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Lessons in early education from New Zealand

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Lessons in early education from New Zealand.

When it comes to early childhood care and education, Ireland is, in ways, where New Zealand was in the 1980s, according to Prof Linda Mitchell of the University of Waikato in Hamilton. She was in Dublin recently to explain what a 10-year strategic plan, which was started in New Zealand in 2002, meant to children under the age of six and their families.

“We’ve moved on – at least it shows you can move,” she says, sitting in the basement offices on Merrion Street of Start Strong, an alliance of organisations and individuals advocating improved early care and education in Ireland.

With New Zealand and Ireland sharing certain similarities, such as population size, climate, landscape and importance of agriculture, its work in developing services for children aged zero to six is seen as offering valuable lessons.

During her visit, which was organised by Start Strong, Mitchell met the expert advisory group appointed to help draw up the National Early Years Strategy. She also briefed members of the Oireachtas, although, ironically, publication of the wording for the children’s rights referendum that same morning affected the numbers attending her presentation.

Back in 1986, New Zealand became only the second country in the world, after Iceland, to integrate early childhood education services into its ministry of education…

Trocaire calls for EU ban on goods from settlements

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Trocaire calls for EU ban on goods from settlements.

Trócaire has launched a campaign urging a ban on goods produced in Israeli settlements across the European Union.

Trócaire executive director Justin Kilcullen said the goods, which “are produced on the back of house demolitions, land confiscation, racial segregation and military occupation”, must be banned so as not to provide economic support to the illegal settlements.

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