Early Learning Regional News – May 2018

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

Te Tai Tokerau regional news

Welcome to new playgroups

Tēnā koutou katoa

Welcome to these new Tai Tokerau playgroups:

  • Te Manu Aute – Whangarei
  • New Beginnings Te Puna Aroha – Kaeo
  • He Korowai Punawai Puna Reo – Kaitaia
  • Whakawhiti Ora Pai Puna – Pukenui
  • Whakawhiti Ora Pai Puna – Te Hapua
  • Ngā Tupuranga o ngā Puna Reo ki Kaiwaka
  • Ngā Tupuranga o ngā Puna Reo ki Kaipara
  • Sherwood Playgroup – Whangarei.

Playgroups are a great way for whānau to connect, support each other and share experiences around their children.

Celebrating Northland’s tamariki: Early Learning Conference, 6 October

This great professional learning and development opportunity is to be held on Saturday 6 October 2018. For more information see their website: www.celebratingnorthlandstamariki.co.nz(external link)

Future of Early Learning in New Zealand

10 Year Strategic Plan for Early Learning

You will have seen the announcement by the Minister of Education last month that he has established a Ministerial Advisory Group and a Reference Group to provide advice on the development of a new strategic plan which will set the high level direction and vision for early learning for the next ten years.

A draft Early Learning Strategic Plan will be released for public consultation in September 2018.

Home-Based Review

The Minister of Education also announced a review of Home-based Early Childhood Education.

This review will look at a range of areas which are known to support quality early learning outcomes, so that parents can be assured their children are receiving quality education and care in home-based services.

The Ministry will also develop a discussion document on the Home-based review with input from peak bodies and key stakeholders, for public consultation in July 2018.

For more information about the Early Learning Strategic Plan, including the Terms of Reference see our website(external link). We’ll keep you updated both via this bulletin and on our website.

If you were the boss of education in New Zealand: https://conversation.education.govt.nz/

We want to hear your views on education, and make sure there’s a strong input from the early learning sector into the national education conversation. You can contribute to the Education Conversation | Kōrero Mātauranga on Facebook, Twitter or through an online survey. Find out more on our website(external link).

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

Auckland regional news

Tenā koe

Education Summits and Education Conversation

You will have heard about the 2 Education Summits that the Minister hosted earlier this month. The Education Summit in Auckland was attended by over 700 people from all walks of life. Amongst the many strengths was the diversity of attendees and the richness of the conversations throughout the entire 2 days. A particular highlight was listening to the students in the student hub express their views and ideas in relation to education, and their contribution was certainly significant.

I have attached 3 photos from the Auckland Summit. The first captures key points as Minister Hipkins spoke when opening the Summit. The second depicts the work of 6 very talented artists who worked their magic throughout the 2 days, resulting in 6 very beautiful and powerful pouwhenua which were lifted towards the end of the Summit. The third captures the key points from the Prime Minister’s speech towards the end of the Summit.

Key points at the opening of the Summit.

6 very beautiful and powerful pouwhenua worked on by artists during the Summit.

The key points from the Prime Minister’s speech towards the end of the Summit.

The Education Summit was an extraordinary opportunity for all those attending to speak, listen and contribute widely to the Education Conversation | Kōrero Mātauranga and the future of education, but it is only one part of this conversation. We want the community to be heavily involved in this conversation, and strongly encourage you to take part in it by visiting the Education Conversation website(external link) and by sharing this message with your community.

So far over 8,000 survey responses(external link) have been received for the Education Conversation. We encourage you to get your students, family and whānau involved to have their say too. This is an opportunity for anyone and everyone to have a voice. If you’d like to see what other people are saying, check out the Ministry’s YouTube channel(external link).

Samoan Language Week

Samoan Language Week

Samoan Language Week – Fa’atauāina o le Vaiaso o le Gagana Sāmoa – has been launched at the Fale Samoa in Mangere. The theme this year is ‘Alofa atu nei. Alofa mai taeao’, which translates to ‘Kindness given. Kindness gained’. Alofa is a Samoan term that has a range of meanings, from acting kindly all the way through to falling in love. Alofa in the context of this theme is more towards the ‘kindness and compassion’ end of the alofa spectrum. The idea of alofa atu nei is a call to show kindness and compassion today to ‘bear fruits’ for tomorrow. If everyone does the same, care and compassion will thrive and everyone will benefit.

If you haven’t already, check out these great resources from TKI(external link) for teaching and learning Gagana Sāmoa.

Kāhui Ako Korero

There are now 53 approved Kāhui Ako in Auckland, with the latest 2 additions being South Manurewa Kāhui Ako (James Cook High School) and Ki Atua hei te Kororia Kāhui Ako (Kingsway School). Seven additional Kāhui Ako from the Auckland area had their achievement challenges endorsed in December 2017 and January 2018, meaning there are now 40 Kāhui Ako working collaboratively towards their goals.

There are now 53 approved Kāhui Ako in Auckland

Massey Kāhui Ako - picnic at Moire Park.

Many thanks to the early learning services in Massey Kāhui Ako who shared photos with us of their joined up picnic at Moire Park. Children, whānau and teachers from Royal Road Preschool, Leataata Samoan Preschool and Colwill Kindergarten came together for shared play and morning tea during April, and had a great time interacting with one another.

