ECAC minutes December 2018

The Early Childhood Advisory Committee (ECAC) met on 5 December 2018, 9am to 2pm at Mātauranga House, Wellington.


ECAC members

  • Nicola Woollaston, Hospital Play Specialists Association of Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Peter Reynolds, Early Childhood Council
  • Susan Foster-Cohen, Early Intervention Association Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Keith Newton, Barnardos New Zealand
  • Sandie Burn, NZEI Te Riu Roa
  • Raewyn Overton-Stuart, Home Early Learning Organisation
  • Kathy Wolfe, Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand
  • Helen McConnell, Te Kura – the Correspondence School
  • Melody Stuckey, Christian Early Childhood Education Association of Aotearoa
  • Hellen Puhipuhi, Pasifika Advisory Group
  • Arapera Royal-Tangaere , Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust
  • Clare Wells, New Zealand Kindergartens Inc
  • Susan Phua, New Zealand Homebased Early Childhood Education Association
  • Pauline Winter, Early Childhood Leadership
  • Charmaine Thomson, NZEI Te Riu Roa
  • Susan Bailey, New Zealand Playcentre Federation
  • Sean McKinley , New Zealand Playcentre Federation
  • Juvena Jalal, The Federation of Rudolf Steiner Schools
  • Cathy Wilson, Montessori Aotearoa NZ
  • Sandra Collins, Education Review Office 
  • Jayne Franklin , Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand

Ministry of Education

  • Katrina Casey, Deputy Secretary, Sector Enablement and Support (Chair)
  • Nancy Bell, Group Manager (acting), Early Childhood Resourcing and Operations 
  • Damian Edwards, Associate Deputy Secretary, Education System Policy
  • Jennifer Fraser, Senior Manager, Investing in Educational Wellbeing, Education System Policy
  • Siobhan Murray, Senior Manager, ECE Policy, Education System Policy
  • Amy Hunter, Senior Adviser, ECE Regulations and Planning (Secretariat)


  • Kararaina Cribb, Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust
  • Phil Grady, Early Childhood Leadership
  • Marianne Kayes, Hospital Play Specialists Association of Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Helen Hurst, Associate Deputy Secretary, Operational Delivery

Welcome, karakia and introductions

Katrina Casey, Ministry of Education

  • Katrina welcomed the group and Melody Stuckey opened the meeting with a karakia.
  • Welcome to Pauline Winter (Interim Chief Executive Auckland Kindergarten Association) and Sean McKinley (General Manager NZ Playcentre Federation). Sean will be the new ECAC representative for NZ Playcentre Federation.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
No action items    


  • ECAC members thanked and farewelled Clare Wells, for her contribution to ECAC and her advocacy for the early learning sector. ECAC members also thanked Clare for her support and advice throughout the years. We wish Clare the best for the future.
  • ECAC members thanked both Susan Bailey (New Zealand Playcentre Federation) and Helen McConnell (Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu) for their contributions to ECAC for the last few years. We wish both Susan and Helen well in their new adventures.

Apologies, minutes, actions and subgroup reports

Katrina Casey, Ministry of Education

Apologies, minutes, actions and subgroup reports have been circulated by email.

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 No action items    

Education Review Office update

Sandra Collins, Manager Methodology, Education Review Office

Evaluation indicators and methodology development projects:

Sandra gave an introduction about how ERO provides assurance to government about the quality and effectiveness of early learning services. Sandra outlined the shift from being explorative in the early 1990s, to compliance based accountability reviews, followed by a focus into quality services and finally the latest review focusing on lifting quality in the early learning sector.

ERO have refined and reduced the number of indicators to 20 evaluation indicators. The next step is to seek feedback on the draft indicators from an academic expert panel and then publish the draft indicators on ERO’s website early in 2019. ERO will share the draft indicators with ECAC and invite consultation from the wider early learning sector as the project progresses.

Assurance Reviews to be undertaken as follows:

  • The first review of a new service – including if the service is part of an organisation
  • Reviews of services previously identified as ‘not well placed’ or ‘requiring further development’
  • First reviews of any service that has moved from a provisional to a full license
  • Reviews of services that have been re-licensed due to a change of ownership

ERO will undertake trial Assurance Reviews in some services in Term 1, 2019.

Engaging with Te Whāriki (2017):

ERO is undertaking a series of evaluations focused on the implementation of Te Whāriki in early learning services from mid-2017 until the end of 2019.

ERO has published two national evaluation reports in 2018 on the early implementation of Te Whāriki. These can be found on ERO’s website (external link) .

ERO‘s findings give an early indication of some of the challenges for leaders and kaiako in engaging with Te Whāriki. They highlight the need for more in-depth engagement with Te Whāriki to increase understanding of the expectation to ‘weave’ a local curriculum based on ‘what really matters’ in their service for their children. Such engagement includes unpacking and working with the learning outcomes in ways that make visible children’s progress and learning over time.

The next report is due March/April 2019.

