NZ Herald Mar 31, 2009
Playcentre is losing families to other early childhood educators because of a lack of funding to support its structure. The parent-run centres for babies to 6-year-olds are disappointed they will not be included in the Ministry of Education’s 20 Hours funding scheme, or receive any extra funding to support mounting costs. Before the election, National promised to include Playcentre in the 20 Hour early childhood education policy, but a recent meeting with Education Minister Anne Tolley confirmed any boost in funding would not be part of this budget cycle.
Playcentre national president Marion Pilkington said this could see centres closing, particularly in areas where they struggle to keep up the numbers such as east Waikato. There are about 15,000 children and 11,000 families aligned to one of the 500 Playcentres around the country. Mrs Pilkington said Playcentre was built on the belief that parents were the best educators for their children. She said the Government had also spoken about the importance of parents in early childhood education. “We are disappointed that despite these assurances, the election promise is not yet being kept.” The inclusion of Playcentre in the 20 Hours policy would put the service on an equal footing with other early childhood providers, she said.