Education Minister Hekia Parata was unable to attend the New
Zealand HomeBased Childcare Association's conference in
Queenstown on Saturday, but through a representative she
issued a challenge to delegates.
Ministry of Education group manager for early childhood
education (ECE) Karl Le Quesne read the minister's speech to
home-based educators from throughout the country.
In the speech, Ms Parata emphasised the need for Maori and
Pasifika children to participate in early childhood education
and said that despite the rapid growth of the home-based
sector, ''fewer of the children attending home-based ECE are
Maori and Pasifika children compared to other service
She challenged the home-based education sector to add about
650 Maori children and 600 Pasifika children to its education
''We want to work with you, and the rest of the home-based
sector, to identify ways you can increase your enrolment of
these children in quality ECE.''
She said home-based ECE could play a critical role in
supporting families and children - especially Maori and
Pasifika children - from poorer backgrounds and children with
special educational needs.
The Government had announced a target of having 98% of
children participating in quality ECE before starting school,
as ''we know that children who start behind, too often stay
behind, and that the achievement gap tends to widen as they
She also said home-based educators ''help ensure parents of
young children can work, study and train, especially sole
parents, who work outside regular hours''.
New Zealand HomeBased Childcare Association president Carol
Stovold, based in Tauranga, told the Otago Daily Times that
with Queenstown's burgeoning hospitality industry, home-based
child care was a viable option.
She said children who participated in quality home-based
child care were able to ''take part in their community'' and
consequently head off to school well-grounded.
Au Pairs came under the licensing for home-based child care.
During the conference the inaugural New Zealand Educator of
the Year award was presented to Olivia Rees, from The Nanny
Home-based child care educator Educarents' newest branch is