Early Learning Regional News – September 2018

Regional News / General News / Other News updates for September 2018 from the Directors of Education for each Ministry of Education region.

Tai Tokerau regional news

Kia ora koutou katoa

Congratulations on ERO reports

Congratulations to BestStart Kamo Central and BestStart Regent Kindy for receiving Category 4 – Very Well Placed Education Review Office (ERO) reports.

The ERO states that at BestStart Kamo Central: “A high quality programme supports children to reach their potential. Teachers' warm, genuine conversations and interactions with children foster strong relationships, which enrich children's language and support their wellbeing. Teachers provide a sound foundation for children's learning.”

At BestStart Regent Kindy the ERO found that: “Children display a genuine sense of belonging in the centre. They are supported to reach their potential through the centre's high quality learning programme. Children play and learn in a nurturing environment that is designed to develop their knowledge, skills and dispositions. They benefit from teachers' strong partnerships with parents and whanau.”

He Waka Eke Noa Early Learning Centre

Forum North Childcare and Education Centre is now known as ‘He Waka Eke Noa’. They have recently opened their doors at a new centre.

Early Childhood Education and Care Centre: He Waka Eke Noa Early Learning Centre
Early Childhood Education and Care Centre: He Waka Eke Noa Early Learning Centre (formerly known as Forum North Childcare and Education Centre).

After 6 long years, Deana Niha and her team can now celebrate the completion of the participation project, which has exceeded all the expectations of parents and the community. The beautifully constructed building that resides next to Hātea River is open for tamariki/mokopuna and their whānau to enjoy.

The opening of this service was celebrated by Ngātiwai kaumatua with Te Warihi Hetaraka leading the karakia, followed by tamariki supporting with waiata. Her Worship, The Mayor, Cheryl Mai was present, as well as the original founding family who started Forum North Childcare and Education Centre 18 years ago.

The kōrero shared was rich with love, respect, history and pride in what the future holds for generations to come through and begin their educational journey. He Waka Eke Noa has the capacity to cater for up to 50 tamariki.

Celebrating the Northland Tamariki Early Childhood Conference

The Northland Tamariki Early Childhood Conference is getting closer! This year the conference will take place on Saturday 6 October 2018 at Kamo High School, 1 Wilkinson Avenue, Kamo. This is a great professional learning and development opportunity – to find out more please visit their website.

Celebrating Northland’s Tamariki website(external link)

Learning more about Te Whāriki

Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand offer professional development opportunities, so be sure to check out their website.

Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand website(external link)

Learning Support – listening to our communities

We have been meeting with communities in Tai Tokerau to hear their experiences about the service we are providing and how we can do better. We greatly appreciate the open and honest discussions and will continue to refine how we work to better support children in our region.

A new Learning Support model, ‘Te Manawa Tahi’, is now up and running in 3 areas of Tai Tokerau. These models were co-designed and aptly named by local communities with a relentless focus on keeping the child central to all our discussions and decision-making.

Our staff, along with our Resource Teachers: Learning and Behaviour (RTLB) colleagues, are now focusing on the Whangarei region. To date we have held 9 hui involving whānau, parents, principals, early childhood teachers, iwi/hapu and professionals. We are planning to hold 3 more hui, including one specifically for students at the Youth Space Centre in Whangarei, later this month. The purpose of these hui is to listen and learn, and then co-design a new model for Learning Support with the Whangarei community.

Whānau Hui held at Oakura Hall in Whangaruru

Whanau Hui Held at Oakura Hall in Whangaruru
Whanau Hui Held at Oakura Hall in Whangaruru.

We were privileged to meet with whānau of Whangaruru on the shores of Oakura. We listened and we learnt about how we could do better for the Whangaruru community. ‘Te Arahi’ is the orange caricature that comes along with us to every hui to keep us focused on our tamariki and mokopuna. Thank you whānau o Whangaruru!




Hira Gage
Director of Education Tai Tokerau
Phone: 09 436 8914
Email: hira.gage@education.govt.nz

Auckland Regional News

Ni hao, fakatalofa atu, ni sa bula vinaka, and fakaalofa lahi atu,

This next month is full of language weeks, with Chinese Language Week from 23-29 September, Tuvalu Language Week from 30 September – 6 October, Fijian Language Week from 7 – 13 October, and Niue Language Week from 14 – 20 October.

Chinese Language Week(external link)

Tuvalu Language Week(external link)

Fijian Language Week(external link)

Niue Language Week(external link)

The Auckland Diwali Festival is also taking place this month, with events at Aotea Square from noon to 9pm on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 October.

Auckland Diwali Festival(external link)

Learning other languages can enable us to communicate with people from another culture, but more importantly, languages are inseparably linked to the social and cultural contexts in which they are used. Learning about languages and cultures plays a key role in developing not only our own identity but in helping to develop an understanding of the diverse backgrounds of our communities.

Including Pacific languages and culture in children’s early learning helps to meet the vision and goals of the Pasifika Education Plan 2013–2017 (PEP). PEP is aimed at raising Pacific learners’ participation, engagement, and achievement in education from early learning through to tertiary level. One of the high level Government goals for Pacific education is an emphasis on the importance of Pacific identities, languages, and cultures. Vanuinui vinaka – good luck!

Pasifika Education Plan 2013–2017 (PEP)

Consultation on proposals for Home-based ECE

A meeting being held on the proposals for Home-based ECE

Over the last month we have held a number of meetings in Auckland regarding proposed changes to home based early learning services. These meetings have been well attended and generated many different points for consideration.

If you were not able to attend one of these meetings, you can find more information on the review and the proposed changes, and give your feedback by completing a short survey on the Education Conversation website.

Education Conversation website(external link)

Consultation on the Ten Year Strategic Plan for Early Learning

The draft Ten Year Strategic Plan for Early Learning is expected to be released in November, and consultation meetings are planned for Auckland in the final week of November. Look out for confirmed dates and venues in next month’s update.

Mental Health Awareness Week

Taking care of our mental health is a critical part of adult life, and it is never too early to help children learn the importance of good mental health, and the skills required to maintain it. The theme of this year’s awareness week is “Let nature in to strengthen wellbeing – Mā te taiao, kia whakapakari tōu oranga!”

Here in New Zealand we are fortunate that most early learning services have wonderful outdoor areas that stimulate children’s imaginations and allow them to spend a lot of time in nature. However we know that children are spending more time on screens at home these days – perhaps for Mental Health Awareness Week 2018 tamariki could brainstorm with whanau how to get the rest of the family spending more time in nature too?

Mental Health Awareness Week 2018(external link)

Mental health awareness week poster

Kupe Scholarships

Congratulations to our Auckland student teachers whose strong academic success and demonstrable leadership experience was recognised last month at a ceremony held at Parliament. The prestigious Kupe Scholarship recognises highly accomplished Māori and Pacific student teachers and supports them to complete their teaching qualification and launch a successful teaching career.

