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  28 May 2020
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Nau mai ki tenei wiki Kōrero.  

 

We are almost at the end of the first two weeks of living and working under Covid-19 Level 2. Thanks to all of you for your flexibility and willingness to work in an environment of unknowns. It was lovely to see posts on Facebook and to receive emails from teams sharing the specialness of seeing the children and families after such a long period. It really showed the loving relationships you have and the important place you have in their lives.

 

             Mandy

 

He Whānau Manaaki Kindergartens – COVID-19 update 

 

Attendance

We want to encourage attendance.  This is not so much about funding, but about learning, belonging, and connection. Please connect with families to assess any arising issues, and work to support families as much as possible. Regular attendance at early childhood education has a strong association with lifelong educational success. 

 

Don’t forget that we will continue to support families, and so if you feel that we may be able to provide some help, let us know by talking to your Senior Teacher in the first instance.

 

Visitors

Visitors to kindergartens are welcome, with contact tracing and hand sanitiser use etc. 

 

Cleaning

Carry on your level two cleaning routines at the moment, but please read the guidelines contained in the Covid-19 Level 2 Pack, and also talk to your Senior Teacher, if you are unclear about what’s required. When we can relax these, we will let you know.

 

Fees and Whānau Contributions

We had indicated to Head Teachers in our last series of Zoom meetings that we would consider reintroducing fees from 2 June (next week), but that we would get back to you confirming our approach. We will not be reinstating fees next week.

 

Instead, we have determined the following:

  • Fees and Whānau Contribution requests will resume in Term 3 - ie. From 20 July 2020.
  • No fees will be charged this term or during the July term break
  • Our processes will resume in Term 3 and that includes resuming our usual  procedure re: requests for fee waivers - if a Head Teacher believes a child should be attending kindergarten for a period of time that means they incur a fee, and the fee would be a barrier to their participation, the Head Teacher should email Mandy, at  amanda.coulston@wmkindergartens.org.nz, with a request to waive the fees.

 

Message to Parents and Whānau

A Message to Parents and Whānau regarding fees and operations at level 2 will be emailed to you tomorrow. We ask you to circulate it, and to use it as the basis of normal communication you have with your parents and whānau - whether it be via, Storypark, email, notice in pockets.

 

Excursions

After in depth discussion with the Senior Teachers, we have determined to loosen up on our position around excursions. The focus needs to continue to be on contact tracing, physical distancing, and hygiene. Therefore:

  • There will be no excursions that entail children and adults travelling in buses or trains etc
  • There will be no excursions that entail children and adults engaging with others where contact tracing cannot be carried out. eg. walks to the local public playground and there are members of the public present.
  • All other forms of excursion can be undertaken. This includes excursions on foot such as beach kindergarten, bush kindergarten and nature walks where physical distancing is possible if you encounter people you do not know. Visits to schools and libraries and other places with contact tracing systems are also fine. Transition to school visits should be going ahead as usual.
  • When conducting a risk assessment for an excursion, add in a Covid section which includes the principles of hygiene, contact tracing and physical distancing.

As always, if you’re unsure, contact your Senior Teacher.

 

Payroll Reminder

 

All Info-Care, staffing reports and relievers timesheets need to confirmed and sent in to timesheets (as usual) by 9am tomorrow morning, Friday 29 May.

 

Itinerant Relievers

 

We have some new Itinerant Relievers, appointed for the Winter terms, until 25 September. 

 

They are:

  • Hollie Tuiileila, Porirua
  • Terri Greenhalch, City and North
  • Isabel Boyes, City and North
  • Margaret Barclay, Upper Hutt
  • Renata Lower, Whanganui
  • Sharon Wilton, Central Plateau.

 

Also, Diane Meenken has been appointed as Itinerant in the Wairarapa. 

 

These Teachers join our trustee band of Itinerants around our region. 

 

It is essential that our Itinerants have work, as we pay them for set hours each week.  Please make sure you go through the appropriate process for organising your reliever – for ‘urgent’ work, contact the Relieving Coordinators or use Staff Sync in Whanganui and Central Plateau – so we can ensure that our Itinerants are given work. 

 

Regional Meetings

 

Although we had not planned for Regional Meetings for Term Three, Covid-19 and the resultant disruption to our programme of work has meant we need to get together in Term 3.

