Participation in Early Childhood Education (ECE) has been shown to positively impact literacy, numeracy, and problem-solving skills well into the teenage years. Studies have shown that high-quality ECE also leads to better social outcomes [7,9,10]. ECE participation has been identified as an important factor in supporting vulnerable children and there has been a strong emphasis on increasing participation across New Zealand in recent years (with the target level of 98% having been set in 2012).
This indicator presents the proportion of Year 1 entrants who had previously participated in ECE in the sixth months prior to starting school, using Ministry of Education data. Breakdowns of the data show participation in ECE separately for each Territorial Authority, and for greater Christchurch by ethnicity.
In greater Christchurch, participation in ECE has stayed above the national target for several years, remaining steady at over 98 percent (98.6% in 2016 and 2017). Nationally, participation in ECE has steadily increased over time, with 96.9 percent of new entrants having attended ECE in the year ending December 2017.
The figure shows high and stable ECE participation rates for European/Pākehā children in greater Christchurch for the period 2010–2017 (99.1% in 2017). The figure also shows increasing ECE participation for Māori and Asian children, with both groups reaching the national target for this indicator in 2016 and 2017. While ECE participation for Pacific children has been trending upwards in recent years, the rate remains below the national target (by approximately 2.7 percentage points in 2017). ECE participation rates show greater variability for non-European/Pākehā groups due to smaller absolute numbers.
The figure shows high and stable ECE participation rates for children in medium and high decile schools in greater Christchurch for the period 2010–2017 (98.1% and 99.1% respectively, 2017). The figure also shows steadily increasing ECE participation for children in low decile schools over the same time period, with this group reaching the national target for this indicator in 2016.
Source: Ministry of Education.
Survey/data set: Ministry of Education ENROL Database. Access publicly available data from the Education Counts website www.educationcounts.govt.nz
Source data frequency: Annually.