By: Simon Collins

Tanya Harvey joined the Auckland Kindergarten Association as an accountant in 1997 and has led the association since 1999. Photo / Supplied

Auckland Kindergarten Association chief executive Tanya Harvey has quit, a fortnight after her board announced an independent review of reforms that she has driven.

Harvey, who has led the association for 18 years, said it was time for new leadership to support “the next phase of the AKA strategy”.

Board chairman Simon Jones announced on October 26 that the board would engage an independent reviewer to consider the current strategy of moving kindergartens from half-day sessions to all-day care, staying open for seven hours a day and through the school holidays.

The strategy has split the association, which serves more than 10,000 children in 107 kindergartens.

Roskill South Kindergarten chair Katherine Souness, a member of the Save Our Kindergartens campaign, welcomed the decision to review the strategy.

“The parents I have spoken to applaud the AKA board’s no-doubt difficult decision to pause and reflect on the rollout of changes thus far, and their willingness to listen to their communities and teaching staff,” she said.

“As the third-largest provider of early childhood education in New Zealand, we hope that the AKA’s potentially strong voice will speak for children’s needs before finances. Other kindergarten associations should take note!”

But other parents support longer hours because they suit the parents’ own working hours.

Jones told parents in his October announcement that the board would report on the progress of the review at the association’s annual meeting on November 30.

“We have received wide-ranging feedback from parents and staff on the move to extended hours and have decided to take a breather to assess whether the changes are having the positive impact that we believed would occur,” he wrote.

“We will be engaging an independent reviewer to consider all aspects of the move to extended hours. This will include meeting with representative groups of parents, a review of the communications and consultation processes and the research presented in support of the change.”

He said the review would take four to six weeks.

“There will be no immediate change for families whose kindergartens have already had their hours of operation reviewed,” he wrote.

“There will be no further changes to operating hours for kindergartens until the review is complete and we have received feedback on the findings from parents and staff.”

Neither Harvey not Jones was available for further comment today.

Source: NZ Herald

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