Every child and young person benefits from participation in learning contexts that strive for excellence, recognise and celebrate diversity, and are culturally and socially responsive. The success of this system depends on high quality leadership and teaching, the engagement of parents, whānau and communities, and the ability of learners to exert agency in choosing meaningful learning pathways starting from the early years and throughout their life course.
In 2002, the Ministry of Education launched Pathways to the Future: Ngā Huarahi Arataki, which outlined a shared vision for the future of the early learning sector. Since that time, our knowledge about the conditions under which children prosper has expanded. Children’s participation in early learning settings has also grown, with more children attending early learning settings outside their homes at younger ages and for longer hours. It is timely for us to revisit the ways in which we support children’s early learning to ensure that they all benefit from high quality provision.
A new plan will set the direction for a stepped approach to strengthening current provision so that it meets the needs of all children and their families and whānau for the next 10 years and beyond.
This draft plan has been developed by a Ministerial Advisory Group made up of independent thought leaders working with a broadly representative Sector Reference Group and supported by the Ministry of Education. The development of the plan has been iterative and collaborative and I have appreciated opportunities to engage with the Ministerial Advisory Group and the Reference Group. Their recommendations are presented here for discussion and feedback.