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National Party: Early Childhood Education Policy

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1. Enhancing “20 Hours ECE”

• Keep existing subsidies and fee controls.
• Remove the 6-hours-a-day limit.
• Include playcentres and kohanga reo.
• Include 5-year-olds (along with 3- and 4-year olds in the present scheme).
• Investigate more frequent payment periods.

2. Tackling Teacher Shortages

Enhance the early childhood teaching degree with a series of modules that will:

• Promote working while training.
• Allow qualified English-speaking foreign teachers to qualify after an intensive six-week programme.
• Allow Montessori, Steiner, and Playcentre qualifications to count towards the degree.

3. Reducing Staff Ratios

• Increase the adult/child ratio for children under two from 1:5 to 1:4.
• Ensure that, after 2012, sessions for the under-twos in teacher-led early childhood centres are staffed by at least 50% qualified teachers.

4. Reducing Bureaucracy & Regulations

Remove unnecessary regulations over time. For example, we will drop the requirement for early childhood centres with more than 50 children to have more than one licence.

5. Boosting Participation

Work with community groups, private centres, home-based providers, and local government to develop local solutions that best meet the early childhood needs of our communities.

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