Staff changes

Over the last few weeks we have bid farewell to Deborah Wansbrough, who has taken up a role at the North Auckland Kindergarten Association, and to Natasha Bleach who has gone on parental leave. Sharon Waiariki has also finished up in her current role and moved to another specialist role within the Ministry. We have also welcomed Lisa Thomson back from parental leaveand are recruiting for a number of other education advisor positions.

Courageous conversations about race

On 29 March, around 50 of our staff were privileged to spend the morning attending a workshop with Glenn Singleton and Dr Matthew Farry, who represent the Institute for Courageous Conversations About Race(external link), an organisation committed to achieving racial equity in education.

A COURAGEOUS CONVERSATION™ is an award-winning protocol for effectively engaging, sustaining and deepening inter-racial dialogue. Some of you will be familiar with this work, as this workshop has also been delivered to a number of schools and Kāhui Ako.

Our staff were also joined by Daniel Pepper, Principal of St Dominic’s Catholic Primary School and Kāhui Ako lead for the Auckland Central Catholic Kāhui Ako. Daniel shared with our staff his own engagement with COURAGEOUS CONVERSATION™ and why the Kāhui Ako have embarked on this journey.

Our staff found the workshop to be insightful and moving, and are already working on incorporating the ideas into our work, and planning future opportunities to discuss and share further on this topic.

Our staff were privileged to spend the morning attending a workshop with Glenn Singleton and Dr Matthew Farry.


Looking for stories

Is your early learning service proud of the quality it provides or have you been involved in a special event or celebration? We are looking for Auckland stories to showcase best practice, innovation or collaboration in this Bulletin. If you have a story to tell please contact kat.ashmead@education.govt.nz

Information and dates for safety checking

We would like to remind all early learning services that they must safety check all their children’s workers. These are requirements under the Vulnerable Children Act 2014 (VCA) and our licensing and certification criteria. All children’s workers must be safety checked according to the standards set out in the VCA and safety checking regulations.

The safety checking requirements have been phased in since 2015 with the next date for compliance being 1 July 2018:

  • From 1 July 2015, all new core children’s workers should have been safety checked
  • From 1 July 2016, all new non-core children’s workers should have been safety checked
  • By 1 July 2018, all existing core children’s workers must be safety checked
  • By 1 July 2019, all existing non-core children’s workers must be safety checked.

If you are an early learning service owner-operator, and you also work in that early learning service as a children’s worker, then you need to arrange to be safety checked by a third party. You can choose to use our approved screening service (external link)to undertake that safety check for you.

All early learning services must have a written procedure for safety checking all children’s workers and a record of all safety checks and the results.

Safety checking includes the collection and consideration of a range of information about the person. A safety check for new children’s workers is made up of 7 components:

  1. Verification of identity (including previous identities)
  2. An interview
  3. Information about work history
  4. Referee information
  5. Information from any relevant professional organisation or registration body
  6. A NZ Police vet
  7. A risk assessment.

The risk assessment involves an evaluation of all information collected to assess if there is any risk to children’s safety. You can find further information on our website.

Noho ora mai

Isabel Evans
Director of Education Auckland
Phone: 09 632 9333

Email: isabel.evans@education.govt.nz

Waikato regional news

Tēnā koutou katoa

I hope that this edition of He Pānui Kōhunghunga finds you all well as we head into the cooler months of the year.

Kōrero Mātauranga – let’s talk about education

The Government has launched the Education Conversation | Kōrero Mātauranga and wants to hear the views of all New Zealanders who have an interest in education. The conversation needs to hear voices from all parts of the community, including children, young people, adult learners and those with learning support needs, their parents, whānau, communities, Māori, Pasifika, teachers, researchers, and education leaders at all levels, disability organisations, and employers and industry.

We’d love to hear your views and ideas via this survey(external link). This is your chance to shape the future of New Zealand education, for all our children and young people, for the next 30 years or more.

Nesian festival

The recent Nesian festival, held in Hamilton, was an amazing day for families to enjoy brilliant performances and delicious foods from around the Pacific region. It was also a great opportunity for a team from the Waikato Ministry of Education to network with Pasifika whānau, informing about our key message of education as an uninterrupted pathway from early learning through to tertiary and employment. With representation from early learning, schooling, learning support, vocational pathways and Kāhui Ako, whānau were well informed about the learning pathway. Families were delighted to be offered books, written in Pasifika languages, to take home and share.

The Ministry at Nesian festival.  Nesian festival

A visit to Kuaotunu Steiner Playgroup

Kuaotunu Steiner Playgroup.  Real and natural play equipment Children are encouraged to explore and use their imaginations

A historic community hall complete with beach views is home to the Kuaotunu Steiner Playgroup. The smell of freshly baked bread greets parents, children and visitors arriving to begin a morning’s play. The warm bread is eagerly anticipated by everyone. Ursula Gaebler, the group’s coordinator, ensures that the environment reflects the Steiner philosophy of using real and natural play equipment, and open-ended and unformed materials. Children are encouraged to explore and use their imaginations in a supportive respectful environment that allows for both unstructured play and adult-led activities. On the morning of our visit the children were absorbed in a storytelling performance from Ursula, captivated as she interwove music with fabric, natural resources and a small figure to tell her story.

