Early Childhood Advisory Committee (ECAC)
ECAC is made up of representatives from ECE organisations broadly representing licensed ECE services including teacher-led, parent-led, sessional, all day, home-based, hospital, and special education (ECE) services. It is reflective of the ECE sector as a whole, rather than explicitly representative.
ECAC forms part of the Ministry’s relationship with the ECE sector. ECAC is a forum for information sharing between the committee members and wider ECE sector. Information is provided to ECAC, either at committee meetings or via email and is available here for members of representative organisations, and the wider ECE sector.
Please note the minutes of the ECAC meetings provided here are "information only".
Any queries about the information should either be directed to an ECAC organisation or to the Ministry of Education.
8 April 2013
Recent innovations in the Ministry of Educations use of social media
There has been recent innovation’s in the Ministry of Educations use of social media.
As part of the our strategy to ensure that a more balanced view of the Ministry’s work is presented to the media and wider public, we have started publishing media responses on our website www.minedu.govt.nz and then tweeting that they, and our media releases, have been published.
The Ministry’s Twitter account presently has around 1850 followers, including many from media organisations and the education sector. Tweets of interest will often be shared much more widely than with just these followers, so it is a good way for us to communicate the Ministry’s position to a wide audience very quickly.
Further updates will occur as our methods of communication continue to develop and improve.
12 March 2013
The February 2013 ECAC meeting minutes and associated presentations are now available as a download on this page.
11 March 2013
Proposed changes to child restraint legislation
The NZ Transport Agency is seeking public feedback on proposed changes to child restraint legislation.
The proposed changes would raise the upper limit for the mandatory use of child restraints from age four (i.e. before a child’s fifth birthday) to age six (i.e. before their seventh birthday) while maintaining the requirement for children aged seven to use a child restraint - if one is available.
The aim of the proposed changes is to reduce preventable deaths and serious injuries to child passengers traveling on New Zealand roads. Children, because they are smaller and have a different body shape to adults, need additional seating equipment to keep them as safe as adults in a car.
At the same time the proposed changes are designed to expect families can reasonably meet these improved child safety measures.
The NZ Transport Agency is leading the public consultation, with submissions closing by 5pm on 3 April 2013. More information on this proposed amendment Rules can be found on the NZ Transport Agency website.
Inaccurate Baby Bottle Markings
Some low-cost feeding bottles for babies sold in New Zealand have inaccurate markings, meaning some babies could be getting infant formula that is too concentrated.
Some bottles overestimate the fluid volume by up to 40 percent. This has possible health consequences for babies.
Consumer Affairs (part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment) has surveyed volume indicator markings on 35 bottles. Fifteen had volume markings that were inaccurate by more than five percent – these bottles tended to be purchased from discount shops.
Formula that is too concentrated can cause babies to have problems like vomiting, diarrhoea and constipation. Untreated, this can cause serious dehydration. Over time, formula that is too concentrated will provide excess energy (calories) and other nutrients. This could lead to overweight or obese babies and toddlers. It could also harm organs such as the kidneys, when they are still immature.
Most feeding bottles are imported and some of these meet a European regulatory standard (the EN14350 standard) that means the bottles are accurate. However, these bottles can be more expensive than bottles sold at discount shops.
The survey findings have prompted the Ministry of Health, in conjunction with Consumer Affairs (Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment), the Pharmacy Guild and Plunket to develop guidance for caregivers.
Caregivers using infant formula are being advised by the ministries that they can get the accuracy of their feeding bottles checked.
They are now able to take their baby bottles to a pharmacy which has accurate measuring equipment. If necessary, the correct measures of volume can then be marked on their bottles.
The Ministry of Health recommends all babies are exclusively breastfed to around six months of age, and continue to be breastfed for up to one year of age or beyond once complementary foods are introduced. For those babies not fed breast milk, infant formula is the only appropriate milk alternative up to one year of age.
If you are breastfeeding your baby this issue does not affect you. If you are expressing breast milk to feed your baby and want to know the accurate volume being expressed or given either use an EN14350 bottle or check the accuracy of your bottle or measuring containers at your local pharmacy. If you are expressing breast milk to feed your baby and want to know the accurate volume being expressed or given either use an EN14350 bottle or check the accuracy of your bottle or measuring containers at your local pharmacy.
For further information contact the Ministry of Health or Consumer Affairs.
More information for parents and caregivers about formula feeding can be found on the Ministry of Health website.
18 February 2013
The December 2012 ECAC meeting minutes are associated presentations are now available as a download on this page.
12 February 2013
New Ministry of Education process for managing allegations of abuse in early childhood services
A new process has been developed around the management of allegations of abuse in early childhood services.
At the heart of our approach is child safety. This is reflected in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Child, Youth and Family and the Ministry of Education which sets out the mutual commitment of the parties to a collaborative working relationship to ensure safety and well-being, education and other positive outcomes are met for children and young people. The safety, education and wellbeing of children and young people is the first and paramount consideration.
