Last week, I shared my thoughts about some dilemmas the early childhood community in Christchurch are facing ‘post quake’. This week, I am heartened to share some of the ways that show how the Christchurch EC community is so much a part of the wider New Zealand EC community.
Financial support from EC centres
I have been very fortunate as a member of CORE Education’s national Early Years team, as I have received queries from early childhood groups around the country who have wanted to offer financial support for as well as desire to develop ongoing relationships with individual EC centres here.
A network group of infant and toddler teachers in Northland have offered financial support to one Christchurch centre, which will be matched by the owners of one of the centres. This network group wants to continue their relationship through sharing ideas as the Christchurch centre rebuilds. A similar offer has come in from a group of early childhood teachers in Auckland. They are planning to hold a benefit night to raise money in support of a Christchurch EC centre.
Ministry support in innovative approaches
The community spirit displayed within the early childhood sector has been matched by the care and concern shown by the staff at our regional and national Ministry of Education (MoE) offices. The CORE Education Early Years team is involved in the delivery of professional development programmes as contracted by the MoE. These PD contracts are tightly shaped around meeting predetermined professional learning outcomes that, in turn, result in improved learning outcomes for children. Focused professional learning, or curriculum-based children’s learning outcomes, are not at present the main priority for centres where the lives of families and whānau have been so detrimentally impacted. ‘Post Quake’ PD provision in Christchurch is needing to take on it’s own shape in these locations.
With MoE support, our Early Years team has been able to be innovative with contractual arrangements, so that we can set up and facilitate a number of support networks for EC leaders, managers, and supervisors.
The formation of these networks is done with a collective vision for the EC services in the quake-affected areas to be able to share expertise, ideas, and resources for addressing and overcoming the ‘post quake’ challenges ahead. The network groups will initially target the leaders, managers, and supervisors of EC settings, as these are the front-line people in their EC community.
Who is there on the ground to support these people while they support so many others?
Networking opportunities around the country using technology
This is an exciting opportunity. The establishment of Christchurch EC leaders networks and the enthusiastic support of groups of EC teachers around New Zealand will enable us to use a raft of communication technologies to establish and maintain valuable relationships. Strengthening a national EC community is at our fingertips. The purposeful and meaningful use of virtual communication tools has potential to bring children across the country together, as well as their teachers.
Watch this space, and if you are keen to become involved please let me know.