Parents travel from nearby Whitianga to attend the playgroup and spend the morning networking and interacting with parents from the local community. A sense of history is not just confined to the building, as parents themselves attended this playgroup and recall happy memories spent in this space.

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

We are in to the autumn months now and hopefully this May Bulletin finds you well.

Kōrero Mātauranga – Education Conversation

I hope you are all up to speed with Kōrero Mātauranga, where our Minister of Education has begun a national Education Conversation. Launched by the Prime Minister in March, this conversation is the chance for all New Zealanders to have a say on what our education system should look like for the next 30 years – from early learning, schooling and tertiary through to lifelong learning. I encourage you to have your say and complete the survey(external link).

Share the survey with your staff, families and networks and encourage them to have a say on what our education system should like.

There has been huge interest in the 2 Education Summits, with the events in Christchurch and Auckland. We had a number of teachers, parents, students and others attending the Auckland event and I am excited about the opportunity for different voices to be heard.

Acting while I am on leave

I will be away for 4 weeks from 16 May until 18 June and Dawid de Villiers will be acting for me in my absence. I will be in the UK on a Leadership Development Centre Fellowship I was awarded in 2017. My Fellowship will look at how divergent agencies and organisations work in partnership with education, health and social providers to achieve positive outcomes for children and young people. I will present and share my findings on my return and find opportunities to work with others to implement some of the ideas. If you need to contact Dawid his mobile is 027 568 0391 and his email dawid.devilliers@education.govt.nz.

Appointment of new Manager Education

Nancy Mcfarlane, Manager Education covers the Rotorua and Taupō areas

I am excited to announce I have appointed Nancy Mcfarlane to the role of Manager Education. This is one of my senior management roles and covers the Rotorua and Taupō areas. Nancy is currently the Principal of Glenholme School in Rotorua and is the Lead Principal for the Rotorua Central Community of Learning | Kāhui Ako.

She is well known and respected in the education community and brings a wealth of experience in managing a school, and has a deep passion for ensuring that all children receive equitable opportunities. She will be a real asset to us and you as leaders. Nancy will start with us on 16 July. In the meantime Merle Ramsay will continue to act in that role for this term.

Category 4 year ERO – congratulations!

Congratulations to ABC Kawaha Point and Kōhanga Reo o Tarimano who received a 4-year Education Review Office report. It is only with extreme hard work and dedication that services receive such a high quality review. Well done and keep up the great work for our tamariki.

Early Childhood Learning Support Symposium ‘Support learning for all’

We would like to invite you to register for this Learning Support Symposium on 9 June in Rotorua and 7 July in Tauranga. This is a day to discover new ways of supporting learners, building indicator awareness and recognising the support that is there to help. Together we want to support and encourage inclusive practice that makes a difference in children’s lives. So take advantage of this opportunity and witness the wonderment of Early Intervention in Natural Environments and all the in-between. If you have not already received an invite please email michelle.cochrane@education.govt.nz for Rotorua and danny.dunham@education.govt.nz for Tauranga to register.

Tiaki Early Learning Centre – global citizenship award

The Tiaki Early Learning Centre received the UNESCO global citizenship award on 24 April. The centre’s project ‘Te Arohanui o Papatuanuku’ provides opportunities for tamariki aged between 3 and 5 to lead by example in their role as kaitiaki o Papatuanuku – guardians of the land. The young children are encouraged to act as leaders in projects to reduce waste and foster sustainable living practice. This includes picking up litter as they walk through the community, and looking after a section of wetlands in the local area, among other projects.

“The judges were excited by the early learning centre’s approach, which is embedding important values in the tamariki that will likely grow as they get older,” says Ms Baker. “It’s a simple but powerful idea, which adopts innovative use of local knowledge and tikanga”.

The early learning centre is working with the local community to establish and sustain the Tiaki way of being in the world; drawing on Te Whāriki, ideas of place-based education, using nature pedagogy, and enabling the children to take action in areas related to the health of mother earth. They are also providing opportunities for the children to be leaders “through the actions they do every single day”.

Attending from the Tiaki Early Learning Centre: Ralph Mosen (grandparent); his grandson Rafe Baldwin who attends the centre, and head teacher Katherine Maud.
Attending from the Tiaki Early Learning Centre: Ralph Mosen (grandparent); his grandson Rafe Baldwin who attends the centre, and head teacher Katherine Maud.

If you have any further queries about any licensing requirements please contact our Education Advisors:

If there is anything you would like to discuss, or if you have an issue you want to talk about, please contact me via my details below.

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 / Tairāwhiti regional news

Tēnā koutou

Education Summit

Some of you would have attended the second Education Summit – Kōrero Mātauranga in Auckland. I was lucky enough to be part of the first Summit in Christchurch. It was attended by over 800 people from all walks of life which brought a wonderful dose of diversity to the conversations.

For many this was their first opportunity to find a platform for their voice. I found it a unique experience with no event programme – there were informal hubs for ‘coffee table’ discussion, a menu of speakers, then participants reconvened around the ‘coffee table’ to debate and answer questions before moving on to new hubs.

The themes of the hubs were:

  • Ways of learning / Ngā ara ako
  • Ways of teaching / Ngā ara whakaako
  • Lifelong learning / Te ara mutunga kore o te whai I te mātauranga
  • Skills, competencies and behaviours / Ngā pukenga, ngā āheitanga me ngā whanonga
  • Enabling self-fulfilling lives / E whāia ana to iti kahurangi
  • Thriving as a society / Mauri mahi, mauri ora.

