1 May 2018: The Government announced in January 2018 that the Better Public Services programme would not continue in this form. These pages have been archived.
Engrossed in early learning: mat time at Kakano Early Childhood centre in Manurewa, one of the Weymouth ECE services attracting more kids to ECE.
“If it works, keep doing it. If it doesn't, try something else!”
This is the mantra for a South Auckland group committed to seeing more young children get a strong start in education.
In the suburbs of Clendon and Weymouth, the drive is on to get more local families involved in early learning and to significantly pump up the numbers of children participating in early childhood education (ECE) before they start school. The people behind it all are from the Ministry of Education, Ko Awatea, the Weymouth Community Action Group and local early childhood education (ECE) centres.
Since early 2014 the ECE centres have used a specific approach to find ways to connect more families with quality early learning. The process is called Rapid Cycle Change (RCC) which relies on fast paced change, with early results determining whether actions should be adopted, adapted or abandoned.
Each new idea for action has to work for the centres and for the community. It’s clear they are working for both because enrolments figures have increased sharply. Some of the changes the seven participating ECE centres made to incentive enrolment include offering free hours, activity days, hot meals and home visits to check in with families whose children aren’t regularly coming to the centres.
After enrolment rates shot up, the focus moved to keeping the children coming back every day. The ECE centres asked why some children were not attending regularly? After investigation, the answer came down to health. So the Weymouth RCC project teamed up with a local health providers’ network. The ECE centres got access to professional health expertise, families got help with the health issues they were facing, and the children got healthy and strong so they could attend and enjoy ECE every day. Similar partnerships are also forming with Family Start providers and local libraries, to support improved reading and writing among families.
The RCC project reflects a shift in the delivery of public services. It has worked so well that two more groups of ECE services in areas of high deprivation and low ECE participation are now involved. The project is taking what works, and sharing it with others so that even more young children and their families can benefit from all that quality early learning has to offer.