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As you will know the government has announced changes to the Covid-19 framework and yesterday we sent out an email update as well as a notice for parents and whānau to be distributed in your normal way.
The main changes announced today are:
- An end to QR codes from 11.59pm this Friday.
- An end to vaccination mandates from April 5 for the education sector, although employers may retain vaccination policies if they choose to do so.
- Changes to gatherings under the Red setting.
What doesn’t change:
- We remain at the Red setting.
- We are still experiencing the Omicron variant, with thousands of cases each day, hundreds of people in hospital, and ongoing fatalities.
- Mask wearing remains crucial, along with other public health measures, such as social distancing, to control the outbreak.
- Vaccination, including booster doses, remain a crucial part of the defence against Covid 19.
- The mandate remains in force at the moment, and those eligible for boosters should get them, and send in their records in the usual way.
What does this mean for our kindergartens?
Our board will meet next week to discuss how Whānau Manaaki as an employer responds to changes to vaccine mandates for our sector. This is an important decision for us, as we consider the implications for tamariki, families and staff.
We will have more information to you as soon as our board has made a decision on this.
You can stop using QR codes after Friday but keep them safe in case we need to use them again.
You can revert to normal sign-in sheets from next week (ie. there won’t be a need to record phone numbers etc – Tania B. will make these changes to sign-in sheets over the weekend), but keep your social distancing and mask wearing practices around drop-off and pickups, appropriate to the Red setting.
During this time we are still taking part in the government testing program, where tests are sent out to kindergartens for teachers to test twice a week. We also encourage teachers to provide these tests to whānau of tamariki with symptoms.
And just a reminder that the association is happy for people to access whatever stocks of RAT's they have access too. If you do have symptoms you can always access free tests from Healthpoint.
Click here to link to Healthpoint site.
We appreciate that this everchanging Covid-19 environment has been a challenge for everyone, and particularly for teachers in Early Learning Education services. Your commitment to the continued support of tamariki and whānau throughout this Omicron outbreak has been incredible. We appreciate all that you do! Please do get in touch if you're struggling and need more support from Head Office.
"You can't stop the waves but you can learn how to surf."
Fee Rate Changes Infocare
Next week we will be beginning our work on making changes in Infocare to prepare for the new fee rates that apply from the start of Term 2. We will be setting up new fee structures so you will see the following new fee options appearing:
“Fee (aged 3 & over) – new”
“Fee (aged under 3) – new”
These are not yet active and shouldn’t be used just yet, so for any changes to timetables or new enrolments please continue to use the existing fee structures that are in place i.e.
“Fees (aged 3 years & over)”
“Fees (age under 3 years)”
We will be in touch next week with further information about the fee rate changes in Infocare as well as the process for setting up new child timetables for Term 2, so watch this space! In the meantime if you have any questions please get in touch with Tania Braybrook in the Porirua Office.
End of Month Infocare Cut-Off
Next week is financial month end and we will be working on our March Board and Kindergarten reporting shortly. To help us with this, we would be grateful if you could have your Infocare records for next week (being the week ended Friday 1 April) completed by noon on Monday 4 April.
This means we would like you to complete the following tasks in Infocare up to and including Friday 1 April, as appropriate:
- Sign in sheets marked in Infocare (actual attendance)
- Fee invoices created and committed
- Staff timetables (“staff hour count”) completed
- Online sign off of your monthly roll return
- Any ratio, attendance or roll issues are communicated to Tania Braybrook in the Porirua Office.
2022/23 Kindergarten Budgets
We have begun the process of planning for the 2022/23 Association Budget and are due to present this to the Board in early July. As usual we’ll require your input as part of this process but, given the work pressures we have all been facing recently due to COVID, the Board have agreed to push out the budget timetable again this year. This means we will be asking you to prepare your budgets in May, rather than in April. We will email you your budget templates in mid-April and they will be due in to the Association on Friday 20 May.
As always you will be expected to work with your Senior Teacher, Kindergarten team and Whanau Groups/Committees (where appropriate) on these and we will make available finance resource to assist you with this exercise.
2021/22 Whānau Contribution Tax Certificates
Your families may be starting to ask about their 2021/22 Whānau Contribution/Donation Tax Certificates. These will be generated in the coming weeks and will be circulated by email to whānau and other donors in late April. They will summarise all whānau contributions and other donations made to Whānau Manaaki Kindergartens (received and banked) in the period 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022. It would be helpful if you could check that your parent and whānau email details in Infocare are accurate as these will be used to distribute the tax certificates.
Email any queries about the tax certificates
In week nine of each term there are two tasks for Hazard Management that need to be undertaken:
- Review of Hazard Register
- Review of Termly Hazard Checklist
Review of Hazard Register
This is an opportunity to update your Hazard Register to include the answer to this question:
Does the hazard still exist?
