Nau mai ki te pānui tênei ko te Kōrero.
Ngā mihi nui
Ngā mihi mahana
Ki a koutou katoa
We come to the end of another term – for some there’ll be a term break, for others, you’ll be working through and using your leave at a different time. Regardless, this is still the end of a term, and all of us will get a break from paid work because of the long weekends – yay!
These are amazing times and you are amazing people. American author and wise woman Virginia Satir once wrote: “peace within, peace between, peace among” – thank you for caring for the tamariki, whānau and communities, thank you for caring for each other, and thank you for caring for yourself.
The coming weeks and months will be a time of reflection - learning from the past couple of years of a constant Covid presence to heal and to create new ways of being in what will be the new normal. Just as we have always done, we will embark on that journey together, and we’ll do good work because we’ll do it together – ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi engari, he toa takitini.
Take care beautiful people.
My wish for you is that you continue. Continue to be who and how you are, astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness. Continue to allow humour to lighten the burden of your tender heart.
Shifting to the Orange setting
As you know the country is now at the Orange setting of the Covid Protection Framework (CPF) This means limits on numbers of people gathering have been lifted, and there are no longer maximum numbers for indoors or outside. There are also no distancing requirements.
Mask wearing is still required in many places indoors and is strongly encouraged when not required. Venues such as shops, libraries, malls, public transport, airports etc still require masks, and staff in public facing roles, or handling food are required to wear masks.
Vaccine certificates are no longer required, although some businesses may choose to retain them.
What This Means for Kindergartens
The Board supports lifting vaccination mandates, but recognises the risk at this time for Whānau Manaaki given the current levels of Omicron infection. We are undertaking a health risk assessment, using government guidelines, to inform our policy position in the future. It will also inform decision making on operating at Orange and what that looks like in kindergartens. We are also closely monitoring Omicron infection levels in our kindergarten communities.
While we undertake this assessment, we continue with our interim policy that is currently in place:
o Only people who have received two doses of the vaccine against COVID-19, or who hold a valid vaccination exemption, or those who have contracted Covid-19 and provide verification by a registered medical practitioner can work at Whānau Manaaki ECE services (including Whānau Manaaki offices) or be around children in our services during service opening hours. This includes parent or whānau helpers or other volunteers.
o Booster vaccinations are strongly encouraged rather than compulsory. We continue to keep records of vaccinations, please send evidence of booster shots to our Covid-19 vaccination email address.
o All other procedures and public health measures that our services currently have in place will continue until the 8 May.
This means retaining the current practice of limiting the time unvaccinated people have inside kindergarten to 30 minutes to drop off and pick up children. This procedure remains along with all other procedures that support the public health measures detailed in the CPF. If there are concerns about this, or if teams are concerned that children may miss out (eg. if they are leaving for school and want to follow the final day traditions of the kindergarten) please discuss this with your Senior Teacher and with COO Amy Weightman. We need to maintain our health measures AND we need to celebrate milestones in children’s lives.
Our Board will meet in early May to consider the Whānau Manaaki position. Once we have a final policy, we will distribute updated advice regarding the operation of our kindergartens at the Orange setting. In the interim, we ask you to keep things as they are, to enable well-considered decisions to be made.
The Ministry has distributed rapid antigen tests (RATs) to all of our kindergartens now. Additional RATs are now available, and an additional distribution cycle has been added for services that have already opted-in. This means you can expect to receive an additional delivery of RATs for your use and for any whānau that may require them. Please see the Kōrero #345 for a reminder of what they can be used for.
We continue to closely monitor the numbers of household close contacts and people with COVID-19 that are connected with the Kindergartens. Our numbers very closely match the patterns of cases reported by the DHBs across our rohe. This gives a very high degree of confidence that our experience fits with the public health modelling and that you are doing an amazing job of connecting with parents and whānau and reporting what is happening in your kindergartens. Keep up the good work – we are definitely coming out the other side of the Omicron wave now.
Senior Teacher Update
Thank you to everyone for all the mahi that went into completing the Whānau Manaaki Internal Assurance Compliance Document. We appreciate that this was a big task but as it is focused on health and safety for everyone in our learning environments it really is an essential task. So, thank you once again. There have been some maintenance issues generated from completing the document and the Property team will work through this list. There is further discussion about this in the Property Team Update below.
Research in Kindergartens
Just a reminder that if your kindergarten is approached and asked to be involved in any type of research project, it is important that you talk with, either your Senior Teacher or Lyn wright who oversees the research portfolio. As an association we do need to maintain a record of projects we are engaged in and agree to kindergartens being involved.
Students in kindergartens
We are wanting to let you know we have been approached by Victoria University about upcoming student practicums and that we are happy for these students to be in our kindergartens. If you are one of the kindergartens that receives an email requesting a student placement, it is fine for you to respond directly to Moe Nanai. We would also ask that you include Lyn Wright in your response so that we can maintain our record of student placements.
