Joy and achievement: Great Barrier Island celebrates the licensing of its first early childhood centre. Photo / Petr Kratochvil / CC

Island’s First Licensed Early Childhood Centre: A Community Triumph

Joy and achievement: Great Barrier Island celebrates the licensing of its first early childhood centre. Photo / Petr Kratochvil / CC

Aotea has reached a significant milestone with the licensing of its first Early Childhood Centre, culminating years of community effort and planning.

“After decades in the dreaming and wondering how to go about it, we did it!!!” shared Nikki Watts from the Aotea Education Trust.

The Centre’s journey to obtaining a full license spanned several key phases: seven years under the Aotea Education Trust’s community development plan, two pivotal years managed by AET with Bonnie Henare as the consultant, and a crucial final year under a probationary license.

Certification came over the past month collaborating with Huhana Winiata and Marlene Rei from the Ministry of Education.

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Watts says many contributed to this success, including the Great Barrier Local Board, Luke Coles, Aotea Island Playcentre, and staff past and present such as Anna McGoram, Truus van der Wel, Ebony Kite-Bell, Kathy Sutherland, Brooke Green, and Liz Wislang.

“There are so many people to thank.” she added, also extending special thanks to the preschool parents and community members who have kept the dream alive.

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Being licensed as an early childhood education (ECE) centre in New Zealand means that the centre has met or exceeded the regulatory standards and criteria outlined in the Education and Training Act 2020. This includes ensuring that the facilities, curriculum, and staffing are all suitable and safe for young children, providing a solid foundation for their early learning.

A licensed centre is also eligible to receive government funding and must adhere to specific funding rules set by the Ministry of Education. Regular reviews by the Education Review Office ensure the quality of education and care remains high.​

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