If it does, review it to see if there are any changes to your actions and approaches to manage this hazard.
As a result of feedback from teams, GOSH has created a more user-friendly way to review your hazards. You will see now that there is a new icon on your ‘My Kindergarten’ view.
There is a new form called ‘Kindergarten Hazard Review Audit’ (see below). This form has simplified the process for review as you no longer need to edit each hazard individually, instead; a tick box has been created where you look at the hazards and if it still exists and you are happy with the ‘controls’ then you just tick the box.
Upon completing this record, all related hazard records on your Hazard Register will be updated to reflect this review.
Review of Termly Hazard Checklist
The Hazard checklist can be completed on GOSH and can be found in the “What would you like to report” section on the home page (please see the red circle below).
Any hazards that are identified during this process that cannot be eliminated immediately are then entered onto your kindergartens Hazard Register using GOSH.
Review of Accidents on GOSH
This week, being week nine, is time to review your child accident registers on GOSH.
We are currently working with GOSH to streamline the process, making it easier to review, and to create graphs. But currently the best way to review your accident is:
Go into your Parent Summary in ‘My Kindergarten’ and you can filter by using the search option (blue arrow). You can enter a specific primary category and you will see all the accidents related to that category (yellow arrow). You can select the dates you want to look at (green arrow) and check the ones you emailed (grey arrow). You can also look at how many times you provided accident reports to parents (orange arrow).
Any questions please don’t hesitate to contact Lorraine Coulsten.
World Leading Pen Green Centre Faces Massive Funding Cut
One of the first integrated early childhood services is under threat, following funding cuts in the north of England.
The Pen Green Centre has been followed all over the world, as a community facility that promoted a wide range of family services including adult literacy, English language lessons, parenting support, social care and health services as well as partnering with voluntary agencies.
The centre supported families after the community was devastated by factor closures and job cuts, and it became an international example.
It’s now facing funding cuts of more than $NZ 1.5 million per year.
The centre has described the proposal as savage and short sighted, and catastrophic for children.
New Zealand early childhood expert Wendy Lee says she is shocked at the threat. Wendy provides professional development and was involved in developing the Kei Tua o Te Pai books on assessment that are widely used in services today.
“I have always been inspired by their incredible leadership in early childhood education. They have influenced many of us across the globe with their innovative practice.”
You can sign the petition to save Pen Green here.
Ministry of Education's Highest Needs Review Survey
Thank you to the teachers who have shared their views on the Highest Needs Review Survey. To anyone who hasn't completed it yet, please do.
Although it does take time (allow an hour) it is of the highest importance as so many tamariki have unmet needs in terms of support, and this is one way we can support whānau to be heard.
The survey closes on 31st March.
Click here to view and complete the survey
Margaret Carr Recognised
Prominent early childhood academic and advocate Margaret Carr has been recognised for her work by being elected as a Fellow of the Academy of the Royal Society Te Apārangii.
Margaret was one of the authors of the groundbreaking and internationally recognised Te Whāriki curriculum.
She is also an international expert on assessment in early childhood education and she developed learning stories as one way to assess children’s learning, highlighting strengths, interests, achievements and dispositions.
Margaret, an emeritus professor, who already has been awarded an Order of New Zealand Merit, is a colleague, a friend and a role model to many in early childhood education.
The Royal Society recognises those who are at the top of their field.
Supporting our Families with Grocery Shopping
Whānau Manaaki Kindergartens has a team of six personal shoppers supporting families who are isolating with Covid-19. Our Association receives funding from the Ministry of Social Development for this work, because of our reputation for delivering quality services to families.
MSD refers families who need support and our community navigators contact families to see what they need. The team of shoppers go to Pak n Save stores around Wellington, Porirua and the Hutt Valley to make the purchases, including meat and vegetables, food for the freezer, and Covid-related supplies.
The six shoppers then deliver to their areas, dropping items on the doorstep. Families call out their thanks from a distance, so the team feels appreciated.
Shopper Elaine Lemafua says she enjoys helping families. “We know their struggles - when you can’t do your own shopping it’s good to know there are people who’ll be there for you.”
Another of the shoppers, Victoria Pikirangi says they all work well together. “It’s good teamwork – we support each other.”
Pictured left to right: Elaine, Kathy (her baby boy Oshea-Viliamu is in front), Jorjah, Drelyn, Angie & Victoria.
Appointments and Resignations
Congratulations to the following on their recent appointments:
21 Mar 22
2 May 22
21 Mar 22
23 Mar 22
24 March 22
28 March 22
We wish all the best to the following who have resigned:
11 April 22
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