The nine Auckland-based recipients of the Kupe Scholarship are:

  • Ungatea Sefesi, Tonga/New Zealand European, The University of Auckland, Graduate Diploma of Teaching.
  • Saniata Tafatu, Niue/Kiribati, The University of Auckland, Graduate Diploma of Teaching;
  • Loata Tiapapa, Cook Island/Samoa, Auckland University of Technology (AUT), Masters of Teaching and Learning.
  • James Auina Kaleti, Samoa/Tokelau, The University of Auckland, Bachelor of Education (Teaching).
  • Tania Rangiheuea, Māori - Te Arawa, Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Manu, Auckland University of Technology (AUT), Graduate Diploma of Teaching.
  • Te Anini Young, Māori - Ngai Tūhoe, Ngāti Awa, Kai Tahu, The University of Auckland, Graduate Diploma of Teaching.
  • Liam Ngaariki Muru, New Zealand European/Māori - Tainui, Ngāti Ranginui, Auckland University of Technology (AUT), Bachelor of Teaching( ECE Pasifika).
  • Melina Amos,Tanzanian/New Zealand European/Māori - Kai Tahu, The University of Auckland, Bachelor of Education (Teaching).
  • Rhonda Togipau, Samoa/Niue, New Zealand Tertiary College, Graduate Diploma of Teaching.

Kāhui Ako Korero

A number of Kāhui Ako have kindly shared links to their regular pānui so that other Communities of Learning can see the kind of great communication that is happening out there. The links are shared below.

Mahurangi Kāhui Ako

Pupuke Kahui Ako

Whangaparaoa Peninsula Kāhui Ako

New Services

A big welcome to the new early childhood services which have been licensed or certified in Auckland in June, July and August 2018. These are set out below.

Services newly licensed in 2018:

  • All About Children - Opaheke
  • Aspire Learning Home Based Childcare
  • Aurora Homebased childcare Services 2
  • BestStart Oraha Road
  • Bumblebees Whitford Childcare Centre
  • Equippers Kids Early Learning Centre
  • Hand and Hand @ Home
  • Kiddie Junction
  • Li'l Champs Montessori Early Learning Centre
  • Little Ducklings
  • Magical Years Education and Care
  • New Shoots Children's Centre - Whenuapai
  • Rainbow Bridge Childcare
  • Snowflakes Childcare
  • Taulama Home-Based ECE 3
  • Waiuku Montessori Preschool

Playgroups newly certificated in 2018:

  • Auckland South Korean Playgroup

Congratulations on ERO report

Congratulations to the following services for receiving a Category 4 – Very Well Placed Education Review Office (ERO) report in June 2018.

  • Akoranga Childcare Centre
  • Bear Park Albany
  • Bear Park Herne Bay
  • Glendowie Kindergarten
  • Homai Early Childhood Centre
  • Kaukapakapa Playcentre
  • Mairangi Bay Playcentre
  • Mangere West Kindergarten
  • Saplings Early Learning Limited
  • Te Atatu Peninsula Kindergarten
  • Trinity Kindergarten
  • Windy Ridge Playcentre

These services have been identified as consistently effective in promoting children’s wellbeing and learning, and performing highly in relation to ERO’s evaluation indicators for Ngā Pou Here. Well done to all the educators, staff, tamariki and whanau who have contributed to the positive culture in these environments.

He Pou Tātaki – How ERO reviews early childhood services(external link)

Ni sa moce,

Isabel Evans
Director of Education Auckland
Phone: 09 632 9333
Email: isabel.evans@education.govt.nz

Waikato Regional News

E rau rangatira mā tēnā koutou katoa.

Home-based ECE Review

As you are aware the government is currently developing a ten year Strategic Plan for early learning. This Strategic Plan will set the direction for the whole early learning sector and the review provides an opportunity to take a detailed look at Home-based ECE. Interestingly Home-based ECE is the fastest growing part of the early learning sector and now has a very different look to when it was first regulated in the early 1990’s.

Here in Hamilton hui were held to hear the voice of service providers, coordinators and educators about proposed changes to educator qualifications and working conditions, the role of the coordinator, health and safety along with the proposal to limit the number of school-aged children present in educator homes.

A big thank you to everyone who was able to attend these hui. There was a great turn out with over 80 educators coming to the evening meeting. Your views, opinions and feedback regarding the proposed changes were recorded and will now contribute towards the Government better understanding the views of those with an interest in home-based ECE. To learn more about the Early Learning Strategic plan see the Education Conversation website.

Education Conversation website(external link)

A presentation from Damian Edwards, Associate Deputy Secretary at the Ministry of Education
An engaging presentation from Damian Edwards, Associate Deputy Secretary at the Ministry of Education was appreciated by those attending the Distinction Hotel Hui.

Community Collaboration - A focus on Pacific education 

Pasifika banner

We always love hearing good news stories about services in our region, so thank you to Big Hugz Early Learning Centre for sharing their exciting story of partnership with Talents of the Pacific Academy (TOPA). Recently the children from Big Hugz were asked to perform two songs alongside TOPA and Fairfield College students at the Hamilton international students welcome by the Mayor Andrew King. Big Hugz has developed a close relationship with TOPA who spend time each week at the service introducing children to songs and dances from the Pacific region. These sessions are eagerly anticipated by the children who have reflected their experiences with the following comments; “I liked the singing and the music, it was fun” and “I liked the dancing and that my family come to watch”. Don’t hesitate to share any stories of your service involved in community collaboration.

You can find dates for Pacific Island language weeks on the Ministry for Pacific Peoples website.

Ministry for Pacific Peoples website(external link)

Traumatic Incidents – Call 027 207 8800

In the event of a traumatic incident, we are available to work closely with your early childhood service, kōhanga reo, kura or school to support you to manage the incident and help you 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 a school, early childhood service 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 wellbeing of children, young people or persons within a community,
  • attract media attention or a public profile for the early childhood education service or school as a result of these incidents.

Our Traumatic Incident team can be contacted anytime - 7 days a week 24 hours a day.

Noho ora mai

Paula Rawiri
Director of Education Waikato
Phone: 07 850 8924
Email: paula.rawiri@education.govt.nz

Bay of Plenty – Waiariki regional news

Kia ora and talofa lava

It has been a very busy month with meetings and visits from the Prime Minister and Ministers. I am sure that your weeks have been equally as busy. I am sorry that the Minister’s timetable didn’t allow him to visit a centre we had arranged – next time he is in this neck of the woods!

Recently we have all felt the cold snap hit the Bay of Plenty and are continuing to have a few cooler days. Please ensure your service provides the recommended room temperature throughout operational hours so you are providing a comfortable place of learning. For further information about heating at your service please see the licensing information on the Education website.

HS24 room temperature centre-based

HS21 room temperature home-based

HS24 room temperature kōhanga reo

Home-based review conversation

I was pleased to be able to attend some of the meeting for the review of Home-based ECE in Tauranga recently. It was great to catch up with some familiar faces and meet others for the first time. As a father of 5 I hold deep admiration for those working in the early learning sector and enjoy talking with them about their work. The Ministry of Education is seeking to hear all voices in education to help set quality understandings for the sector. If you have information to share, now is the time. You can read more about the home-based review and have your say on the Education Conversation website.