With this in mind the Secretary for Education assigned a single point of contact for any issue in relation to early identification of concerns, allegations of abuse involving adults working in or associated with early childhood, schools/kura, and other education facilities.
Contact details are:
04 463 2839 or 0274 950 282.
Further details on this new process and a copy of the MOU can be found on this website in the Governance and Management section.
19 December 2012
Public Consultation on Cost Recovery for Certain Police Services: Police Vetting
On Tuesday 11 December the New Zealand Police launched a public consultation on proposals to introduce charges for Police vetting services.
Further details can be found on the Recent Announcements page.
Update on the Home-based Review
The consultation on the review of the home-based early childhood education has been deferred until 2013. With a number of businesses closed and people away over the holiday period, deferring the timelines for this review until after the holiday will ensure that the early childhood sector and the public have every opportunity to provide input through the consultation process. Further information on how the review will proceed will be made available in the New Year.
Further details can be found on the Recent Announcements page.
22 November 2012
Ministry of Health review of recommendations to decrease the risk of food related choking in babies and young children
The Ministry of Health has reviewed and updated its recommendations to decrease the risk of food-related choking in babies and young children.
The review was the result of concerns about serious food related choking incidents, including death, amongst young children. An external specialist advisory group reviewed relevant literature, international choking prevention advice and made specific recommendations on the issue. The updated advice expands on previous Ministry advice and includes a list of foods considered to be of a higher choking risk, with suggestions for minimising risk.
Recommendations and supporting information
- Key messages for parents and caregivers can be viewed on the Ministry of Health’s (MoH) website and in brief in the health education flyer Starting Solids.
- Background information to support the key messages for health practitioners, and for parents and caregivers wanting more than the basic key messages can be viewed on the MoH website.
- Review of literature including New Zealand data about choking on food. This detailed information is primarily for health practitioners but also for any parents or caregivers wanting more than is provided by 1. and 2. This information is available in the recently released Food and Nutrition Guidelines for Healthy Children and Young People (Aged 2-18 years); A background paper (MoH 2012) under section 12.3 on the MoH website.
- Specific information on what to do if a child is choking can be found in the Wellchild Health Book.
The Ministry of Education has updated its guidance for the health and safety licensing criteria related to supervision of children while eating for ECE services on this website.
21 November 2012
The following information was distributed to services in the Whangarei district on 15 November 2012 and to all ECAC members on 19 November 2012.
Whangarei to be second Children’s Team location
You may have heard that Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has announced today that Whangarei will be the location of the second Children’s Team demonstration site.
Children’s Teams are being set up as part of the White Paper for Vulnerable Children which was released by Minister Bennett on 11 October. They will be made up of local education, health, and social sector professionals responding to the needs of our most vulnerable children.
Minister Bennett has already announced that Rotorua will be the first Children’s Team demonstration site. Whangarei and Rotorua were selected because they have both high needs and high community readiness to work together to get better outcomes for vulnerable children.
The Rotorua Children’s Team will begin operation by July 2013, while the implementation date for Whangarei hasn’t yet been confirmed.
This is an important responsibility and opportunity for the education sector and agencies in Whangarei to reduce abuse of children and young people. This will also provide these children with better opportunities to achieve in education.
Details of the set up of the Children’s Teams are being worked on at the moment and you will be kept up to date with progress.
What will the teams do?
The teams will ensure:
- vulnerable children’s needs are assessed
- all parties required to address those needs are brought to the table
- a single multi-agency plan for each vulnerable child is developed implemented, and a lead professional is allocated to see the plan through
- local services are delivered according to the plan
- outcomes are achieved for each child.
The agencies within the teams can expand on the good work they already do and will make a real difference to the lives of vulnerable children in the area.
You can access more information on the Children’s Action Plan website. If you have any questions please contact Alison Thom, the Ministry of Education’s Regional Director, Northern, by email at Alison.email@example.com or by phone on (09) 632 9333.
31 October 2012
The September 2012 ECAC meeting minutes and related presentations are now available as a download on this page.
15 October 2012
Education Amendment Bill
Cabinet has agreed to amend the Education Act 1989 to allow:
- the assignment of National Student Numbers (NSN) to children unlikely to attend an Early Childhood Education (ECE) service and likely to benefit from attendance at a service. This will support the Better Public Services actions for vulnerable children.
- a direct contractual relationship between the Ministry of Education and a third party investor to lease land owned or leased by the Crown. The third party may then develop ECE facilities on that site and lease them to an ECE service provider.
Further information can be found in the Recent Announcement section of this website.
11 October 2012
White Paper for Vulnerable Children
This morning the Minister for Social Development, Hon. Paula Bennett released the White Paper for Vulnerable Children.
The White Paper is the result of months of research and analysis, and consultation with key health, education, social services and justice experts, along with the invaluable input of the nearly 10,000 Green Paper submissions offered by New Zealanders. It is informed by what international best practice shows keeps children safe from harm.