Some core values were distilled by the 800 Christchurch participants that will be further developed and refined. These included hauora/wellbeing, creativity, respect, belonging, manaakitanga, diversity, equity, and family and community/whānaunga-tanga.

It was a great event and an opportunity for me to connect with our South Island education whānau. This was the first time since the 1937 ‘New Education Forum’ that there has been a gathering of this type to discuss education. Over the course of the next few weeks and months I will ensure we keep you posted with developments and updates.

Early learning Kāhui Ako hui

Two early learning Kāhui Ako hui have been held in Hawke’s Bay / Tairāwhiti this month, one in Gisborne and one in Napier. The Havelock North and Hastings hui will take place in the next few weeks.

The purpose of these hui is to bring early learning services together to talk about how they can collaborate with the rest of the education sector to ensure success for all learners. These initial hui are to help you gain a deeper understanding of Kāhui Ako and to talk about how they can connect with those in the area. There is a plan to create early learning networks to sit alongside each Kāhui Ako in the region that will be rolled out over the next 2 years. Wairoa and Central Hawke’s Bay already have early learning services fully integrated into their Kāhui Ako, so the regional team are working with them to support their developing plans to collaborate across the sectors.

Ngā Pēpi Paopao

Playgroup update: “We have been fortunate in gaining Ministry of Education funding for 12 months to set up supported playgroups in Waikura Valley/Potaka (at Potaka School), Te Araroa (at Te Waha o Rerekohu) and at Tokomaru Bay (at Hatea-a-Rangi) .

All going well we hope to also have another supported playgroup in Ruatoria (at Ngata College), and possibly Waipiro Bay or Te Puia Springs in the second half of the year.

Supported playgroups happen 2 days per week, for 4 hours per day. Parents/whānau attend these days and are supported in running their playgroup by a kaiako, who in turn is supported by our team at Tairāwhiti REAP.

Resources are supplied by Ministry of Education and our organisation. Eventually, the whānau take ownership of the playgroup, with regular visits from our team to support them. To help us ensure the tamariki are getting a great start to their learning, we're really pleased to have Denise Kamizona from Te Araroa on board.

It’s so much fun that children are insisting that they go every day, and parents have a difficult time at the end of the day when their children don't want to go home. If that’s not a great response, then I don’t know what is!

Interested? Contact Denise Kamizona at denise@tairawhitireap.org.nz or on 022 027 4565.


  • Potaka Playgroup, Potaka School, Mondays, 9am-1pm
  • Hatea-a-Rangi Playgroup, Hatea-a-Rangi School, Tokomaru Bay, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 9am-1pm
  • Rerekohu Playgroup, Rerekohu School, Thursdays and Fridays, 9am-1pm”.

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

Taranaki, Whanganui, Manawatū regional news

Kia ora

Ngā mihi maioha ki a koutou katoa

Education Summit

On 12-13 May I attended the Education Summit in Auckland. The summit events are a milestone in the Education Conversation | Kōrero Mātauranga launched by Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Jacinda Ardern in March.

There were well over 800 people at the event from across the North Island. Our region had representatives from early learning services, schools, iwi and business organisations, as well as parent and student representation. The event focused on what learning should look like in the future. It was a lively 2 days, with great speakers sharing their experiences and vision, as well as lots of talking in different groups to capture people’s viewpoints.

A key feature of the kōrero is an online public survey. If you have not already done so, I encourage you to join the conversation by participating in the online survey on our website(external link).

Changes to your details

As we head into the winter months it is a good time to remind everyone about the need to regularly review and update contact details for your service and families. Services are required to keep us updated with any changes, including those to contact names and numbers. It is particularly important that the details of the service provider and the emergency contacts are current, to ensure we are able to make contact quickly in an emergency situation.

Notification of change of qualified persons for early learning services

Home-based services, playcentres and kōhanga reo receiving the quality funding rate must notify their regional Ministry office via an EC11 form [PDF, 153 KB] if eligibility for the quality rate can no longer be met. They must also inform us via the EC11A form [PDF, 223 KB] if there has been a change in the coordinator or trained parents/whānau but the service is still eligible for the quality rate.

Please send the completed forms to ece.twm@education.govt.nz. The forms are available in Appendix 2: Resources and Examples on the Ministry of Education website in the ECE Funding Handbook. Certified copies of qualifications must be attached to the forms.

Professional learning opportunity

In June we will be offering a professional learning opportunity to early learning services across our region. The sessions will focus on 2 areas:

  1. Implementing the requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act (VCA) 2014
  2. Tātaiako – Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners.

Further details will be emailed directly to all early learning services and playgroups across the region shortly. In the meantime, please pencil in the following dates in your diary:

Tuesday 5 June Whanganui 6pm – 8pm
Wednesday 6 June Palmerston North 6pm – 8pm
Monday 11 June New Plymouth 6pm – 8pm

The regulations

We would like to support you all to review and strengthen your implementation of the regulations by highlighting a particular requirement each month. If you have any questions or would like to suggest a requirement to focus on then, contact an education advisor or send an email to ece.twm@education.govt.nz.

