Arawa and proud to be the māmā of my favourite performer."
Te Ao Leach – Whāngārā Mai Tawhiti – defending Champs from 2017 (Te Tairāwhiti)
Building renovations and alterations
If you are thinking of making any changes to your service, whether it be renovations or alterations, be sure to seek professional advice and guidance.
Some key considerations are:
- How will these changes impact on your play space?
- Will these changes require approval and/or certification from your local district council?
- Will these changes affect your current Fire Evacuation Scheme?
- Will these changes be in accordance with the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008?
- If you are wanting to make any changes to your licence, an EC8 will need to be used.
If you have any further queries about any licensing requirements please contact our Education Advisors:
- Gina Royal: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Nicole Young: email@example.com
- Shari Brell: firstname.lastname@example.org
Early learning PLD opportunities
There will be up and coming professional development (PLD) opportunities that the Ministry will be offering over the next few months. These opportunities are looking to include child protection workshops, funding workshops, and an ECE Māori education symposium for the Bay of Plenty region. Contact Michelle Grant-Broughton at email@example.com to find out more.
If there is anything you would like to discuss, or if you have an issue you want to talk about, please contact me on 07 349 8309 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Director of Education Bay of Plenty – Waiariki
Phone: 07 349 8309
Mobile: 027 296 8196
I can’t quite believe that it’s March already! It has been great to continue to get out to visit schools and early learning services over the last month. I really appreciated the discussions, sharing and chance to discuss issues and opportunities. With 179 schools and 360 early learning services across our region, my ambition of getting to all of you is still a work in progress.
What a wonderful display of kapa haka at Te Matatini last week. A few surprises in the competition! Great to see Whāngārā Mai Tawhiti making it to the finals. The preparation, commitment and dedication of all the teams who make it to this level of competitions is truly impressive.
Te Reo Maōri opportunity
Mahi Kāinga is an online language learning platform with a unique teaching style that focuses on keeping the barriers down so that you can feel relaxed and welcomed as you learn Te Reo Māori. What better place to learn than from home. You can be helped to connect with language and cultural champions to ensure that you get a wide array of expertise. Anaru Ratapu and Ihaia Rollo are based in Hastings and of Ngāti Kahungunu descent.
In the event of a traumatic incident, we are available to work closely with your early learning service or school to support you to manage the incident and assist you to continue your day-to-day operations.
Traumatic incidents have been broadly defined as events that:
- cause sudden and/or significant disruption to the operation or effective operation of an early learning service, school and/or community
- have the potential to affect a large number of children, young people and/or staff
- create significant dangers or risks to the physical and emotional well-being of children, young people or persons within a community
- attract media attention or a public profile for the early learning service or school as a result of these incidents.
Our Traumatic Incident Team can be contacted anytime:
- Hawke’s Bay - 027 707 8605
- Tairāwhiti - 021 224 2067.
Tsunami Hīkoi Week held
11-17 March 2019 was Tsunami Hīkoi Week, where people practised their tsunami evacuation hīkoi (evacuation walk) if they lived or worked in a tsunami evacuation zone. Practising is a good opportunity to remind parents and caregivers of where they should meet their children if a tsunami evacuation occurs, reminding them to meet at the offsite evacuation point and not to go into the tsunami evacuation zones.
If your centre is not in an evacuation zone, are you able to help a nearby centre in the zones by being the place they evacuate to?
Director of Education Hawke’s Bay / Tairāwhiti
Phone: 06 833 6898
Ngā mihi maioha ki a koutou katoa
Draft Strategic Plan for Early Learning
It was great to see so many of you from the early learning sector attend the consultation hui for the Draft Strategic Plan for Early Learning 2019-29 held in Palmerston North, Whanganui and New Plymouth in February. Information was shared by Nancy Bell, Director of Early Learning, on this draft plan which details a range of proposals for change within the sector.
Key proposals for change include: moving towards a 100% qualified teacher workforce in early childhood education centres; introducing higher 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; and increased support and monitoring.
Feedback received about the recommendations was positive and discussion was focused on the improvements in quality provision for children.
Consultation has now closed. Further information about the next steps will be made on the Education Conversation website and in this Bulletin.