Education Conversation website(external link)

Inspired kindergartens

Recently ERO released information on the 2 multi-service providers that have 50% or more of their centres with a Category 4 rating. Inspired kindergartens in the Bay of Plenty celebrated this benchmark of quality for the North Island. Congratulations to Peter and his staff at those kindergartens. 

Funding for early learning services that are part of a Kāhui Ako

There are many benefits of early learning services and ngā kōhanga reo participating in Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako. One of these is that they support positive education outcomes from an early age, laying the foundation for a lifetime of learning.

From now and up to 30 June 2020, joint funding is available for early learning services who are approved members of a Kāhui Ako. The purpose of the funding is to support services’ participation and collaboration within Kāhui Ako to strengthen learning opportunities for children.

For more information about the joint funding and application form please see the Kāhui Ako page on the Education website.

Funding for early learning in Kāhui Ako

Kāhui Ako early learning engagement

Collaboration is building momentum and growing in value across our Kāhui Ako. If your early learning steering group has a story you would like to share in the Bulletin please contact one of our local Ministry of Education Senior Advisors.

Te Maru o Ngongotaha Kāhui Ako

Recently an evening was held for early learning services from Te Maru o Ngongotahā Kāhui Ako. The purpose was for these services to highlight their philosophy. This was particularly useful for the primary schools that the children transition to. Eight services from the Kāhui Ako attended the evening. Key information provided at each stall related to:

  • Transition to school
  • Learning assessments
  • Learning stories
  • Strategic goals
  • Curriculum programme
  • Key competencies
  • Learning dispositions
  • Information bags that included centre philosophies, transition to school information and a copy of Te Whāriki.

A number of primary school principals attended along with several new entrant teachers. All found the evening beneficial in making the important connect with the early learning services that feed into their school. The evening was hosted by the Essence of the Pacific Early Learning Centre.

Eastern Rotorua Kāhui Ako

Ako maii, ako atu, ako ai, ako tu
Ko koia aaraa ee

The early learning and new entrant teachers from this Kāhui Ako have been collaborating to build a shared understanding of the coherent pathway possibilities for the tamariki of Eastern Rotorua. The Across School and Within School Teachers from the Kāhui Ako facilitated the unpacking of the NZ Curriculum Key Competencies, and also ngā taumata whakahirahira/strands of Te Whāriki. The members also discussed the notion of building a collaborative Learning Support Register.

Rotorua Central Kāhui Ako Visible Learning PLD

Early learning teachers in this Kāhui Ako have begun their professional development journey with Cognition Education and Corwin. ‘Visible Learning’ forms the theory for improvement for the schools in the Rotorua Central Kāhui Ako. The early learning sector is building their knowledge about Visible Learning so that they can be fully contributing educational partners who collaborate to lift achievement.

Education Council mandatory reporting

We recently held a very successful workshop on mandatory reporting for early learning services at the Rotorua Ministry of Education office. Managers and owners were reminded of the criteria for mandatory reporting and the regulations under which it sits. The regulations are reflected in the Education Council Rule 9 which can be found below on the Education Council’s website.

Education Council website(external link)

There was also some excellent advice for other times when it is appropriate to complete a mandatory report:

  1. A teacher is dismissed from a service.
  2. A teacher resigns within 12 months of the manager or owner raising a concern with them. A concern is when you are required to use more resources than you would normally expect to support a teacher. This also applies to teachers on a fixed-term agreement.
  3. You receive a complaint about a teacher’s conduct or competence within 12 months after a teacher leaves the service’s employment.
  4. A service has reason to believe a teacher has engaged in serious misconduct.
  5. A teacher has not reached the required competence level despite completing competence procedures.

The Education Council is very open to managers and owners phoning on 04 471 0852 at any time to raise an issue or inquire about a situation or how to make a mandatory report. On the link above you will also find a copy of Conduct & Competence Process Guide that you can download. Non-qualified staff are not covered by the Education Council Conduct and Competence Processes.

Acting Director

Earlier this year I spent time at Oxford University on their strategic leadership programme as part of a Leadership Development Centre Fellowship(external link) I was awarded this year. We were looking at how divergent agencies and organisations work in partnership with education, health and social providers to achieve positive outcomes for children and young people. The plan was always to split the fellowship into 2 parts and I have now finalised the itinerary to complete my Fellowship. I will be away from the office from 17 September and will be returning on Monday 8 October.

While I am away, Tina Leach will act as Director of Education for Bay of Plenty – Waiariki. She will be known to many of you in her current role as Lead Education Advisor working with Kāhui Ako and previous to that she had been a School Achievement Function practitioner. Tina can be contacted by email at tina.leach@education.govt.nz or on 027 889 5331.

Feel free to contact me this week on 07 349 8309 or email me at ezra.schuster@education.govt.nz if there is anything you’d like to discuss. Otherwise you can contact Tina from next week.

La manuia 

Ezra Schuster
Director of Education Bay of Plenty – Waiariki
Phone: 07 349 8309
Mobile: 027 296 8196
Email: ezra.schuster@education.govt.nz

Hawke’s Bay / Tairawhiti regional news

Tēnā koutou 

Spring has arrived and we were welcomed with a fairly heavy downfall here in Hawke’s Bay. Thanks to those who got in touch with us to notify that they were closing. It’s great to see the community resilience in responding to events like these.

Hawke’s Bay Child Interagency Hauora Hui

We are excited to advise that planning is already underway for the collaborative Hauora Hui discussed during the Hawke’s Bay Child Interagency meeting. It is to be held on Tuesday 6 November. This is a follow on from previous successful Education/Health Hui. The format is similar to previous hui with an Expo of Services for the early childhood sector, including Te Kōhanga Reo and Pacific Early Childhood Services to access.

We hope to achieve the following objectives:

  • To promote a collaborative approach to enable better outcomes for tamariki and whānau
  • Attendees to gain knowledge of WellChild services and supports available
  • How the health lens on neuroscience can inform and shape the early childhood sector
  • To inform the sector of the increasing challenges of substance addiction and its impact on tamariki/whānau and their community.

The Focus Group are in the midst of negotiating 2 guest speakers. We are also very fortunate to have the support of Tiwana Aranui – Hawke’s Bay DHB Pouhurea/Kaumatua. Services interested in supporting this kaupapa are welcome to contact Michele Grant, WellChild Health Promoter/Vision Hearing Technician, on 06 879 9440 extension 4011.

Date: Tuesday 6 November 2018
Time: 5pm to 7.30 pm
Venue: Pukemokimoki Marae, Riverbend Road Napier.

Brain Blast conference

Tairāwhiti REAP invites you to attend our Brain Blast conference, ‘Transition in Action’, with acclaimed keynote speakers and a range of workshops that are sure to inspire you. This professional development is aimed at ECE/kōhanga, schools/kura teachers/kaiako. Guest speakers include Nigel Latta, Marcus Akuhata-Brown, Annette Stock and Susan Tipuna.

It’s not often that events of this nature come to Tairāwhiti so get in quick!

When: Monday 1 October and Tuesday 2 October 2018
Time: 9am to 3pm
Cost: $150 + GST

For further information please email trish.gisborne@tairawhitireap.org.nz

New Zealand ShakeOut

ShakeOut, our national earthquake drill and tsunami hīkoi, is happening at 9.30am on 18 October 2018. Taking part is a great way for young people to learn the right actions to take before, during and after an earthquake. It’s also a great opportunity to practice your tsunami hīkoi (evacuation walk) if you are in a coastal area.

