Opinion: 2018, a New Year and new opportunities

18 January 2018

We are excited about the potential for change in the education sector this year, and are hoping for a focus on the early years and early childhood education (ECE).

The Early Childhood Council's main focus will continue to be representing our members and promoting quality ECE services.

We hope to see funding shortfalls addressed in some way under the new Government, including looking at ways to return to a more realistic per-child funding rate. Reducing child poverty, focusing on very young children, and ensuring fair access to ECE for all, requires investment as well as doing a good job of fully implementing the refreshed preschool curriculum, Te Whāriki.

We will also continue to support efforts to attain a level playing field across all ECE services. The ECE sector offers variety and choice and we support this. However, we also believe sensible, equally applied regulation across the sector - home-based, centre-based, teacher-led or parent-led - for all ECE providers, will foster what we all work for - quality.

We will continue to represent our members at the education tables, and talk to decision and policy makers to ensure they hear the views from the childcare centre owners and managers, governance committees, and teachers.

There are exciting opportunities for shaping the future of ECE through the Strategic Plan and a long-term strategy discussions that are likely to begin to take place. We look forward to participating in those discussions going forward.

We will also continue to run professional development workshops and webinars for members, hold a popular annual conference series in May, June and July, and offer members advice and support, and access to preferred suppliers.

One of the resource tools we offer, The Blue Book - The ECE Teachers' Documentation Tool for certification and appraisal, is proving popular. This ECC developed tool supports ECE teachers to complete registration and practicing certificate requirements with the Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand.

In October 2017, we updated the ECC Blue Book folder to reflect the Code of Professional Responsibility. The Standards for the Teaching Profession officially replaced the former 12 Practising Teachers' Criteria (PTCs) at the start of this year, and the Blue Book supports these changes too. In fact, our first print run last year sold out in record time.

We are also looking ahead to our ECC conference series in May, June and July with a theme of Delivering on the Promise. For the first time we are running conference across three centres: Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. It is a great opportunity to hear and talk about:

  • Defining and delivering quality in the ECE sector
  • Achieving great things in the face of sector barriers
  • Demonstrating to children, parents, government and yourself what a difference you're making.

It's an exciting time to be part of the ECE sector and hopefully we will see a renewed focus on the early years and on ECE as a valued and equal partner at the education tables.

Peter Reynolds

Chief Executive Officer

Early Childhood Council