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Christchurch City Council Media Release Friday 26 June 1998

Launch: Early Childhood Education Review

Christchurch’s Early Childhood Education Review is being presented today.

A joint initiative of Christchurch City Council, the Ministry of Education and the Early Childhood Development Unit, the review identifies current issues and future needs regarding education in Christchurch for children under 5. The nature and calibre of the research is unprecedented in NZ.

It will be presented at a lunch-time function at Trust Bank Community House, Cashel Street, at 12.15pm.

A youth drama group will perform and the following people will speak:

Issues identified include Christchurch’s increasing ethnic diversity of children aged under 5 and the increasing need for early childhood education services. "This is related to the benefits to children of attending quality early childhood education services, government policies encouraging parents into the workforce, the economic necessity for single or both parents to work, and the increased participation of women in the workforce by choice," says Jennifer Pitcher.

"There is an increasing reliance on early childhood education services by families and there has been an unprecedented increase in the number of young children, especially under two-year-olds, attending Early Childhood Education (ECE) services in the last 10 years."

"The vision for people in Christchurch is participation and quality in early childhood education. At the moment there are groups of children who have a need for and would benefit from early childhood education services that currently do not attend."

"The key issues identified by parents and providers of early childhood education include cultural appropriateness, affordability for low and middle income families and more flexible opening hours to meet the varying needs of children and their families" says Jennifer Pitcher. In particular, the report identified the urgent need for sole purpose facilities for Pacific Islands peoples.

There was also some very positive feedback about ECE services in Christchurch, including good community support and the role of the Christchurch City Council. The diversity and quality of services was also regarded as being very good. National research revealed, however, that although the legal health and safety requirements of ECE services throughout NZ were being met, that professionals had some concern about the quality of those services. "Some are very good, but many are below standard - with health and safety problems, and infrequent warm and supportive relationships between staff and children," says Jennifer Pitcher

The information gained from the research will be invaluable to funders and providers to more effectively meet the needs of children and their families and plan the provision of ECE services in Christchurch.


For more information please contact

Jennifer Pitcher, Christchurch City Council, ph. 371-1541

John Mather, Ministry of Education, ph. 365 7386

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