More information about New Zealand ShakeOut is available below.

New Zealand ShakeOut website(external link)

Get to know us – Chris Ratcliffe (staff profile)

Chris Ratcliffe

What’s your role at the Ministry of Education?

I am an Educational Psychologist based in the Napier office and I mainly work with schools and whānau to assess and plan for the needs of students aged from 0 to 21 who have severe and challenging behaviour. Sometimes I assess students’ eligibility to enrol with Te Kura under psychosocial grounds and sometimes I work with schools to plan for students who have high health needs.

When did you join the Ministry and why did you come here?

I joined the Ministry of Education in 2008 as a Special Education Advisor. One reason for my employment was to study and train to become an Educational Psychologist. I was fortunate enough to be supported by the Ministry to begin and complete my Masters of Educational Psychology at Massey University and to then undertake the Psychologist internship, which I completed in 2012.

What do you most enjoy about working here?

Working at the Ministry gives me the chance to make a real positive difference to the lives of the students, whānau, teachers, and sometimes even communities. It is a privilege to be trusted to participate in the personal stories and needs of schools and whanau.

If you could trade places with any other person for a week, who would it be, and why?

I’d be Chris Froome during the last week of the Tour de France. The experience wouldn’t necessarily be pleasant, but wow would I see a completely different type of lifestyle.

Roy Sye
Director of Education Hawke’s Bay / Tairāwhiti
Phone: 06 833 6898
Email: roy.sye@education.govt.nz

Taranaki, Whanganui, Manawatu regional news

Kia ora

Ngā mihi maioha ki a koutou katoa

Iona Holsted visit

It was a pleasure to host Iona Holsted, Secretary for Education in our region, on Friday 31 August. Her visit was based around New Plymouth. 

Jann Marshall, Director of Education for TWM Region, and Secretary for Education, Iona Holsted
Jann Marshall, Director of Education for TWM Region, and Secretary for Education, Iona Holsted.

Iona visited Kaimata School and met the Te Kōhanga Moa | Inglewood Kāhui Ako where they shared their positive Kāhui Ako journey to date. Representatives of the early learning sector were present and all members of the Kāhui Ako spoke of the importance of collaboration across the entire education sector, which also includes working with the Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki.

The Kāhui Ako provided a collaborative challenge to make a banana cake in 6 minutes. I must admit the home economics teacher in me was forced to keep quiet as I watched the team think that they had creamed the butter and sugar enough. We watched the cake in the oven spill over the tin, so we might also question the measuring of some of the ingredients. It was a fun activity which then led into a discussion on why collaboration is important.

It was also great to hear the successes of the Taranaki Futures and the Accelerator programme. Two students talked about how this programme inspired them to follow their dreams. A huge thank you to the principals, board members, students and Taranaki Futures who gave so generously of their time.

New and departing staff

We have had a number of new staff join our Whanganui team over the last few months. 

We are pleased to welcome Gregory Parata as Strategic Advisor Māori. Greg brings a complementary set of skills to our region. Ko Ngati Ruanui me Ngā Ruahine ōna iwi.

We also welcome the following staff into their learning support roles:

Johanna Poole, Joanna Carey and Louise Pomana
Johanna Poole, Joanna Carey and Louise Pomana.

All three will become familiar faces to our Early Learning Services and whānau as they will be working across the Whanganui, Waimarino, Ruapehu and Rangitikei districts.

We would also like to acknowledge the retirement of Jill Smith. She will be known to many of you as she has been supporting children, families and early learning services across the Whanganui, Waimarino and Ruapehu districts for more than 20 years as an Early Intervention Teacher. She will be finishing at the end of September and plans to spend more time with family and pottering in her beautiful garden. We wish Jill well in her future plans.

Jill Smith
Jill Smith

Health and safety accident and incident reporting

Over the last few months we have been notified of a variety of accidents/incidents within our services. This is a timely reminder to think about your health and safety obligations in regard to the safety and wellbeing of all children attending early learning services or Playgroups.

The links below to the Ministry of Education health and safety guidelines for early learning services can assist you in reviewing your policies and procedures. Of note, as per criteria HS34, where there is a serious injury, illness or incident involving a child whilst at your service:

If you would like any further advice on health and safety regulatory reporting requirements please contact your local office:

Stratford Teen Parent Unit (TPU) celebrating cultural identity

Monroe Brown
Monroe Brown.

The students at the TPU based alongside Stratford High School have been developing their culturally responsive practices and curriculum. As part of their work the students have been learning their own whakapapa and also that of their children. Here is the pepeha of one of the student’s tamariki. The korowai was handed down from whānau. 

Ko Hikurangi toku maunga
Ko Waiapu toku awa
Ko Horouta toku waka
Ko Ngati Porou toku iwi
Ko Ngati Maru toku hapu
No Waikato ahau
Kei Opunake toku kainga inaianei
Ko Jonathon toku papa
Ko Britten toku mama
Ko Monroé toku ingoa.

Please contact me using the details below if you wish to discuss any issues or ideas. I look forward to hearing from you.

Ngā mihi

Jann Marshall
Director of Education Taranaki, Whanganui, Manawatū
Phone: 06 349 6352
Email: jann.marshall@education.govt.nz

Wellington regional news 

Pacific fono

Participants at the Pacific Fono
‘Lau su’i tonu le mata o le niu’ Fono (Pierce the right eye of the coconut).

On 11 August in Porirua East I had the pleasure of attending a Fono ‘Lau su’i tonu le mata o le niu’ (Pierce the right eye of the coconut). The fono was facilitated by CORE as part of a Ministry of Education contract aimed at working with Pacific communities to develop ways to strengthen provision of quality early learning for Pacific children and families.

CORE worked with the governance, management and staff of all our Pacific early learning services to gather their ideas and then presented these back for further discussion at the fono, which involved representatives from 17 of our Pacific early learning services. It was a very positive event with many ideas shared by all participants. We will work with the ideas included in the final report with a view to providing further opportunities for community involvement in strengthening quality early learning for Pacific peoples.

Teacher-Led Innovation Fund (TLIF)

The TLIF supports teams of qualified teachers from early learning services, ngā kōhanga reo, schools and kura to collaboratively develop innovative practices that improve learning outcomes.

One of our region’s successful applications:

  • The Dannevirke Community of Learning is looking at the potential impact of smooth transitions from early learning services to primary on the wellbeing, holistic development and academic progress of the tamariki in Dannevirke. A recent article in Hawke’s Bay Today provides more information about how the TLIF contribution for the Dannevirke Community of Learning will be used.

Hawke’s Bay Today article(external link)

We look forward to hearing about the outcomes from these innovative inquiries. You can view more information, including current and completed projects, on the TLIF webpage.