The White Paper sets out a framework which ensures key agencies and professionals working with children are better connected so they can share information on vulnerable children and identify their needs earlier. It outlines plans for social sector chief executives to form a Vulnerable Children’s Board to oversee the implementation of the White Paper and make us jointly accountable for the care and protection of children.
Protecting vulnerable children is everyone’s responsibility. The White Paper and Children’s Action Plan set out how everyone can play their part. It is only by working together that we will be able to achieve our goal.
The White Paper will bring a collective focus across government and communities on vulnerable children that will further strengthen our efforts to lift the achievement across the education system.
The White Paper for Vulnerable Children and Children’s Action Plan are available for download at the Childrens Action Plan website. If you would like a hardcopy of the White Paper, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
12 September 2012
Targeted Assistance for Participation
Target areas for the Targeted Assistance for Participation (TAP) full and partial funding streams have now been identified for the 2012/13 year.
Further information can be found on the ECE Participation Programme section of this website
ECE Social Obligation Project
From July 2013, all people on benefits caring for dependent children aged three years and over who are not yet in school must take all reasonable steps to ensure their children are enrolled in and attending ECE. The ECE social obligation project is part of a set of welfare reforms aimed at reducing long-term welfare dependency, improving support and outcomes for vulnerable children, and preventing the cycle of disadvantage continuing from parent to child.
ECE participation improves the chances for children to achieve at school. Having children in ECE will help parents get ready for work and it also supports the Government’s Better Public Services target of achieving 98% participation in ECE by 2016.
While the aim of the obligation is to encourage families to enrol children in ECE for at least 15 hours per week, we know that there are ECE service types that operate for fewer hours and that prefer parents to attend alongside their children. We also acknowledge that because of cost and availability, it may be difficult for parents to enrol their children for a full 15 hours. 20 Hours ECE is the main mechanism to assist parents of three and four and five year old children with costs of ECE. The cost of ECE for up to six hours per day, and up to 20 hours per week is fully funded by Government and ECE services cannot charge any fees for hours claimed under this policy. It is recognised that there may be additional costs and that not every child can access 20 Hours ECE. Around 96% of ECE services provide 20 Hours ECE. Further work is underway to mitigate cost barriers for parents on benefits who are facing obligations for their child to participate in ECE.
More information can be found on the Ministry of Social Development website.
13 August 2012
Contract Mapping Project
As part of the Ministry of Social Developments Contract Mapping Project we have now released individual services funding data for the last financial to the MSD.
The Contract Mapping project is gathering information on government funding to the non government sector to be released on a central website - contract mapping (www.contractmapping.govt.nz).
The aim of this project is to identify areas of dual purpose funding, to enhance transparency and to provide a tool for planning future work in communities and services.
The ministries involved are:
- Ministry of Social Development
- Ministry of Justice
- Ministry of Health
- Te Puni Kokiri
- Ministry of Education
The information that has been released is as follows:
- Institution number
- Total funding
- Service name
- Institution type
- Address details
- Mesh block details
- Territorial details
2 August 2012
The June 2012 ECAC meeting minutes are now available as a download on this page.
24 July 2012
The latest round of the Māori Medium Study Award is now open and can be viewed on the TeachNZ website. Teachers and principals in early childhood, primary or secondary education can apply. This year there’s 42 awards available.
Further details are also available in the Grants section of this website.
Further ECAC Information
- shares information of importance to the Ministry with the ECE sector
- provides feedback on proposals from government, the Ministry and other government agencies which may impact on the ECE sector
- identifies and discusses strategic challenges and opportunities facing the ECE sector
- fosters a partnership between government and the ECE sector in achieving common goals.
ECAC meetings are held four times a year and are attended by senior Ministry officials and observers from other education agencies such as the New Zealand Teachers’ Council, the Education Review Office and the New Zealand Qualifications Authority.
Membership of ECAC
Organisation and Representative
- Alison Ford, Christian Early Childhood Education Association of Aotearoa
- Helen Puhipuhi, Pasifika Advisory Group
- Ana Pickering, Montessori Aotearoa New Zealand
- Virginia Simmonds, Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu/The Correspondence School
- Michelle Maguren, NZEI Te Riu Roa
- Tere Gilbert, NZEI-Te Riu Roa, Miro Māori
- Marjorie Theyer, Federation of Rudolf Steiner Schools
- Nancy Bell,Te Tari Puna o Aotearoa/NZ Childcare Association
- Maureen Woodhams, New Zealand Playcentre Federation
- Heke Huata, Te Kohanga Reo National Trust
- Peter Reynolds, Early Childhood Council
- Tanya Harvey, Early Childhood Leadership
- Marianne Kayes, Hospital Play Specialists Association of Aotearoa/NZ Inc
- Victoria Crone, Early Intervention Association Aotearoa New Zealand
- Clare Wells, NZ Kindergartens Inc
- Carol Stovold, New Zealand Homebased Early Childhood Education Association
- Penelope Janes, Barnardos New Zealand