After more than a decade of rapid growth in the number of children participating in Early Childhood Education (ECE), it’s time to take stock and map out a clear plan for the future, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.
“Labour will increase funding for Early Childhood Centres to employ 100 per cent qualified and registered teachers.
“Labour will work with parents, teachers, and stakeholders to develop a second version of Nga Huarahi Arataki – Pathways to the Future, a 10 year strategic plan for ECE.
“We will also invest in early childhood education by planning capacity growth more carefully.
“Labour will actively support establishing new public ECE’s in areas of low-provision through targeted establishment grants, and only provide taxpayer subsidies for new ECE’s if there’s an established need.
“Giving all children the best possible start in life is one of Labour’s highest priorities. We know that starts well before children start participating in early childhood education. That’s why we’re recognising the critical role of parents as first teachers by increasing Paid Parental Leave to 26 weeks, introducing a Best Start payment of $60 per week for all children in their first year of life and two and three year olds whose parents are low to medium income earners.
“One of the fastest growing parts of the early childhood sector is home-based care. Labour will ensure that all parents can be assured their children are receiving quality education and care by undertaking a review of home-based early childhood education, including investigating the introduction of minimum qualification levels for all home-based educators.
“Quality early childhood education makes an enormous difference to children’s lives. Those who participate in quality ECE have higher academic achievements at school and later in life.
“It’s time for a fresh approach in education. Labour’s education plan recognises the importance of quality early childhood education and invests in it accordingly,” says Chris Hipkins.