Teacher-led Innovation Fund

Regional Public Health – Nurturing Mind and Body Wellbeing Seminars

Thank you to Kathie McCarten and her colleagues at Regional Public Health (RPH) for providing an overview of their work. People who have experienced the wellbeing seminars run by this team will know the benefits gained for their work in early learning and on a personal level. The seminars are a great opportunity to explore and reflect on actions that can improve wellbeing in everyday life, and the presenters are awesome. 

The Healthy Communities Team at RPH work with the staff of early learning centres (including Te Kōhanga Reo and Pacific centres) to support the health, safety and wellbeing of children in attendance. Our vision is that every early learning centre has an environment that supports the health and wellbeing of centre staff, children and whānau.

The team provides expert advice on the health and safety aspects of buildings, staff wellbeing, policies and procedures. This includes providing information on the management of children’s illnesses, health reports to the Ministry of Education prior to the licensing of new centres, as well as professional development for centre staff focused on wellbeing.

In 2015, RPH staff identified concerns from centres that staff sickness and stress levels were high. In response to these concerns, we developed and coordinated a one-day Wellness Workshop for centre staff using the Mental Health ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing’ (Connect, Give, Take Notice, Keep Learning, Be Active) as the foundation. The purpose of the workshop was to provide knowledge, tools and resources to support staff to make informed decisions about their self-care. In turn, this helps them to be positive role models for the tamariki in their care.

This workshop was successfully run again in 2016, with extensive evaluations showing how valuable it was. In 2017 changes were made based on evaluation findings and the Nurturing Mind and Body Wellbeing Seminar was born. This seminar has been successfully run in November 2017, May 2018 and will be repeated once again on 3 November 2018.

For further information on our work visit the RPH website. Visit our staff training and development page to find out more information about our Nurturing Mind and Body Wellbeing Seminar.

Regional Public Health Website(external link)

Strengthening Early Learning Opportunities (SELO) for Playgroups

Diana Cruse from Kahungunu ki Wairarapa has just completed a 6 month contract under the SELO2 provision with a small number of Playgroups in the Wairarapa. The focus of this project was to support them in developing resources that reflected the importance of Māori culture and to plan for a bicultural programme.

This was a great opportunity for the families to increase their understanding and participate in workshops that included weaving, waiata and local stories. Each Playgroup was also invited to participate in a bus trip to visit local sites of cultural significance.

Helen and Sophia at Oasis Masterton Playgroup
Helen and Sophia at Oasis Masterton Playgroup.
Workshop resources
Workshop resources.

The Incredible Years Teacher Programme for 2019

The Incredible Years programme started 25 years ago in the United States and is now in a number of countries around the world, as well as throughout New Zealand. The programme has been rigorously evaluated and has been found to produce highly effective results, especially in reducing challenging behaviours in children and increasing their social and self-control skills.

Incredible Years website(external link)

The programme is available to primary and early learning teachers of children aged 3 to 8 years. There are 6 one-day workshops spaced at regular intervals, usually 3 to 4 weekly over a 6 month period. Between sessions you get the opportunity to put into practice the practical strategies focused on throughout the day’s workshop. There is a follow-up 7th workshop approximately 3 months after Workshop 6 which all teachers are expected to attend.

The Ministry of Education provides a $1000 financial contribution per teacher attending the programme to assist with the cost of relieving teachers.

The next round of programmes will be commencing in mid-January 2019.

For further information and to request an Expression of Interest form please contact christine.hendra@education.govt.nz by Friday 30 November 2018.

Comments from local teachers:

  • “A great programme that has given me the toolkit to ensure positive outcomes for tamariki – thank you.”
  • “I liked the feedback/coaching sessions – someone actually cared whether or not I had done the homework and what sort of results I was getting with my focus child.”
  • “I just loved the whole programme. The time in which it was spread over was great so that we all had time to practice and implement strategies and go back to the group with questions etc.”

Carlee Simmonds – staff profile

Tēnā koutou katoa
Ko Tainui te waka
Ko Waikato te awa
Ko Wharepūhunga te maunga
Ko Ngāti Raukawa te iwi
Ko Ngāti Huri te hapū
Ko Pikitū te marae 

Ko Carlee Kapuārangi Simmonds tōku ingoa. I tipu ake ahau kei Te Awakairangi, anō hoki ko Te Awakairangi tōku kainga noho inaiānei. Kotahi taku tamaiti, ko Hana Hinekapuārangi tana ingoa. Tekau mā whā i ngā tau e mahi ana ahau kei Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga! I tēnei wā kei tētehi tari-ā-rohe tāku mahi. Ko tēnei mahi e pā ana ki ngā whare kōhungahunga me ngā kōhanga reo o te rohe whānui o Te Ika ā Maui. He Lead Education Advisor ahau.

Ngā mihi

Erika Ross
Director of Education for Wellington
Phone: 04 463 8668
Mobile: 027 509 0430
Email: erika.ross@education.govt.nz

Nelson, Marlborough, West Coast regional news

Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou katoa

Pacific language awareness dates for early learning services

There are 4 different Pacific language weeks in October. The language resources provided by the Ministry for Pacific People (MPP) can support connecting your early learning service to the mana reo strand of your Te Whāriki curriculum.

Awareness days/weeks to celebrate in ECE

SELO update

We consulted with many of you in developing our Strengthening Early Learning Opportunities (SELO) programmes for the region and are in the process of creating the contracts for this mahi. Some will be tailored to particular settings. Others like the oral language project are open to all. You have been contacted to confirm your participation by email. Your response, either way, means you secure your place or enable us to offer the professional development to another setting. Email: gwen.gilmore@education.govt.nz

Kāhui Ako update

Early learning clusters and the respective Kāhui Ako leaders in our region are embracing this concept of collaboration and completing their Expressions of Interest (EOI) for more formal engagement. The last month has also seen enthusiastic engagement by Playcentre in this work. Most Nelson clusters will have one meeting a term, are developing a long-term vision for early learning service engagement, and have a small number of representatives attending the formal Kāhui Ako leadership meetings.

Expressions of Interest (EOI)

The Ministry of Education is now supporting early learning clusters to engage with Kāhui Ako with a small amount of funding. Joanna and Kellie are supporting the West Coast, Gwen is supporting Nelson and Tasman, and Kellie and Elizabeth are supporting Marlborough. Please talk to your representatives for further details.

Thank you to those Nelson region services who participated in the survey to clarify the numbers of children in licensed services by cluster, the numbers of teachers (registered and non-registered), and the numbers of families. This work will support a shared understanding across early learning services and schools. For example, one early learning cluster in discussion with their Kāhui Ako colleagues were surprised to find the principals were not aware of the numbers of registered early learning teachers in their area. By the same token, the early learning members were surprised to know that primary schools were using inquiry as the process to engage in professional learning in much the same way as they were.

How does this Kāhui Ako mahi link with your service and Te Whāriki curriculum?

Mere Skerrett, in the latest Early Childhood Folio SET Document 22 (1) 2018, makes it clear how the new curriculum is a shift in Kaupapa Māori theory, and the relationships with identity, language and culture reinforce the importance of intentional curriculum and of the community. Thus, engaging in your Kāhui Ako gives an opportunity to strengthen your community links across the early learning sector.

