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Funding boost for early learning interventions "a fabulous start"

By Mabel Muller - mabel.muller@pmn.co.nz

The government's pre-budget announcement of an extra $21.5 million for early learning interventions is being described as a "fabulous start".

Photo/ PMC.

The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the increase will enable thousands more young children to access the extra learning support they need before they start school.

"A lack of funding for early intervention services has meant that far too many children have missed out on behaviour, learning, or speech and language support they need to get the full benefits of ECE," she says.

Senior manager at Whanau Manaaki Kindergarten Association, Caroline Mareko, says it won't be enough to fix the problems the sector is facing, but it's a good start.

"It's a fabulous start but what I'm hoping for is that there is a conversation with our Pasifika education community in the ECE space," she says.

"We need to get it right on our approach on being culturally responsive and also that we capture the kids that really need it."

It is hoped that the extra funding will halve the current waiting list for ECE services as well as meet future demand pressures.

But Ms Mareko says the lack of resources is huge and there are families who are waiting but have not registered on the waiting list.

"Our services are inundated, the resources is not enough to spread around... time, but also the resources to make assessments, being able to get through the number of families that are waiting for assessments or referrals. That's the known number, there's also an unknown number that we don't know of." 

The funding announcement is part of Budget 2018 which will be revealed this Thursday.

Tags: education,