5 July, 2005
On July 5th the Early Education Federation was launched at a function held at Education House in Wellington. The new organisation represents 17 national bodies involved in early childhood education and was launched by the Minister of Education, Trevor Mallard in Wellington.
The Early Education Federation includes organisations representing kindergartens, playcentres, community early childhood centres, home-based providers, hospital early childhood education services, special education and providers of teacher education, as well as employers and unions for early childhood teachers.
The organisations represented provide education to around 113,000 children and offer early childhood teaching and post-graduate qualifications to more than 3,000 students.
The Federation plans to give a higher profile to early childhood education issues.
Jane Couch, a long standing member of the Federated Early Childhood Education Organisations of NZ, welcomed the guests and introduced speakers for the evening. She says that while a strength of the New Zealand early childhood sector is its diversity, it is important for those in the sector to work together to have a strong political voice for young children’s education.
“Everybody knows education is important, but early childhood education is the most important of all, because it lays the groundwork for all future learning.’
“New Zealand is a world leader in early childhood education in many respects, but not many people outside the sector know just how well we are doing. We need to continue the work and continue to speak out for a quality early childhood service that is accessible to all.”
The Early Education Federation is committed to the strategic plan for early childhood education – Nga Huarahi Arataki: Pathways to the Future which has three goals – quality, accessibility and collaborative relationships within the sector.
“These goals are not just words – the plan gives those working in early childhood something to unite around and work towards” says Ms Couch.
Almost every organisation involved in education supports the strategic plan. Implementing the plan involves moving to a fully qualified registered workforce by 2012, working to lower ratios and group size, changing services to make them more responsive to community needs, and providing services that suit people from all cultures, and in areas where services are inadequate to meet demand.
The Early Education Federation plans to be an effective lobby group and will advise the media on suitable contacts to comment on different aspects of early childhood education, children’s development and children’s issues.