Transitions are an obvious focus for the first stages of the engagement. To this end we are proposing the following as good guiding principles to support a comprehensive and complete approach:

  • Transitions are a journey not an event
  • Relationships matter
  • Communication matters
  • Traditions of learning, means of learning and means of assessment need to be clarified
  • Cultural context matters – culture includes the ‘ways of working’ that include using culturally responsive strategies and approaches
  • Structural things matter.

Through the joint work of some of the cross school Kāhui Ako leads and the work of Fiona Young (RTLB in the Nelson region) we now have some great research and data to develop what might be a comprehensive approach to transitions across the region.

Further, the Ministry of Education also has some great transition resources on the Education website.

Transition resources

Contact Gwen Gilmore gwen.gilmore@education.govt.nz for details and for further information on Kāhui Ako or the Transitions projects.

A Playgroup for environmental purposes – Blenheim Natural Learners Co-op

This Co-op provides a range of experiences to support their children to learn about, value and care for their environment. The Playgroup is located by a wooded area near the coastline, which provides plenty of opportunities for exploring the natural environment and learning about the wildlife with the support of adults. The group have developed a weta house, and after nearly a year of patiently waiting they now have weta that have taken up residence, providing opportunities for children to observe and learn about them. 

The group has also been on trips beyond the local surrounds of the Playgroup to extend their learning about the environment. With the support of an expert from the wider community, they carried out an investigation of a local stream and were able to determine through an analysis of the range of species in it that the waterway was healthy.

Blenheim Natural Learners Co-op’s Weta House

These trips were followed up with a visit to another stream that the group hypothesised would be less healthy. Children used the same method to determine the water quality and proved that their hypothesis was correct – that the waterway was of a lower quality. This led to some families carrying out further investigations of streams close to their homes etc. Through these experiences the Playgroup children have developed their awareness of the health of their local waterways and the impact this has on species that typically inhabit these.

The Playgroup group has also invited visitors to the Playgroup to share their expertise and support their learning about the environment. For example, they recently had a visitor who facilitated the dissection of an Albatross bolus (a bolus is the indigestible material that is regurgitated by an albatross). The dissection revealed a range of plastic and other indigestible objects that the albatross ingested, highlighting the impact of littering on the environment and wildlife.

Learning experiences such as these support learning across all strands of the early childhood curriculum Te Whāriki, in particular, the Exploration/Mana Aotūroa strand where children learn through active exploration of the environment.

Derek Lucic
Director of Education Nelson, Marlborough, West Coast
Phone: 03 539 1536
Mobile: 027 605 2015
Email: derek.lucic@education.govt.nz

Canterbury regional news

Director’s message

Kia ora

At the beginning of September I was away for 2 weeks, many thanks to Susan Schneideman who acted for me in my absence. During my leave I travelled to New York and attended the New York Fashion Show with my sister, as well as my niece Georgia who had been invited as a young designer to present her collection. Quite an achievement at 18 and I was very happy to share this with her.

Information about the Futures Network and the November hui is below – I look forward to seeing many of you at that hui.

Futures Network

There was a great turnout at our September hui to listen to Dr Carmen Dalli speak about the development of the draft Early Learning Strategic Plan. Opportunities will be available later this year for you to have your say on this.

We also reported back on actions taken in response to the wellbeing survey earlier this year. Representatives from the network met with Vanessa Goodwin and Barb Madden from the Ministry of Education to discuss and plan next steps. Notes from our meeting are available on the Futures Network Christchurch page on Facebook. As actions progress we will be asking for other volunteers to be involved at different stages.

Futures Network Christchurch Facebook page(external link)

Next Futures Network meeting

Date: Tuesday 13 November 2018

Time: 9.30am to 11.30am

Agenda: Annual Conversation with Director of Education Canterbury – Coralanne Child

Venue: Ground Floor Conference Room, Te Uruti, 48 Hereford St, Christchurch (cnr Hereford St and Cambridge Tce)

Please note that numbers able to attend are limited by the size of the venue so it is important to RSVP to barbara.madden@education.govt.nz by Friday 9 November.

We will end with a shared lunch – please bring something to contribute to this. Tea and coffee will be provided.

Ka Awa Whiria Kāhui Ako

Before I went on leave I had the privilege of attending the launch of Ka Awa Whiria Kāhui Ako in Geraldine. The schools and early learning services in Geraldine already had a strong existing relationship prior to the Kāhui Ako formation, which I am sure will strengthen and enrich the collaboration that already exists.

Ka Awa Whiria consists of 5 schools (Carew Peel Forest School, Geraldine High School, Geraldine Primary School, Woodbury School and Winchester Rural School) and 4 early learning services (Clandeboye Preschool, Geraldine Kindergarten, Geraldine Pre-school and Haywood Cottage Montessori). They are passionate about harnessing the positive community partnerships they have within and beyond school and early learning services, which includes working closely with the Ara Institute and local iwi.

It was great to meet such enthusiastic educational leaders from all sectors who are highly respectful and collaborative. There is also a great story on the launch of their Kāhui Ako on page 5 of the Geraldine News.

Geraldine News [PDF, 5.1MB](external link)

Ngā Mātāpuna o te Waihora Kāhui Ako – Playcentre engagement

This Kāhui Ako is in the Selwyn District and consists of Dunsandel School, Ellesmere College, Leeson Consolidated School, Southbridge School, Dunsandel Playcentre, Leeston Playcentre, Southbridge Playcentre, Active Explorers Leeston, Dunsandel Childcare and Preschool (Blue Goose Preschool) and Children First Pre-School.

Many of these early learning services had been involved in the Learning Community Cluster that operated in the area prior to the establishment of Kāhui Ako. The early learning services are represented at leadership meetings by Leanne Stewart (a Playcentre Coordinator), who shares information between the early learning services and schools in the Kāhui Ako. The Kāhui Ako is currently working on the development of their achievement challenge.

Having Playcentres involved in Kāhui Ako is a great opportunity for families to be part of the education pathway from early learning through to secondary school. Leanne is aware from her own experience, and that of other families in the community, that children can benefit from attending both Playcentre and other early learning services. This allows whānau to engage with the Playcentre philosophy while also utilising and engaging with the teacher-led early childhood services that support their community. The Playcentres and other early learning services are finding being part of the Kāhui Ako has highlighted the opportunities for all the early learning services and schools to work together to ensure parents are as connected as possible to the educational pathway of their children.

Leanne has also found that many of the Playcentre parents are drawn to the idea of being active partners in the education of their children, developing positive relationships across educational contexts, and taking ownership of their child's educational journey beyond the early learning environment.

Interagency workshops

It was great to have so many people attend the interagency workshops “recognising and responding to vulnerability in children and young people”. Thank you to everyone involved in the workshops, which focused on some very challenging issues for our community. It was also a great opportunity for our early learning services to meet key members of partner agencies Pegasus Health, Oranga Tamariki, NZ Police and the Department of Corrections.


The Canterbury section of the July Bulletin contained many useful links to agencies supporting wellbeing in children and adults. Please note that the resource ‘Issues to Resources’ was developed by the School-Based Mental Health Team, and there is an error in crediting the AllRight? Team in the July issue.