 

At those meetings we will be updating you on several developments and we will be reviewing Covid-19 and our collective professional response. We will also getting feedback from you on your learnings from this exceptional experience.

 

In addition, the meeting will go over the recent Government announcements around funding - in particular the reinstatement of 100% qualified teacher funding rate. People have talked about what that might mean for staff - particularly teaching staff. Because of the way the current kindergarten funding works, which does not fully compensate us for the current Kindergarten Teacher Collective Agreement costs, it is unlikely we would be able to move to staffing levels that existed in some of our kindergartens five or six years ago. However, the reinstatement of the 100% band, and the associated additional funding, are definitely a great boost for our sector and we will be seeking your views as we assess our priorities.

 

So we will let you know as soon as possible when and where the meetings will be held. These Regional Meetings are compulsory, and they are really, really important in supporting your professional development and knowledge of the issues affecting us in the work we do. 

 

Maintenance Requests

 

When requesting any maintenance at your kindergarten you are to do so using the GOSH online system.

 

When you require maintenance at your kindergarten: Firstly, please refer to the Maintenance Flow chart for your area. The flow chart details the process for requesting maintenance and includes the names and contact details of the preferred contractors in your area. The Maintenance Flow charts are available on GOSH in the Key documents section and on the Whānau Manaaki website www.wmkindergartens.org.nz/staff

 

Please note that with all urgent and essential maintenance, the kindergarten must contact the contractor directly and then complete the Kindergarten Maintenance Request form in GOSH.

 

When requesting maintenance please use the Kindergarten Maintenance Request form which can be found in the What would you like to report? section on GOSH.

 

If you have any questions, please contact Lupeni.Aitogi@wmkindergartens.org.nz

 

Teacher Registration

 

As you will have heard, the Teaching Council is now moving to an annual fee for registration, following a backlash over its significant increase to registration fees. 

 

We are working through what this means for our processes at Whānau Manaaki Kindergartens. There will be more information about this shortly.        

 

Going Back To School And Kindy Like Going Home

 

Here’s a lovely story from one of our kindergarten parents, whose sons are now both at school, about the education community and the supportive role that teachers play. One of her sons has high health needs and that’s why trust is so important at this time. 

 

“I felt myself tear up because I felt like I was home.  

 

School or kindy isn’t just a place you leave your kids each day; it’s your community. It’s the place where you can get advice, support and love from those who are going through the same thing you are.

 

Schools and kindergartens are a way for us to thrive as parents in a world that insists on individualism. I can’t parent alone – and I don’t want to. I want the skill, passion, support and love of people I trust. I want whaea, mātua, sisters, brothers and elders raising my little ones with me. I never wanted only two children, and now I have so many.

 

This is what my school gives me. What it gave me growing up, and what it gives my children now. 

 

Do I have fears?  Of course. Am I anxious?  Yep.  But I also have trust and faith in teachers and staff as they’re my people.”

 

Here’s a link to the full story on The Spinoff.

 

Historic Win For Teacher Aides

 

Teacher aides in schools are set to get a pay rise of between 23 and 34 per cent after the government and NZEI Te Riu Roa reached an equal pay settlement.

 

Teacher aides who are predominantly female had their roles compared with that of prison guards under the pay equity process.

 

At the moment, there’s an 11 per cent difference between the average hourly earnings of men and women.

 

NZEI is now working on a case for early childhood teachers outside kindergartens to reach a pay equity settlement, which is expected to eventually bring pay parity across the sector. 

There are at least 13 equal pay settlements being negotiated, including one for kindergarten support staff.

 

Education support workers employed to work in early childhood services by the Ministry of Education achieved a pay equity win in 2018.

 

Samoan Language Week

 

A number of our kindergartens have been celebrating Samoan Language week, here are a few snippets of the activities:

 

Nuanua Kindergarten.

 

 

Moira Gallagher Kindergarten

 

 

MANUIA VAIASO O LE GAGANA SAMOA, HAPPY SAMOAN LANGUAGE WEEK FANAU! This years theme is ‘Tapena sou ōso mo lau malaga - Prepare yourself a gift for travels’ at Toru Fetu we have been preparing our gifts of knowledge for our tamaiti and faiaoga through creating titi’s & head bands, learning syllables of Samoan words, reading  Samoan books with our teachers, and a lot of singing and dancing! It’s been a fun week of learning about our beautiful Samoa, Fa’afetai Tele Lava. 

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