NZK Conference 2012
excellence diversity sustainability
key sponsor - wilkinsons insurance brokers
James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor, The Terrace Wellington
24-26 August 2012
Over 130 people from throughout the country attended the NZK biennial conference held in Wellington on 23 – 26 August 2012. The theme of the conference was Kindergarten 2020 - a focus a strong and enduring future for kindergarten: ensuring excellence, recognising our diverse communities, and sustainability. The conference provided NZK members the opportunity to reflect on the challenges and opportunities for kindergarten, to discuss the issues of importance to kindergarten in 2012, and to think about and to plan for the future. The conference gave us time to celebrate our success and to share ideas.
Minister of Education Hekia Parata addressed the conference on Friday 24 August. The Minister commented on government priorities and challenges, and shared her views about early childhood education including her personal experiences as a child on the East Coast, and a mother. Richard Walley, Senior Manager, ECE Policy at the Ministry of Education and Carl Davidson, Chief Families Commissioner, were also keynote speakers who discussed increasing participation in early childhood education, and researching and promoting best practices to improve outcomes for children and families. Inspirational speakers Henare O’Keefe and Pinky Agnew motivated and energised delegates, offered fresh perspectives on our work, and time to reflect.
On Friday 24 August, the NZK Annual General Meeting took place: Anne Masterton (Wellington) and Jan Forsyth (Christchurch) were elected to the NZK Board. Our colleagues in the wider early childhood and education sector, as well as government officials, and partners and suppliers joined us at a social function following the AGM. Life membership was presented to Jean Tidy (Napier). In presenting the award, NZK chief executive Clare Wells acknowledged contribution to kindergarten as a parent, governance board member and president of the Napier and the Marlborough associations, and NZK board member. Accepting the award, Jean gave a moving speech about how kindergarten has impacted her life. The NZK Presidents Award was presented to Tauranga Region Kindergarten Association for its work on sustainability and the NZK Cultural Award was given to Northland Kindergarten Association for its work engaging and partnering with the local Maori community through Pumanawatanga.
There were 17 workshops reflecting the conference themes - excellence, diversity and sustainability, and the different roles within an association - governance, management, and teaching and learning. Being effective as a collective, children’s view of sustainability, Ministry of Education participation project results, the Education Review Office report Partnerships with Whanau, children’s rights, board succession planning, integrated ECE services, action research, Engaging Pasifika families, effective governance were issues and topics explored through the workshops. The presentations are available to members here.
Children and families are a key focus for government in 2012 and increasing participation in high quality early childhood education has been identified as a priority. We know that families in New Zealand are becoming increasingly diverse and there is more research available about best practices and what makes early childhood education high quality for all children. Kindergarten is well placed to contribute to, influence and lead policy direction. The 2012 NZK Conference gave us the opportunity to explore ideas, refine our thinking and consider together, the next steps for kindergarten.