July Early Learning Bulletin

Ongoing consultation – reminder

A number of reviews will be reaching their conclusion with drafts scheduled to be released for consultation. Please remember to regularly visit our website where you will find information about current consultation and how you can contribute.

Education Conversation website(external link)

Managing hazards – meeting health and safety criterion

As we all know the safety and wellbeing of children is absolutely fundamental for early learning services. It is important that you regularly review your systems, processes and hazard checklists and ensure any repairs needed to your property are undertaken.

Our website has advice and guidance related to the criteria for different early learning service types – click on the relevant link below:

Home-based service (HS11)

Centre-based service (HS12)

Playgroup (HS7)

The criterion aim is to uphold the safety of children by ensuring that services of every type have a process to assess and address hazards. A hazard is a situation or thing that has the potential to cause death, injury or illness to a person. Every day of operation you are required to check equipment, premises and facilities for hazards to children.

Consideration of hazards must include but is not limited to:

  • Cleaning agents, medicines, poisons and other hazardous materials
  • Electrical sockets and appliances, particularly heaters
  • Hazards present in kitchen or laundry facilities
  • Vandalism, dangerous objects and foreign materials (e.g. broken glass, animal droppings)
  • The condition and placement of learning, play and other equipment
  • Windows and other areas of glass
  • Poisonous plants
  • Bodies of water.

The role of adults is an essential component of hazard and risk management in a service. Supervision must be active and focused. The type of supervision required depends on the layout of the premises, activities being undertaken, equipment being used, the ratio of adults to children, and the number, ages and needs of children.

Issues to consider in developing a hazard and risk identification and management system to ensure hazards are assessed and addressed in an ongoing way are:

  • How will hazards and risks be identified?
  • How will updating the identification of hazards and risks on a regular basis be managed?
  • How will identified hazards be eliminated, isolated or minimised? When will it be done? Who is responsible for this?
  • How will visitors to the service be informed about identified hazards?

Early learning services should ensure clarity for everyone about what needs to be checked daily and why.

You can also contact one of our Education Advisors for advice by emailing ECE.canterbury@education.govt.nz.

Sumner Playgroup

In July I mentioned a recent workshop held for Playgroups. The workshop was part of a Strengthening Early Learning Opportunities (SELO) funded contract to support engagement of infants and toddlers in Playgroups. The facilitator, Stuart Guyton from Wild Baby, also visited the Playgroups to talk about how the group could best provide for the learning needs of infants and toddlers. Below, Nicole McKinnon and Richard Punt from Sumner Playgroup respond to questions about the changes they have made as a result of this professional learning and development (PLD) support. Congratulations to Nicole and Richard for their work here. We are hoping to be able to offer this PLD to more Playgroups later this year.

Prior to the PLD what had you noticed about how the babies and toddlers were participating in Playgroup?

Toddlers tended to be highly mobile which was enabled by an open floor plan, short-term engagement activities/toys, poor definition of play areas and mobility enhancing toys (toy trikes), resulting in continuous movement throughout our hall. Toddlers tended to have limited focus and short-term engagement in any activity. Toys and equipment were mostly inappropriate.

Babies had negligible involvement. Although there was a defined space for babies, the area wasn’t utilised for several reasons. The area was cordoned off by a row of chairs to isolate the area, resulting in parents of babies being isolated from the rest of the Playgroup, which did not encourage them to stay. The toys in the baby space did not seem to be appropriate, whether too complex or not enticing enough, which again did not encourage the parents to stay. With the high mobility of the toddlers in the hall the babies’ space did not seem safe, resulting in parents with both babies and toddlers leaving the area to follow the toddler around the hall. All the above meant the area wasn’t utilised, discouraging any parent from attempting to use the space. Sumner Playgroup’s focus has been to improve the baby area by addressing each of the above issues.

What changes have you made to your environment for babies and for toddlers?

Room arrangement. Our first focus was to arrange the hall into areas of play, ensuring that low mobility areas and activities were not directly adjoined to high mobility or physical play areas. The following areas were discussed and a concept hall layout has been implemented.

Sumner Playgroup hall layout (by area)

Sumner Playgroup hall layout (by area)

Defined spaces. Once the concept hall layout was decided, the spaces were defined without creating physical barriers between each area. This has been accomplished by using:

  • Floor mats
  • Risers/ramps
  • Play equipment
  • Tables
  • Seating
  • Hall architecture.

Defining the areas has slowed movement of toddlers, creating safer zones for babies.

See the photos below.

  • Heuristic play/nature play
  • Baby play and landscape
  • Playdough
  • Kitchen/cooking/groceries area.

Heuristic and baby play
Heuristic and baby play

Heuristic and baby play
Heuristic and baby play.

Heuristic and nature play in storage
Heuristic and nature play in storage.

Kitchen toys and storage
Kitchen toys and storage.

Since these changes, multiple toddlers are engaging in these activities/areas for extended periods, reducing the movement within the room. Furthermore, parent engagement has improved as they play and explore with the new materials, encouraging their children to engage.

Reducing mobility was a key focus, with numbers in the hall approaching 30 under-3s each session. This was needed to establish an enjoyable yet safe environment for both babies and toddlers. The above points have all played a part, but the following additional steps were included:

  • Removing mobilising toys such as toy trikes
  • Moving the physical play into a corner away from areas that focus on engagement
  • Filling the hall with defined areas to reduce unhindered movement (refer to Figure 1)
  • Culture
  • Parent engagement.

Establishing routine. Although this was previously partly defined additional tools have been implemented:

  • Formalising morning tea with bell
  • Removing and introducing new toys at various times in the session
  • Toddler involvement in pack up
  • Parent engagement.

Moving forward, the Sumner Playgroup will observe how both babies and toddlers use the spaces, making improvements where required.

Modular baby landscape and carpeted risers
Modular baby landscape and carpeted risers.

Modular baby landscape and carpeted risers
Modular baby landscape and carpeted risers.

How has participating in the professional development improved your Playgroup sessions?

The professional development identified key areas requiring improvement for Sumner Playgroup. The one-to-one contact has provided resources and clear direction, enabling us to remediate the areas requiring immediate attention and skills to develop the other areas of play. The key improvement has been the reduction in toddler movement through the previously stated changes, positively affecting all other aspects of Playgroup.

How have children and families benefited from the professional development?

  • Improved safety especially for babies
  • Greater toddler and baby engagement in set activities
  • Reduction in movement while not restricting it physically
  • Greater parent engagement

Has the professional development supported the language, culture and identity of your Playgroup? In what ways?

There was a lot of interest generated in Playgroup when our families knew that Stu was going to be visiting us. More families attended simply because of sharing this, as they wanted to learn and support their child’s play and learning adventure. Sumner in itself tends to be a very socially and physically active community, centred on families, and this is a feeling which comes into our Playgroup.

Most of the families know and are friendly with each other and the children very much are treated as the youngest members of our community, so the fact that we were being supported by the Ministry and Stu within this area made everyone feel really good about things. With Richard acting so quickly to incorporate what was learned, the children were able to experience first-hand, almost immediately, a more focused and engaging Playgroup. Instead of chaos, we now have an incredible set up, with countless opportunities for the children to explore and create. It really has lifted our Playgroup and has reminded me (Nicole) specifically what it was like to play as a child.