Property Team Update
Whānau Manaaki Internal Assurance Compliance Document
Teams should have completed the document and sent this into their respective Senior Teachers. This is then being reviewed and collated by the ST compliance team and put into an internal document for the property team to action on a tranche-by-tranche basis.
PLEASE NOTE: Some teams have used the information from the Internal Assurance Compliance Document to register maintenance requests on GOSH. There is no need to do this because we will only be actioning the information that comes through the Compliance Document.
Finance Team Update
Payments over the Term Break
We have a good part of the Finance Team on leave over Easter (some COVID related) so are running a skeleton crew next week. All invoices received in the last few days will be included in today’s payment run, however there will be no payments made next week. Please continue to email your payment requests to the accounts mailbox and these will be processed for payment in the week beginning Tuesday 26 April.
If you require urgent payments next week please email these direct to Brendon Fyfe-Gits.
End of Month Infocare Cut-Off
A reminder that this week is financial month end for those part year kindergartens that are finishing for the term break. We’d be grateful if you could have your Infocare records for this week completed before you go on leave today.
This means we would like you to complete the following tasks in Infocare for April, as appropriate:
- Sign in sheets marked in Infocare (actual attendance)
- Fee invoices created and committed (if applicable)
- Staff timetables (“staff hour count”) completed
- Online sign off of your monthly roll return
- Any ratio, attendance or roll issues are communicated to Tania
2021/22 Donation Tax Certificates
A reminder that 31 March 2022 Donation Tax Certificates are due to be emailed to our whānau on 28 April 2022. These summarise all whānau contributions and other donations made to Whānau Manaaki Kindergartens for the period 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022. Any queries about the tax certificates can be sent to our donations email address.
EC12 forms are no longer required for absent children.
A Statement of Intention to Return, still needs to be completed by parents and caregivers for children that are absent for 2 weeks or longer. This can be via email or text message.
For all queries, please contact Tania Braybrook or your Senior Teacher.
Working with South Otago Kindergartens
Whānau Manaaki has been working alongside South Otago Kindergarten Association, supporting with their professional learning and development. There is an opportunity for a teaching job down there, in the town of Lawrence, and we wondered if any of you might be interested, even for a temporary placement. If you are interested have a look here for more information and then email Jane Horrax
With fees due to increase next term for many of our families, make sure you work with your senior teacher to address any issues that arise.
Here’s a link to our Frequently Asked Questions.
Whānau Manaaki staff are encouraged to get a flu vaccine now that they are available. Those over 65 or with health conditions will already be able to access free vaccinations, but if you don’t qualify, you can get reimbursed for the cost of the flu vaccination.
This flu season is expected to be worse than usual, because of the borders reopening and because of limited flu exposure in the past two years.
Fair Pay Agreements
Legislation introducing Fair Pay agreements is progressing through parliament, and Whānau Manaaki Kindergartens is likely to make a submission in support of the proposed new law.
Fair pay agreements would set minimum pay rates for different sectors. It would stop employers undercutting each other to get work by paying less as currently happens with cleaning contracts and public transport services. Early childhood teachers are expected to be among the first groups to benefit from this legislation.
Last week Newtown Kindergarten teacher Catherine Vaughan spoke at an event at the Kilbirnie bus depot to mark the first reading of the Fair Pay Agreements Bill. She spoke about the pay disparity between kindergarten and other early childhood teachers which can be up to $30,000 a year.
Catherine talked to the Workplace Relations Minister Michael Wood about how Fair Pay Agreements could change pay and working conditions for thousands of early childhood kaiako not covered by a collective agreement. Catherine urges other kindergarten teachers to support their colleagues in the rest of the sector by filling in a submission form that will go to the select committee considering the bill. These can be found here: Fair Pay Agreements - FAQs — ECE Voice
Low paid workers including cleaners, security guards and bus drivers are also likely to get better pay after this legislation passes. Lealamanu'a Aiga Caroline Mareko from Whānau Manaaki Kindergartens was on the working group chaired by former Prime Minister Hon Jim Bolger that made recommendation about the new law.
Puna Reo National Body Formed
A new national body has been set up to represent Puna Reo around the country, Ngā Puna Reo Aotearoa. There are around 50 Puna Reo, which are Māori immersion early childhood centres and fall under the early childhood sector, unlike Kohanga Reo which have a different Kaupapa.
Tere Gilbert is the Chair of the newly established Puna Reo national body and has worked in Kohanga Reo for many years and has played a prominent role in the sector.
“Our main purpose to just advance quality Māori immersion early years education and to ensure that Puna Reo are appropriately resourced and recognised because we've never been recognised before".
Baby Shower at Head Office
Our head office admin super star Nora is heading off on maternity leave in preparation for the arrival of her new pēpi.
This week we gathered to shower Nora with baby gifts and to share kai and eat cake. We wish her all the very best in her journey and can’t wait to meet the newest addition to the Whānau Manaaki family!
Appointments and Resignations
Congratulations to the following on their recent appointments:
We wish all the best to the following who have resigned:
Wellington South/Island Bay
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