Playground safety responsibilities
The start of the year is a good time to check that your premises and equipment are safe and suitable. It is also a good time to work with your team to review your hazard, risk management and supervision plans and practices. The licensing criteria guidance on our website will help you do this. One of the areas in a service that should be checked for safety regularly is the outdoor environment and equipment that children use.
The Playground Equipment and Surfacing Standard (NZS5828:2015) is a good tool for reviewing playground safety. The standard specifies general requirements for playground equipment and surfacing, and promotes and encourages playgrounds that are well designed, well constructed, well maintained, innovative and challenging. The standard states that:
- equipment over 600mm is required to be placed on safety surfacing
- maximum height for moveable equipment is 1.2m
- maximum height for fixed equipment is 1.5m, which also requires barriers and guard rails
- the fall zone for all equipment over 600mm is 1.5m – this is the surface that may be hit from falling from the equipment
- impact attenuation surfacing (soft fall) is required wherever children are likely to play on equipment over 600mm and must extend over the entire fall zone.
Read the premises and facilities criteria and guidance relevant for your service on our website.
Kāhui Ako update – Palmerston North East
A total of 350 staff from schools and early learning services in the Palmerston North East Kāhui Ako attended the launch of their wellbeing project on 14 February. They are working in partnership with the New Zealand Institute of Wellbeing and Resilience to build a platform of wellbeing across their Kāhui Ako. They will develop strategies and practices to improve engagement, wellbeing, resilience and connection. This is seen as a very exciting programme across the Kāhui Ako community
Change management and early learning funding for Kāhui Ako
Funding is available to those early learning services who are official members of Kāhui Ako.
There is a small amount of change management funding still available for use before 30
June 2019. Please contact Jude Fawcett, Lead Advisor, at email@example.com if you would like more information about this fund or the early learning funding.
In late January the Whanganui office was fortunate enough to welcome 2 new members of staff to the Learning Support Team – Ellie Finn and Belinda Walker.
Ellie Finn is a new graduate from the Canterbury University Masters programme, and has joined us as a permanent full-time Speech Language Therapist.
Belinda Walker is an experienced early learning teacher, who comes to us from Hundred Acre Preschool Inc. She has joined us as a permanent, full-time Early Intervention Teacher.
Please contact me if you wish to discuss any issues or ideas. I look forward to hearing from you.
Director of Education Taranaki, Whanganui, Manawatū
Phone: 06 349 6352
We have had another eventful February in the form of fire and evacuation in the Wakefield area. The services most affected, Little People Wakefield and Wakefield Playcentre, are to be congratulated on their handling of the events and dealing with the follow-up.
One support outcome from the Ministry of Education has been the sharing of handy tips for psychological first aid to those and other services around the fire site. If you want copies please contact either Gwen Gilmore (027 248 0208) or Elizabeth Hamilton (027 836 4971).
Strengthening Early Learning Opportunities (SELO) update
We developed professional development for the region based on our consultation last year and Education Review Office feedback and analysis of their data. We have commissioned professional development for emergent leaders, Te Whāriki (Marlborough and West Coast), oral language (Nelson), support for home-based services (all areas of our region), Ways to Play led by Autism NZ with some Nelson services, curriculum support for playgroups and support for some services in delivering social competence.
To support your equity goals we are also developing support for culturally responsive pedagogies and curriculum with your iwi. We are developing this mahi with a longer-term strategy for 2 rounds of engagement with early learning services. The purpose is to ensure deeper engagement with bi-cultural practices in your services. Wildbabies has been developed for playgroups in Nelson and Marlborough. Contact Gwen or Elizabeth on the phone numbers above for further information on this mahi.
Ways to Play (SELO)
Ways to Play is a collection of practical strategies for playing with children on the autism spectrum. It is designed to teach parents, caregivers, whānau, and health and education professionals how to interact with children with autism in ways they can easily replicate in their homes or early learning environments.
Recently, Nelson Marlborough West Coast Ministry of Education joined with Autism NZ, through the SELO contract to create a professional development opportunity for teams (whānau, teachers, early intervention teachers and speech-language therapists) involved in supporting young children with autism.
The professional development focused on using a play-based approach to improve engagement between adults and children with autism. When meaningful engagement for young children with autism is seen in a relational and developmental framework, there is ‘serve and return’ between communication partners, embedded within an emotional context – having fun together!
