In-home childcare 'encouraging ECE participation'

PORSE In-home childcare has today committed to taking a leading role in South Auckland to encourage more Māori and Pacific Island children into early childhood education (ECE) to reach Government targets.

The Papakura and Takanini regions in South Auckland have one of the highest non-participation rates in ECE in New Zealand and the Government is now providing more funding to help South Auckland ECE providers bring on more Māori and Pasifika children.

The New Zealand Government has set a target of having 98 percent of children participating in ECE before starting school, by 2016.

PORSE South Auckland consultant Glenda Stewart says PORSE is working hard in the area to try and engage with more Māori and Pacific Island families.

“We are trying to break down barriers and raise awareness by helping these families understand that financial childcare support is available. We want to reduce educational disparity so part of our focus is to better resource the homes of Māori and Pasifika educators.”

PORSE Samoan Educator Sila To’o is a big advocate of in-home childcare because it’s given her the opportunity to be self-employed and look after Pacific Island children in South Auckland.

“There are a lot of cultural values that need to be respected in our Pacific Island community. Part of my ECE programme involves playing Pacific Island music and reading stories that the children can relate to.”

Mrs To’o teaches English to some of the Pasifika children in her care and sometimes takes them to church. She also has a large Samoan flag hanging in her living room and ensures the children learn about their heritage.

“I look after three and four year olds so I help prepare them for school, teaching them to read and write and with the support of PORSE I get them out into the community. We enjoy going to a lot of the free community events that PORSE organises.”

Ms Stewart says organising large community events is another initiative which attracts Māori and Pacific Island families to participate in ECE.

“Lots of Families and Educators come to our free events like our Matariki day, red nose day and puppet show. This provides an opportunity to communicate with families and raise awareness about the ECE that is available. It’s also a fun way to engage families in our programme.”

PORSE is working to tailor affordable childcare to suit South Auckland families’ budgets and lifestyles with the ability to utilise subsidies such as WINZ, 20 hours ECE for three and four year olds, Multiple Birth and PORSE subsidies.

Samoan parent, Mary Tautali uses PORSE and says it aligns well with her family values and has enabled her to study hospitality. She uses WINZ subsidies and the 20 hours ECE for her three and four year old.

“In Samoa it’s important for females to be raising children at home. I need to study so I can get employment in New Zealand and PORSE in-home care is the next best thing to me being at home with my children. I’m happy that my children are in a safe, secure home environment with PORSE,” said Mrs Tautali.

In-home childcare is the fastest growing ECE sector for children and Ms Stewart says PORSE is working hard to support educators like Sila To’o who value Pacific Island heritage and will help raise awareness of ECE for South Auckland families.

“We have made it a priority to understand and value the identity, language and culture of Māori and Pasifika children. We want to ensure our PORSE children are given opportunities to develop their knowledge and understanding of cultural heritages.”

PORSE is also working hard on initiatives to transition informal childcare into formal childcare.

“There are a lot of Māori and Pacific Island grandparents who look after their grandchildren and don’t realise they can get paid for it. If they contact PORSE we can help them run their own business and help provide them with better access to resources. Grandparents can also enjoy the free training programmes available through PORSE if they formalise their childcare arrangements,” said Ms Stewart.

PORSE provides all educators and parents with free nationally recognised training programmes to learn more about early brain development and secure attachment relationships.

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