Auckland kindergartens facing restructuring to combat funding crisis

Changes to childcare are being made as a result of a lack of funding (iStock)
Changes to childcare are being made as a result of a lack of funding (iStock)

Auckland's kindergartens are in crisis mode, following the Auckland Kindergarten Association's decision to restructure all centres in the city.

A 2016 review by the Kindergarten Association found kindergartens are struggling to fill places as their hours don't suit working parents, and parents are choosing to use other Early Childhood Centres instead.

The changes are a means of addressing rising costs, as the Association says they don't want to be sending larger bills to families. 

The decision partly comes down to the struggle for kindergartens to afford fully qualified teachers. Kindergartens employ registered teachers who hold a Diploma in Teaching or a similar qualification. Other centres, such as play centres and kohunga reo, may count parents among adult supervisors.

Other reasons for the review include funding cuts the association says has happened year-on-year since 2010, in an open letter.

Paul Goulter, the Education Institute's national secretary, says the changes will have a heavy impact on staff. 

"The measures that are being taken are going to mean longer hours and more work for the existing staff, and the staff are obviously not happy about that.

"They recognise the circumstances that created that, but other than starting to close down, which is not envisioned, this is the only option open to them," Mr Goulter says. 

Mr Goulter says the Government has increased funding in the sector in order to increase the number children in pre-school education, rather than as a measure to increase the quality of their education. 

Parents are worried about the level of education their children are getting, Mr Goulter says, and - until the Government gives kindergartens a cash injection - the depth of their learning. 

The Education Institute believes the Government generally needs to do more for early education, which it says is paramount to getting a good start in life.