The Tomorrow’s Schools review has attracted many comments about why a restructure of New Zealand’s education system does not include early childhood education.

NZEI Te Riu Roa president Lynda Stuart raised the question at Education Central’s recent ChalkTalks discussion and Peter Monteith of Inspired Kindergartens also queried it at a Tomorrow’s Schools Review public consultation meeting at Tauranga.

Taskforce member Professor Mere Berryman said that while ECE was outside of the Review Taskforce’s terms of reference, the taskforce agrees there should be strong alignment between the Tomorrow’s Schools review and the strategic review of early childhood education.

New Zealand Kindergartens (NZK) chief executive Jill Bond says that education policy needs to be across years 0 – 18 rather than within a sectoral, age-defined or historical construct.

Early childhood education should be included in overarching educational system design because of its lifetime value, says Bond. The system design needs to ensure seamless inclusion and transition for tamariki, curricula, learning support and overall alignment with the Tomorrow’s Schools and other change processes in the sector.

“We have ambition for early childhood education in Aotearoa New Zealand. We expect every child and their whānau will have the opportunity to experience and participate in exceptional education in their community that is rich in their culture and meets their aspirations and dreams,” says NZK Chief Executive Jill Bond.

“Our top priority is a 100% qualified teaching workforce. We urge the Government to invest additional funding within the system and support kindergarten as the public provider of early childhood education to ensure the plan’s aims can be realised.

These were some of the key points NZK made in its submission on the ECE Strategic Plan.

“We look forward to engaging with the Ministry of Education and sector colleagues to work at pace to enable every child to access high quality early childhood education” says Bond.

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