The professional development is run over 2 full days with additional coaching sessions in the child’s early learning centre and home to build teacher and whānau skills and confidence to use Way to Play strategies in everyday routine events. Please forward comments and questions from your centre’s perspective to Gwen or Elizabeth on the phone numbers above. For example, how could this SELO support equity or inclusive education in your service?
Kāhui Ako | Communities of Learning update
Over 60% of our early learning services are linked to a Kāhui Ako through a formal expression of interest. Funding applications have also been received from, or are nearly on our desks, for 6 of our 12 ECE groups. The funding can be used to support shared professional development and engagement with principals’ meetings and/or perhaps some joint ECE/Kāhui Ako professional development.
Elizabeth is working closely with REAP Marlborough, the Kāhui Ako lead Deborah Lomax and the Lead Principal, Simon Heath, to engage a wider range of early learning services in the Piritahi Kāhui Ako.
We are developing some focused input to the ECE cluster meetings that for most ECE groups are held once a term. For example, we will offer a taster to psychological first aid at one of your meetings this year. The public health nurses would be happy to attend and talk about their roles.
Director of Education Nelson Marlborough West Coast
Phone: 03 539 1536
Mobile: 027 605 2015
Measles outbreak in Canterbury
You will be aware that the Canterbury region is currently experiencing a measles outbreak. The Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) has written to all early learning services and schools with advice on the prevention of measles and how to deal with cases of measles if they occur.
The CDHB has also provided information which can be shared with your parent communities. I would like to reiterate the messages from the CDHB and have included a link to copies of both the letter and parent information.
If you have a confirmed measles case please notify us by email firstname.lastname@example.org so we can provide any necessary support.
Draft Strategic Plan
Thank you to those of you who attended one of the regional hui for the Draft Strategic Plan for Early Learning. All feedback will be carefully considered and a final version of the Strategic Plan will be developed. Once finalised, the new strategy will set out a planned approach to develop and strengthen early learning to meet the needs of all children and their families and whānau.
New centre opened
BestStart Faringdon East were delighted to celebrate their opening in Rolleston recently. The centre was officially opened by MP for Selwyn, the Hon Amy Adams. Congratulations to everyone involved.
Te Matatini ki te Ao
I had the privilege of attending part of Te Matatini ki te Ao in Wellington recently. It was wonderful to be able to attend such a significant cultural festival and great to watch the passionate kapa haka performers and support the teams from Canterbury.
The Tomorrow’s Schools Independent Taskforce have held meetings in Canterbury to share the recommendations contained in the document Our Schooling Future: Stronger Together and to answer your questions. Public consultation is open until 7 April 2019. An online survey is open until 31 March for you to provide feedback on the key issues and recommendations in the report.
Each early learning service has an Advisor who has the lead role in the licensing and monitoring of services. Advisors work collaboratively with the sector and communities to develop local solutions that will increase participation and improve quality early learning provision. If you are unsure who your Advisor is please contact email@example.com. Alternatively you can contact Jo George-Scott, our Lead Education Advisor for early learning, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Vanessa Goodwin, Education Manager, at email@example.com if you wish to discuss any ideas or issues.
You can always contact me using the details below. I look forward to hearing from you.
Enjoy this Bulletin.
Mā te wā
Director of Education for Canterbury | Chatham Islands
Phone: 03 378 7345
Mobile: 0274 200 251
Kia ora koutou and warm Pacific greetings.
With the warm weather now extending into autumn I hope your staff and the children in your centres and services are all enjoying outdoor play opportunities. Water play is always fun and I note my 32-year-old son has enjoyed the water pump play as much as my 3-year-old grandson does!
It was great to see so many early learning representatives at our Kāhui Ako Change Management Hui in February. Thank you also to everyone who attended the regional consultation hui on the Draft Early Learning Strategic Plan or submitted feedback online. All feedback will be carefully considered before a final version of the Strategic Plan will be developed later this year.
Strategic Plan for Early Learning
Decisions relating to home-based early learning services have now been made by the Government and will form part of the final Strategic Plan for Early Learning. These follow the 2018 review of home-based early childhood education, and are aimed at raising quality and ensuring equity while maintaining parent choice. Further information can be found on the Education Conversation website.