Excursions: The criterion is underpinned by the understanding that excursions outside the licensed premises and outside of the home are a valuable aspect of the curriculum. The inherent risks involved in excursions must be managed to uphold the safety and wellbeing of children. The key links you require are:

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

Christchurch Education Summit

I attended the Education Summit on 5 and 6 May in Christchurch with approximately 700 people from all walks of life. The diversity of attendees was certainly one of the many strengths of the event and a highlight for me was listening to students and seeing the significant contribution they made over the 2 days. This was also a great opportunity for the early learning sector to participate in the conversations and thinking going on to shape the future of our education system. Over the course of the next few weeks and months I will ensure we keep you posted with developments. The Auckland Education Summit was held on 12 and 13 May.

Pre-Budget announcement

At the closing of the Education Summit in Auckland on 13 May, the Prime Minister announced a funding boost of $21 million for children in early learning services to receive learning support over the next 4 years. You can read the Prime Minister’s full speech(external link).

Education Conversation | Kōrero Mātauranga

Education Conversation | Kōrero Mātauranga

I also encourage you to get your staff, family and whānau involved in the Education Conversation. This is an opportunity for everyone to have a voice. You can view a video clip of the conversation with staff from Community Kindy Naenae on YouTube(external link) talking about some of the ideas they have. To join the Education Conversation you can use the hashtag “#EdConvo18” on Facebook and Twitter or complete the online survey(external link).
(external link)

The Rata Playgroup story – a place for the young and old

Thank you to Tessa McTaylor for sharing Rata Playgroup’s story below about connecting between generations.

Treasures of Papatuanuku
Treasures of Papatuanuku

“The playgroup was established in Naenae to offer something special for tamariki, their whānau and the wider community. There is something magical about mixing generations and so the participation by the elderly in the playgroup adds a unique feature. Everyone benefits: children have exposure to the elderly that they may not have elsewhere; parents and caregivers expand their ‘village’ and have the wisdom of an older generation to draw from; and the elders gain energy and the joy that comes from being with young children and their families.

In our nearly 2 years of operation, our format for integrating the generations together has changed. We’ve learned to be flexible to meet the needs of the situations that arise. Established at Wesleyhaven, a rest home with both supported living spaces and independent villas, we initially welcomed the residents into our hall. They mingled naturally, playing, chatting and sharing kai. As time passed these residents became less mobile and so we did the ‘travelling’, walking down the long hallway to their recreation room. Here we shared various combinations of songs, instruments, parachute games, bubbles, balloons and playdough.

The children became so familiar with the space and the residents themselves, and would wait at the door, eager and ready to head over. In fact, they continued to do so for weeks after the sudden closure of the rest home put an end to the visits and those relationships. After a period of just us, we were invited to join the Ageing Well Group, an on-site day programme where we shared singing and outside play and had a special Christmas party for the children. This will begin again soon, and we’ll continue our flexible approach to building the best relationships we can.

We have also been blessed with one loyal attendee who stayed on in his villa. This lovely gentleman Colin comes each week to chat and play, have a cuppa and some company. He is much in demand for ball games and trolley races with his wee friends.

The intergenerational aspect is unique, but it is also just one part of the picture. Our playgroup has developed its own character over time and we’re proud of what we offer:

  • It is a wonderful place to play. We have been very selective with the resources we offer, focusing on those that are high quality natural materials, and provide for open-ended play. We have lots of heuristic materials and loose parts. We support products made here in Aotearoa. We recognise patterns of play/schemas and share this knowledge with our parents and caregivers.
  • It is a wonderful place for people. Our children experience a warm space where their holistic development is nurtured. It is also a special place for adults. Our parents and caregivers often comment on how much they enjoy coming, and we offer them large servings of kindness, support and belonging. Our facilitators and volunteers also love coming each week, building those relationships and seeing our playgroup growing and thriving.
  • It is a wonderful place to enjoy the treasures of Papatuanuku. Many of our materials come from nature. Our deck is covered with a beautiful willow tree, with hanging branches and fallen leaves to explore and play in. Beyond the deck we have a beautiful outdoor space with grassy hills, bush and a stream. The setting is so inviting, and many child-led adventures take place each week.

Playgroup resources
Playgroup resources

With the ongoing developments at the Wesleyhaven Village we are looking forward to being part of the emerging vibrant multi-generational community”.

Tessa McTaylor is a past Playgroup Coordinator and parent of Rata Playgroup
Rata Playgroup Coordinator – Kiri Olds 0274 354 820

Elara, Ronan and Ioane at play Elara, Ronan and Ioane at play

Elara, Ronan and Ioane at play

Rata Playgroup is a certified Playgroup under the Ministry of Education Lower Hutt

Doreen McKenzie (Dorz) – staff profile

Tēnā koutou katoa
Ko Mataatua te waka
Ko Rangitāiki te awa
Ko Pūtauaki te maunga
Ko Ngāti Awa te iwi
Ko Ngāti Pukeko te hapu
Ko Poroporo te marae
I whānau mai ahau i Whakatane
Kei Te Awakarangi ahau e noho ana

I have been in the Ministry for many years, as a Senior Support Officer, ECE and then in 2010 became an ECE Advisor working with playgroups. My role is supporting and monitoring certificated playgroups in the Wellington and Upper Hutt areas. I also work alongside my licensing colleagues to support them. I enjoy working with the sector focusing on making a positive difference for our tamariki, whānau and community. You can contact me at doreen.mckenzie@education.govt.nz or phone 04 463 7033.

