Early childhood teachers have launched a week of action today to demand the Government fix a 23 per cent pay gap between them and primary and secondary school teachers.
Next year that pay gap will go to 49 per cent.
Karen O’Leary has a degree in education and is an early childhood education (ECE) head at a childcare centre in Wellington.
She says the Teacher’s Council views early childhood teachers as the same as primary and secondary teachers.
“The registration process is exactly the same for an early childhood teacher as it is for a primary teacher or a secondary school teacher,” she says.
She says there is no justification for a pay gap.
“What’s been happening is that historically ECE has been very undervalued, not only by government but by the public in general.
“Early childhood has been seen as just childcare and we haven’t really valued the absolutely crucial important work that happens in early childhood,” Ms O’Leary says.
Early childhood teachers are hoping to achieve greater awareness throughout this week of action.
“What we want to do is raise awareness for the wider public so they absolutely understand that early childhood education done well is an absolute investment in our country,” she says.
Ms O'Leary says this week is about being positive rather than "stroppy".
"We are going to walk to Grant Robertson's office, we're going to go and see Jacinda.
"We're just going to do lots of really great stuff that says 'do you know what? we are doing really great stuff for our country.'"