What have you gained from attending these workshops?

A clear focus on the areas that need attention and the skills needed to make improvements. The confidence to make changes within our Playgroup. Knowing that the community has certain expectations as to what happens when they bring their children to Playgroup kind of made my action of progress slow, as to not rock the boat which so many know and love. Having expertise shared with us on how and why children play the way they do just made making the changes so much easier.

Thank you to the Sumner Playgroup for sharing this story.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you wish to discuss any ideas or issues. You can always contact me using the details below. If you have a celebratory story to tell about your service contact: barbara.madden@education.govt.nz

Enjoy this month’s Bulletin.

Mā te wā

Coralanne Child
Director of Education for Canterbury
Phone: 03 378 7345
Mobile: 0274 200 251
Email: coralanne.child@education.govt.nz

Otago-Southland regional news 

Director’s message

Kia ora koutou and warm Pacific greetings. 

Thank you to everyone who has contributed so far to the review of Home-based ECE and those who participated in the Dunedin consultation hui. There is still time to contribute – both the quick survey and the opportunity to submit a detailed submission close on 30 September. Further information, including about the proposed changes and the review process, can be found on the Kōrero Mātauranga | Education Conversation.

Education Conversation website(external link)

This month I have included updates about other aspects of the Education Work Programme, as well as a summary of Hui Tautoko – a professional learning event on refugee resettlement, the Murihiku and Otago Polyfests, and a staffing update.

Early Learning Strategic Plan

In last month’s Bulletin I indicated that the Early Learning Strategic Plan would soon be available for public consultation. This follows from the early learning online survey, with the Ministerial Advisory Group and the larger Reference Group using the results from the survey analysis to inform the development of the draft plan. This plan will also draw from themes identified through the Education Summit events and broader education conversation. 

We are expecting to hold regional consultation in late November-early December. Our team will support this engagement throughout the region, and will advise you of these opportunities once finalised.

Dunedin Pacific Education Summit

The final Pacific Education Summit hosted by the Hon Jenny Salesa was held in Dunedin on 30 August at Otago Polytechnic. It was an opportunity for Dunedin's Pacific community to add their voice to the Kōrero Mātauranga | Education Conversation being held across the country.

Approximately 90 participants attended, including Pacific learners, parents, educators and the wider Pacific community. The Pacific youth voice that presented back at the end of the evening raised similar themes as the adult groups around the need for a more culturally competent education workforce, recognition of the unique diversity of Pacific people, their special relationship with Aotearoa NZ, and the supporting of Pacific heritage through language and identity.

A reminder that everyone is still able to contribute to Kōrero Mātauranga – the quick survey will remain open until 14 October.

Kōrero Mātauranga – quick survey(external link)

Hui Tautoko – ECE refugee resettlement in Dunedin

For the past 2 and a half years, Dunedin has been a Refugee Resettlement Centre. To date we have had over 80 children under 5 arrive in Dunedin, with over half of these children now transitioned to school. On 15 August a second hui was held for ECE teachers on Refugee Resettlement in Dunedin – Hui Tautoko. This hui was delivered through Strengthening Education and Learning Opportunities (SELO) funding as a professional development event for ECE services.

Ruth Ham, Head Teacher at Auckland University of Technology Centre for Refugee Resettlement ECE, was the opening key speaker. She had spent the day before visiting some ECE services where former refugee children are now attending, and had many emotional moments of shared delight with children she had guided in their first 6 weeks in New Zealand. Ruth outlined the way her centre designed an intensive 6 week programme for all the children. She talked about the power of playdough and music (specifically taha Māori) for settling the children, building safety routines and relationship trust, and the power of praise, praise, praise and homai e rima.

The afternoon provided a choice of workshops, and again Ruth was able to share insights and deeper discussion into how her service provides a strong settling programme and the importance of the relationship building and getting to know children and their families. Early Intervention ESOL also promoted the value in communication with families, knowing the child, benefits of home language maintenance and calm teaching that ensures emotional safety. Sakhr Munassar and Angela Watts provided cross-cultural perspectives about Middle Eastern history, how we make assumptions, similarities with tikanga, and breaking down barriers. Dr Maysoon Salama detailed the importance of education in the Quran and what influence it has in literacy, culture and religion in the ECE setting.

Feedback from the day was positive, with many attendees commenting that they found the day inspirational, humbling and a positive environment for new learning and reflection. We are keen to hear what further professional development opportunities would benefit the ECE sector and have received good feedback from the hui evaluation and the recent request for input into SELO provision.

ESOL Professional Learning Clusters

We have around 50 primary and secondary English as a second language (ESOL) Professional Learning Clusters (PLC) throughout the country (including in Dunedin), and recently our first ECE cluster started. If you would like to lead an ECE PLC please contact Kirsty MacDiarmid, Senior Advisor ESOL, for information about how we can support a cluster.


There are scholarships for Teaching English in Schools for Speakers of Other Languages (TESSOL) available to teachers, including ECE teachers. For the Dunedin region, the Certificate in TESSOL through Massey University via online distance is possible, as long as teachers meet the pre-requisites. Further information can be found on the Education website.

Teaching English in Schools for Speakers of Other Languages (TESSOL)

ESOL online has resources, many of which are useful for ECE teachers. For example, ‘Our Cultural Village’ includes valuable background information about some cultural groups that may be of use to your services in supporting migrant families.

Our cultural village(external link)

Murihiku and Otago Polyfest events

The Murihiku Polyfest ran from 27 to 31 August at the ILT Stadium Southland in Invercargill, and once again was a stunning event showcasing cultural performances from early childhood children, and primary and secondary students. Otago Polyfest ran from 10 to 14 September and also was a stunning event, as well as being a celebration of 25 years – with the event growing from an informal event with a handful of participating groups in North Dunedin to over 150 groups from across Otago in 8 sessions in 2018. This included 59 early childhood groups.

Some of our staff were able to attend sessions at both events and were impressed by how performances were chosen and linked to their communities, seeing ako in action with primary school groups supporting their neighbouring early childhood services on stage, and the pride taken by all in their performances. Members of the audience acknowledged some performances through haka tautoko to whakanui the group. 

It’s also exciting that Queenstown will host its inaugural event this year. It’s great to see not only the expansion of the events and increased participation, but hearing about how participation links back to children learning more about Māori and Pacific culture and stories.

Staffing update

We are really pleased to have Lorraine Cooper back with us part-time as an ECE Education Advisor until the end of the year. She will work primarily with early learning services in Dunedin and North Otago, and support the work of the wider ECE team. Please email Lorraine with any queries at lorraine.cooper@education.govt.nz

Having Lorraine back with us allows Pip Laufiso to focus on her work across the sector with Pacific communities and refugee resettlement.

Please contact me if you wish to discuss any issues or ideas. I look forward to hearing from you.

Ngā mihi mahana

Julie Anderson
Director of Education Otago-Southland
Direct dial: 03 471 5217
Mobile: 027 836 4846
Email: julie.anderson@education.govt.nz

Last reviewed: Has this been useful? Give us your feedback