Kindergartens still a popular choice

Kindergartens still a popular choice

Kindergartens are still in a good position for the future, focusing on high quality education accessible to everyone, the chief executive of New Zealand Kindergartens says.

South Canterbury kindergartens are also holding their own compared to other kindergartens around the country.

The chief executive of New Zealand Kindergartens Inc Clare Wells was in South Canterbury this week for a regular scheduled visit to check on the region’s kindergartens and attending a board meeting.

These visits were a welcome change to her time spent in her Wellington office.

“It’s great to see the teaching and learning going on and to meet the children who are very keen to find out who I am and to tell me about their favourite things.”

The South Canterbury Kindergarten Association is one of 26 in the organisation.

Wells said as it has been around for some years it was stable and well established with a well qualified workforce.

“It’s right up there with the work around the rest of the country. I can see the good work here.”

Heading into the future, Wells said kindergartens were still in a good position and seen as a leader in early childhood education (ECE).

Although it was not the biggest ECE service, it was still a popular choice with over a third of three and four year olds going to kindergarten.

Families made choices right for them based on factors like cost, proximity to home and the hours available. However, quality of education was the focus of the organisation and lifting the level of education offered, Wells said.

“If you focus on that as an aim, that puts you in a strong position.

“The kindergarten philosophy is really high quality, accessible to all families, that’s the important part of what we do, to be inclusive.”

Wells was in her seventh year in her role.

One of the biggest changes to kindergartens has been the shift to extended hours.

She saw this as a positive not only matching the needs of the community, but also forming better teacher to children ratios. Previously, the ratio had been one teacher to 15 children, now it was one to 10.