Kind regards

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

Early childhood education (ECE) cluster meetings

We are supporting the development of clusters of early learning service providers in each of the Kāhui Ako areas. Meetings started with the Nelson area in April. The Motueka-Tasman area and Waimea regions are being supported in May with others to follow. The purpose of these cluster meetings is to support improved sharing of information between and amongst early learning services.

For example, in the first meetings, we completed a consultation on Strengthening Early Learning Opportunities (SELO). We also discussed services engaging with Kāhui Ako and how each area had its own opportunities and barriers to engagement. We are hoping that within each cluster, across the wider Nelson, Marlborough, and West Coast region, you will be able to find some space for sharing your own best practice and ideas.

Clusters, with regular (eg, 6-weekly) meetings, may have a mix of different early learning work such as sharing teacher registration practices or resources for strategic leadership. Clustering will also support engagement with Kāhui Ako into the future. In some areas, such as the West Coast and Golden Bay, you may already have a form of clustering and communicating that is working to support our overall goals for improving the quality of early learning.

If you want more information on clusters or Kāhui Ako in the early learning context, contact either Gwen Gilmore at gwen.gilmore@education.govt.nz (Nelson, Tasman areas), Kellie Warren at kellie.warren@education.govt.nz (Marlborough) or Joanna Lorimer at joanna.lorimer@education.govt.nz (West Coast). These discussions are being held with the Kāhui Ako leads in the office.

Strengthening Early Learning Opportunities (SELO)

Initial feedback from the ECE clusters in Nelson is that services are wanting more SELO to support leaders and leadership in early learning, leadership in bicultural practices, strengthening systems, strengthening mathematics, early literacy and practice with infants and toddlers. SELO on codes and standards might also be useful. If you have other ideas for the delivery of SELO in our region please contact Kellie Warren (kellie.warren@education.govt.nz).

Consultations on the future direction of early learning

Changes are in the pipeline for early learning over the next period of time. The Education Summit outcomes will support all elements of these consultations below.

Explicit in all this work is how to better support Māori, Pasifika and those with additional learning needs. The documents also reference the importance of stronger pathways and links with health and social care.

Much more than words

Much more than words

Developing oral language is a bit of a theme for early learning since the publication of the ERO report on oral language(external link). 'Much More Than Words'(external link) is a great resource that can support your teachers and parents to develop rich oral language engagement.

'Much More Than Words' gives clear information supporting the communication development of young children. Alongside the developmental milestones are helpful tips at each of the stages. 'Much More Than Words' booklets are available from the Down the Back of the Chair website(external link).

As teachers, it is recommended that you monitor a child's communication skills. If you have concerns compare the child's skill level with what is developmentally appropriate as outlined in the booklet.

To develop your ‘Request for Support’ create alist of 10-15 words that the child says, writing them as they are said, eg, fish = bish. If the concerns relates to the ages and stages of communication development give a sample of the word combinations the child uses, eg, “me go home”.

Once the Request for Support and samples have been received, an appointment for Advice and Guidance is set with a Speech and Language Therapist who can give recommendations and next steps.

If a child's development is behind the expected levels a phone call to your local Ministry of Education Learning Support office is recommended. Please ring your local MOE Learning Support office if you have any queries.

New Zealand Sign Language Week

New Zealand Sign Language Week(external link) was 7 to 13 May.  Do you want some resources to develop you, your staff or parents’ awareness? Great resources are available in the First Steps Aotearoa(external link) website for 0 to 5 years.

Managing food safety risks

Are you serving food to children? Are they making food? Children are among the most vulnerable populations for food-related illnesses, and early learning services are considered high risk as they have high incidences of food-related illnesses. Please do this 5 minute check(external link) to ensure you know whether you need to be registered. The 5 minute check is the official title of the new resource from New Zealand Food Safety for early learning services and kōhanga reo, to quickly and easily ensure you are complying with new food safety rules and regulations. Perhaps a great topic for your next staff meeting? 

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 end of April we celebrated our first year in our new building – it has been an incredible year filled with highlights, successes, adventures, hosting and many opportunities to connect with each other. Thank you all for being a part of it.

Education portfolio work programme

In February, the Minister of Education announced a broad work programme that takes a strategic approach to the future of the education sector. The programme includes the development of a 10-year strategic plan for the future of early learning services.

A Ministerial Advisory Group has been appointed and I was pleased to see Dr Alexandra Gunn from the University of Otago as part of that group. Alex began her early learning career in Dunedin, moving to take up a head teacher position in a rural centre in South Canterbury before taking up a position in the early childhood teacher education programme at what was then the Christchurch College of Education. I was privileged to work alongside her at that time and know that many of you will have also had this privilege. Congratulations Alex.

You can read about the work programme here on our website.

Education Summit

At the beginning of May I attended the Education Summit in Christchurch with 800 people from all walks of life. The diversity of attendees was certainly one of the many strengths of the summit. A highlight for me was listening to students and seeing the significant contribution they made over the 2 days. The following week the summit was held in Auckland and a summary will be widely shared. Over the course of the next few months I will ensure we keep you posted with developments. You can join the Education Conversation at: https://conversation.education.govt.nz/(external link)

Emergency Management Plan

We continue to focus on working collaboratively with other agencies and this includes discussions on community wellbeing and, more recently, NZ Police response times. The NZ Police continually assess incidents in terms of risk and the need for an immediate response. As you know, service providers are required to keep staff and children safe and all early learning services should have a detailed and updated Emergency Management Plan which meets the requirements of the licensing criteria HS7. A template for this plan can be found on our website.