Kāhui Ako Change Management Hui
On 19 February we hosted a Change Management Hui for early learning services and schools in Kāhui Ako. Held at the Dunedin Centre, the purpose of the hui was to support Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako leadership teams to understand the opportunities and benefits of change management to effect individual change, organisational change and enterprise change that positively impacts on entire communities. The hui provided an opportunity for wider leadership of Kāhui Ako to engage with consultants who they can work with over the next few months.
There was strong representation from across the education sector and it was pleasing to see so many early learning services represented. Many of the presenters spoke of the excellent work occurring in the early learning space, particularly in regard to the provision of a local culturally responsive curricula.
We now have 16 Kāhui Ako across Otago and Southland, which cover 122 schools, 61 early learning services and 2 tertiary providers. The Minister has confirmed that new Kāhui Ako can still be formed – with the most recent approved in December. This brings our national total to 216 Kāhui Ako, comprised of 1,763 schools (over 70% of our schools nationally), 964 early learning services, 11 tertiary education providers, and over 636,000 children and young people.
There has been a significant level of change management occurring in our Otago-Southland Kāhui Ako as they have matured and evolved. We have seen this through:
- the development and refreshing of achievement challenges
- the strategic oversight and ownership of communities
- the depth of collaboration and how views on what collaboration really means have changed as this work has evolved
- local curriculum development and the sharing of expertise across communities.
As communities have developed, so too has the policy that sits around Kāhui Ako. One of the major shifts has been the introduction of funding for early learning services, which became available late last year. From September 2018, services that are approved members of a Community of Learning can apply for joint funding from the Ministry of Education. The purpose of this funding is to support services participation and collaboration within Kāhui Ako to strengthen learning opportunities for children. Please contact your Education Advisor or Kāhui Ako Lead Advisor if you want information about this funding.
Another key shift is in the expression of achievement challenges. These have evolved from being very specific, focused documents (mainly around the areas of reading, writing and maths) to being much wider across the curriculum challenges, with a real emphasis on promoting wellbeing/hauora and student engagement.
Mary Chamberlain gave the keynote address which focused on social aspects of learning (relating to others and participation), local curriculum and holistic ways of focusing assessment. She shared some of the pathway statements that are part of the student profiles that lie within the Local Curriculum Tool.
Mary used the term ‘life-worthy’ curriculum and noted the importance of participating for the ‘common good’. The messages that leaders give in terms of their daily action and the perceptions this gives to children about what is really important were also explored.
New early learning service – Montessori House Atelier de Bambini
On 28 January 2019 Montessori House Atelier de Bambini opened its doors in Kaikorai, Dunedin, following extensive renovations. The centre is licensed for 29 children over 2 years of age. Montessori House has a programme that is based on Te Whāriki and strongly interwoven with the philosophies of Maria Montessori and Emmi Pikler. It is committed to nurture the child’s holistic nature, mind, body and spirit in an environment where equal opportunities and positive influences are valued and respected.
A video of its new space has been shared by Montessori House, which you can view on their Facebook page. I hope all children, family, whanau and staff have settled in well to their new centre and we look forward to hearing how your children’s learning is progressing.
New playgroup – Beststart Montessori Mosgiel
Beststart Montessori Mosgiel has a strong commitment to serving its local community. Part of the centre’s philosophy is to promote a sense of contribution and responsibility, which it does in a variety of ways including maintaining a community garden, community pantry, Liliput library, fundraising for local causes and, most recently, the establishment of a community playgroup with a Montessori focus.
The Montessori Playgroup began at the start of Term 1 this year, with 1.5 hour sessions every Friday afternoon. The ECE centre does not have the space to be able to hold the sessions on-site so it has teamed up with Plunket and runs the playgroup at the local Plunket rooms.
The aim of the playgroup is to support local parents, give them a place to come and meet others and relax with their child, as well as learn a little bit about the Montessori approach to teaching and how this looks in practice. Children enjoy exploring new exciting equipment and preparing a snack whilst parents have a cup of coffee and a chat to the other parents to broaden their support networks.
Centre Manager Danielle Atkinson reports that parents often want to learn about the philosophy, and it is fully understood when they see the child in action. She notes that this in turn strengthens the centre’s relationships with families and provides optimum outcomes for children’s learning.
Please contact me if you wish to discuss any issues or ideas. I look forward to hearing from you.
Ngā mihi mahana
Director of Education Otago-Southland
Direct dial: 03 471 5217
Mobile: 027 836 4846
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