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Share the draft 20 evaluation indicators with ECAC

Sandra Collins Early 2019

Early Learning Strategic Plan

Nancy Bell, Ministry of Education

Alongside the Kōrero Mātauranga | National Conversation which included Education Summits, wānanga discussions on Māori education, Pacific fono and surveys, a Ministerial Advisory Group and a larger sector Reference Group that includes sector stakeholders and academic experts have been working together to develop the draft plan, supported by the Ministry of Education.

Early Learning is being recognised as a part of a broader change programme. The trend for participation has steadily increased since 2005, children are attending early learning services for longer periods of time and attending from younger ages. So there is a need for New Zealand’s early learning system to enable every child to enjoy a good life, learn and thrive in high quality settings that support their identity, language and culture and are valued by parents and whānau.

The full draft plan is available here and the consultation is open until 15 March 2019.

Early Learning Strategic Plan [Conversation Education website] (external link)

There are 5 goals outlined in the draft plan:

  • Quality is raised for children by improving regulated standards.
  • Every child is empowered through timely access to the resources they need to thrive.
  • Investment in our workforce supports excellence in teaching and learning.
  • Planning ensures that provision is valued, sufficient and diverse.
  • The early learning system continues to innovate, learn and improve.

There are a total of 44 public hui being held across New Zealand and the online survey is available on the Conversation Education website (external link) .

ECAC members were invited to encourage wide sector engagement. For more information about the nationwide hui and survey, visit the Kōrero Mātauranga website (external link) .

The Ministry will reconvene the sector advisory group to share the results of the consultation.

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No action items    

Minister of Education

Hon Chris Hipkins

The Minister referred to the Early Learning Strategic Plan and invited questions. Discussion points included:

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No action items    

Positive Behaviour in Early Learning

Mary Pupich, Ministry of Education

The previous guidance document, Providing Positive Guidance, provided interpretation for appropriate practices for adults working in early learning services. The publication is now 20 years old and a review of the guidance document is underway so more up to date practices can be incorporated as guidance for the early learning sector. The draft document is titled Supporting Social and Emotional Competence in ECE.

Learning Support trialled the draft guidance document in October 2018, where the introduction and initial two chapters were sent to some early learning services for their feedback. The new guidance document is still at the discovery and development phase. ECAC members will be included in the next round of consultations when the full draft document becomes available. The Advisory Group who are developing the Supporting Social and Emotional Competence in ECE will meet again on 17 December and in February to discuss next steps and engagement with ECAC members.

It is hoped the new document will be ready for publication in July 2019.

This new guidance document will be used in conjunction with the Incredible Years Teacher programme.

Incredible Years Teacher programme (external link)

Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Communicate consultation requirements when draft document is ready for ECAC input  Secretariat As work progress 

Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy

Damian Edward and Jennifer Fraser, Ministry of Education

The first Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy will be published in 2019. The strategy will set the direction for how to improve the wellbeing of children and young people in New Zealand. This is a project being lead out of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC).

Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy (external link)

There will be a focus in the early learning years and that is lead out of the Ministry’s Investing in Educational Wellbeing team. The Ministry have proposed 16 focus areas, of which the following are applicable to the early learning sector:

  • Focus #3: Children and young people have positive interactions with peers and others outside the home.
  • Focus #5: Child poverty is reduced, in line with the Government’s intermediate and 10-year targets.
  • Focus #7: Children and young children are free from racism, discrimination and stigma.
  • Focus #12: Children’s and young people’s mental wellbeing is supported.
  • Focus #14: Children experience best development in their “first 1000 days”, safe and positive pregnancy, birth and responsive parenting (conception to around 2 years old).   
  • Focus #15: Children are thriving socially, emotionally and developmentally in the early years (around 2 to 6 years old).

Focus areas #3, #14 and #15 will be a collaboration between the Ministry and the DPMC.

The consultation for the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy will be open until Christmas.

Some common themes have emerged so far; the strategy is not bicultural, poverty impacts so many of these focus areas and the need for government agencies and non-government organisations need to be better connected.

Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
No action items    

Development of a new data collection about ECE fees to parents

Siobhan Murray, Ministry of Education

Understanding affordability of ECE across a range of demographic groups is important for several government priorities, including reducing child poverty and the child wellbeing strategy. ECE affordability is a function of ECE fees and household disposable income. The Ministry is looking to develop a new data collection in 2019 to better understand ECE fees to parents, in order to better understand affordability for parents. The Ministry will be looking to use administrative data via student management systems (SMSs) rather than a survey, so as to limit the burden on services.

ECAC members asked why the Ministry no longer runs the Survey of Income, Expenditure and Fees (SIEF) and whether the proposed new collection would collect all the same information as SIEF. SIEF was last run in 2015, but was discontinued due to low response rates, which limited the value of the data. The proposed new collection would only be collecting some of the information that was collected via SIEF.

The project will commence February/March 2019.

Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Project update for March ECAC  Siobhan Murray 6 March 2019

Other items and wrap up

Katrina Casey, Ministry of Education

Katrina invited ECAC members to make requests for the next meeting agenda.

Raewyn Overton-Stuart closed the meeting with a karakia.

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No action items    

Meeting closed 2:15pm

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