I have also included a link to a school guide of when to call NZ Police [PDF, 425KB](external link), which may be of use to you.

Working with separated families

Our education advisors are regularly contacted for advice on how to work with both parents when they no longer live together. While a parent may not have day-to-day care of their child, they retain their rights and responsibilities as a legal guardian of the child, including being part of any decision around education (unless there is a court order preventing this). This requires early learning services to ensure there are processes for involving both parents in the child’s education. Services need to include them in events and activities, in any consultation being undertaken by the service, and keep them informed about the progress of their child.

In most cases, parents are able to work out an agreement which is collaborative and supportive of each other and the child. Unfortunately, in some cases this is not able to be agreed and an early learning service is asked to support one parent over the other or not to involve the other parent. Guidance for early learning services about working with separated families is available on our website: GMA4.

The guidance states that, unless a court order rules otherwise, all parents are entitled to:

  • Reports about their child’s participation in early learning services and learning experiences
  • Participate in the opportunities provided by the early learning service to engage with parents
  • Have access to any official records held at the service related to their child’s participation in that service.

This guidance also states that it is not the early learning service’s role or responsibility to adjudicate disputes between parents, although you might provide information to the child’s advocate or the court that can help the court determine the best arrangements for the child.

If a staff member was to appear in any court hearings they should not take sides and the focus for information should be on facts and not the personal opinions of staff.

If an early learning service decided to provide a report to a parent’s lawyer, this should be copied to the other parent (fulfilling your requirement to report and communicate with both parents). Alternatively, you may decide to provide a report to the lawyer or advocate for the child should they request it.

Anything in a report should be factual, eg, attends on a regular basis or does not attend on a regular basis. Also whether there are concerns about the child at the centre and, if there are, what these concerns are (avoid blaming one parent or the other) and what you have done/are doing about these.

Having a written procedure or information available for parents about the role of the service in these situations can help prevent difficult situations occurring. This may be in the form of a discrete procedure for separated parents, or by way of an addition to your current enrolment and communicating with parents procedures. It is important that parents enrolling a child in your service are aware of the legal requirements to involve the other parent. If you would like any support with the development of these procedures, please do not hesitate to contact one of our education advisors.

Early Years Professional Learning Hui 2018 – Rising to the challenge of innovation and diversity

Every year, Kidsfirst Kindergartens host the Early Years Professional Learning Hui in Christchurch. This year the 2-day event attracted just over 380 early learning teachers and early learning professionals from all over the South Island and a few from the North. Some of our education advisors attended part or all of the conference and were appreciative of the invitation from Kidsfirst to attend.

The theme of the hui was “Rising to the challenge of innovation and diversity”. Kaiako had the opportunity to hear 7 keynote speakers covering Matauranga Māori, Tangata Pasifika, teaching 2-year-olds, nature education and environmental sustainability, and understanding challenging behaviours. The keynote speakers were all leaders or emerging leaders in their field. The opening keynote addresses by Professor Angus Macfarlane and Associate Professor Sonja Macfarlane set the tone for the hui, highlighting the importance of cultural and learner identity and partnerships with whānau to enable kaiako to maximise learning experiences for tamariki. Ruud Kleinpaste challenged kaiako to look to nature for innovative solutions, while Dr Cara Swit talked about the long-term impact of negative relational behaviour and introduced practical strategies to address these as well as other challenging behaviours.

Each participant was able to choose 3 workshops from a selection of 34 presented by both local and national practitioners and researchers from across the early learning sector. All workshops and keynote speakers supported kaiako to build knowledge and understanding around key areas that contribute to achieving the foci of Te Whāriki – deciding what matters here, providing a rich curriculum for all tamariki, supporting cultural and learner identity, developing partnerships with parents and whānau, and positive pathways and transitions.

If you missed out on this year’s hui and would like to attend next year the dates have been set for 2019, so please put 16 and 17 April 2019 in your diary now. For further information please contact Raewyn Penman at raewyn.penman@kidsfirst.org.nz


The following services have received a Very Well Placed (Category 4) rating from the Education Review Office this year:

Bishopdale Community Preschool - January 2018
Dudley Creek Preschool Ltd - March 2018
ABC Papanui - March 2018

All three services demonstrated respectful and inclusive practises with a commitment to affirming and celebrating the cultural identify of every child. They also showed collaboration with whānau and the wider community and purposeful, relevant and clearly identified teaching strategies to support learning and development. Well done to all concerned.

Looking for stories

Is your early learning service proud of the quality it provides or have you been involved in a special event or celebration? We are looking for Canterbury stories to showcase best practice, innovation or collaboration in this Bulletin. If you have a story to tell please contact barbara.madden@education.govt.nz

Futures Network

Please note that all meetings of this network will be held in the Ministry of Education conference room (ground floor), Te Ureti, cnr Hereford Street and Cambridge Terrace. Dates for the second half of 2018 are:

  • Tuesday 18 September, 9.30am – 11.30am
  • Tuesday 13 November, 9.30 – 11.30am – Annual conversation with Coralanne Child.

