In New Zealand, many early childhood education services offer programmes that are aligned to particular educational philosophies, cultural identities or religions. When parents are choosing an early childhood service for their child, they may want to know about services with a special character.
The Education Review Office (ERO) reviews all licensed early childhood services every three years and reports publicly on the quality of education and care that each service provides. ERO has used the findings from these reports to write the early childhood monograph series. The purpose of the series is to provide evaluative information about groups of services that have a special character. Parents can use this information along with the ERO report Early Childhood Education: A Guide for Parents, June 20064 to help them make decisions about which early childhood service best fits their needs and aspirations for their child.
Pacific early childhood services are managed and run by communities of Pacific peoples. "Pacific peoples" is a general term used to refer to people of Pacific descent who identify strongly with their island nations of origin. Pacific peoples include those born in the islands as well as those born in New Zealand.
Each service educates children in at least one Pacific language and culture. In many cases the programme is underpinned by Christian faith. Depending on the goals of its community, a service may be bilingual or immersion, with some being multilingual and multicultural.
The first Pacific language early childhood centre opened in Auckland in 1985. Since then, many new Pacific services have been licensed. This reflects the growing Pacific population of New Zealand and strong community support for language and culture-based early childhood services. The Ministry of Education supports the establishment of Pacific services and provides targeted assistance for ongoing development.
ERO's evaluation unit Moana Pasefika reviews early childhood services that provide a bilingual or immersion programme in a Pacific language, or that have a high proportion of Pacific children on their rolls.