Early Learning Strategic Plan

A new strategic plan is being developed for early learning that will set the high level direction and vision for the next ten years.

The Strategic Plan for Early Learning will set out a systematic and stepped approach to developing and strengthening the early learning sector, to meet the needs of all children and their families and whānau.

The draft plan will be jointly developed by a Ministerial Advisory Group, a larger Reference Group that includes sector stakeholders, and the Ministry.  Their work will draw on the findings of the Education Summits and the national conversation on education, as well as other work being undertaken in the education portfolio.

An online survey on early learning was published on 14 June 2018 and closed on 12 July 2018.

The draft plan is expected to be available for public consultation in September/October 2018.

The terms of reference for the strategy were announced by the Minister of Education on 5 April 2018, together with the members of the Ministerial Advisory Group and the Reference Group.

Download the Terms of Reference [PDF, 393 KB]

Ministerial Advisory Group members

Prof Professor Carmen Dalli (Chair)

School of Education,
Victoria University of Wellington

Carmen has a BA (Hons) from the University of Malta, a MEd from the University of Bristol and a PhD from Victoria University of Wellington. Carmen is Honorary Consul for Malta in Wellington.

Her research spans early childhood policy studies, professionalism in the early years, and under-three year olds in early childhood settings. She has a strong interest in children’s transitions from home to their first early childhood setting and the nature of learning in the first years.

Carmen was recently the principal investigator for the Quality early childhood education for under-two-year-olds report produced for the Minister of Education. Her research in early learning policy and practice has been widely published in New Zealand and internationally.

Professor Margie Hohepa

Associate Dean Māori,
Te Kura Toi Tangata Faculty of Education at the University of Waikato

Professor Margie Hohepa is currently the Associate Dean, Māori in the Faculty of Education at the University of Waikato. Her iwi are Te Māhurehure, Ngāpuhi and Te Ātiawa.

Professor Hohepa teaches Māori education undergraduate and graduate courses in initial teacher education, and supervises honours, masters and doctoral research students across a range of Māori education topics. She has taught in primary school and kōhanga reo settings. Her field of research is framed by Kaupapa Māori, with a particular interest in Māori medium education. Recent research projects have focused on Māori medium initial teacher education and on kōhanga-kura transitions.

Dr Alex Gunn

Associate Dean, Teacher Education
University of Otago

Alex has taught in urban and rural not-for-profit and community-based education and care settings for children aged between birth and school-age.

She has worked in general education, initial teacher education and post-graduate education studies at the University of Canterbury and the University of Otago.

Alex’s research interests include early childhood education, inclusive education and social justice, and educational assessment and teacher education.

Prof Stuart McNaughton

Chief Science Advisor, Ministry of Education

Professor of Education and Director of the Woolf Fisher Research Centre at the University of Auckland

Stuart research areas are literacy and language development, the design of effective education for culturally and linguistically diverse populations, and cultural processes in development. He has published extensively of these topics and was awarded the Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to education in New Zealand. 

As a Director of the Woolf Fisher Research Centre, Stuart leads a research team in studies of effective educational interventions for schooling success with a focus on Māori and Pasifika children. He is a member of the Literacy Research Panel of the International Literacy Association and in 2014 was inducted into the Reading Hall of Fame.

Reference Group members

The following members of the Early Childhood Advisory Committee and ECE Research Policy Forum have been invited to join the Reference Group:

  • Thelma Chapman, Christian Early Childhood Education Association of Aotearoa
  • Hellen Puhipuhi, Pasifika Advisory Group
  • Cathy Wilson, Montessori Aotearoa of NZ (MANZ)
  • Charmaine Thomson, NZEI Te Riu Roa
  • Sandie Burn, NZEI Te Riu Roa
  • Marianne Kayes, Hospital Play Specialists
  • Karen Affleck, The Federation of Rudolf Steiner Waldorf Schools in New Zealand
  • Kathy Wolfe, Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand
  • Susan Bailey, New Zealand Playcentre Federation
  • Kararaina Cribb, Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust
  • Peter Reynolds, Early Childhood Council
  • Phil Grady, Early Childhood Leadership Group
  • Susan Foster-Cohen, Early Intervention Association of Aotearoa New Zealand (EIAANZ)
  • Clare Wells, NZ Kindergartens Inc
  • Susan Phua, New Zealand Home-based Early Childhood Education Association
  • Keith Newton, Barnardos New Zealand
  • Raewyn Overton-Stuart, Home Early Learning Organisation (HELO)
  • Helen McConnell, Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu
  • Jayne Franklin, Education Council
  • Prof Margaret Carr, University of Waikato
  • Prof Helen May, University of Otago
  • Dr Anne Meade, consultant
  • Dr Linda Mitchell, University of Waikato
  • Dr Lesley Rameka, University of Waikato
  • Prof Claire McLachlan, University of Waikato
  • Lealofi Kupa, Whānau Manaaki Kindergartens

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