The closest public parking is the West End parking building – entry via Cashel Street. There are also Council-owned public parking buildings in Lichfield Street and at the art gallery with the first hour free (check that this offer is still available).

June meeting

Date: Tuesday 19 June 2018
Time: 9.30am – 11.30am


  • Welcome and introductions
  • Ministry of Education ECE update (Vanessa Goodwin – Ministry of Education)
  • Feedback from Staff Wellbeing survey
  • Panel – supporting wellbeing in children and adults
    Jenni Marceau (Health Promoter – Early Childhood, Community and Public Health)
    Anna Mowatt (All Right? Campaign – Community and Public Health)
    Fiona Bartley (Ministry of Education)


Ground Floor Conference Room
Te Ureti
48 Hereford Street
Christchurch (cnr Hereford Street and Cambridge Terrace)

Please note that for health and safety purposes the names of those attending are required. Please RSVP by Thursday 14 June, with names to barbara.madden@education.govt.nz

Samoan Language Week

Next week is Samoan Language Week. Some useful resources to support your service to celebrate are available from the Ministry for Pacific Peoples website(external link).


Resources to help celebrate Matariki in June can also be accessed through Te Papa(external link).

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you wish to discuss any ideas or issues. You can always call me on 03 378 7345 or 0274 200 251 or email me at coralanne.child@education.govt.nz. I look forward to hearing from you.

Enjoy this month’s Bulletin.

Mā te wā

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

Otago–Southland regional news

Director’s message

Kia ora koutou and warm Pasifika greetings.

Earlier this month I attended the Education Summit in Christchurch, along with approximately 700 other participants from across the South Island and Wellington region. This was an upbeat and positive event, with diverse representation across all parts of the sector and the wider community. This is part of the Government’s broader work programme, which I have outlined in more detail below, along with ways you can be involved.

This month I have also included some information about professional learning that is happening across our region, as well as general reminders about emergency management, as we come into winter.

Changes in education

The Education Summits, held in Christchurch on 5 to 6 May and Auckland on 12 to 13 May, were an important part of the Minister’s work programme, specifically in supporting the co-construction of a community vision for the nature of education over the next 30 years.

At the Christchurch Summit I observed a positive and genuine engagement in the process. The structure and format of the event gave a real sense that people’s views were heard, and the diversity of participants was one of the strengths of the event. Early learning was well represented at the Summit and it was great to connect with some of our Otago–Southland representatives over the course of the 2 days.

After the first day we were given the opportunity to choose key values that we felt were most important in education. These were collated and summarised into the 11 most frequently selected values to inform our thinking on the second day. These were most interesting, with a strong holistic overview coming through with hauora/wellbeing, manaakitanga, caring for others/awhi, identity, belonging, diversity, respect, family community/whānaungatanga, equity, creativity and curiosity. These ideas align strongly with Te Whāriki and emphasise the importance of both cultural responsiveness and taking a holistic approach to the learning journey for all children, which we know has been a strength in early learning.

For those unable to attend the Summit, the Kōrero Mātauranga online survey will remain open until 31 May. You can complete the survey(external link). Or for those that embrace social media, “#EdConvo18”.

The development of the vision for education will feed into all of the work programmes underway, including the development of a 10-year early learning strategic plan. The terms of reference for this work, as well as the Ministerial Advisory Group members, were announced in early April and can be found on our website(external link)

Professional learning and development for playgroups

Late last year we contracted Stuart Guyton from Wild Babies ECE to work with more than 30 playgroups across Dunedin, North, South and Central Otago, and Queenstown Lakes.  This professional development work has involved both individual service visits and mentoring, as well as cluster workshops.

Stuart’s work focused on infant development and learning, as well as toddlers’ social world experiences. This included free movement and exploration, natural resources in play and responsive programme planning. The workshops were designed for adults supporting the play and learning of infants, toddlers and young children. They emphasised the value of sensory awareness and heuristic play, as well as the importance of responding to children's curiosity, interests and abilities.

Feedback from those who attended the workshops has been overwhelmingly positive and we hope to extend this professional development to Southland playgroups later this year.

Tū Kotahi Hui – Dunedin

On 22 May the Dunedin office held Tū Kotahi Hui - a hui specifically for early learning services that are not part of larger organisations. It was an opportunity to get together and discuss the positives, as well as the challenges of being a sole or small early learning provider.

Participants were able to network while covering a range of subjects from everyday tasks to expressing their thoughts on the big picture education topics currently being reviewed. It was attended by both community-based and private services from across the greater Dunedin area, and it is planned that these will be repeated throughout the region over the coming year.

If you are interested in attending future events, or would like something similar to be held in another part of our wider Otago–Southland region, please contact your education advisor or any member of the early learning team.

Emergency preparedness

As the days get shorter and distinctly colder, it is a reminder to ensure your service is prepared in the event of extreme weather or other emergency situations. If you do have to close, I would encourage you to contact us as soon as possible. We often get queries during emergency events and we appreciate being aware if your service is affected. This will also help us pass on relevant information to you, as well as keeping other agencies informed, so that we can best support any emergency situation that is occurring. If you wish to discuss the requirements around closing, or emergency management in general, please contact your education advisor.

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

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