Preschool scheme to increase numbers goes nationwide after Auckland success

An early education pilot scheme in South Auckland to improve attendance numbers has been so successful it's to be taken nationwide this year.

The Ministry of Education is aiming to increase attendance numbers at early childhood centres. Source: 1 NEWS

The Ministry of Education aims to increase the number of children going to early childhood centres, giving them a headstart for school.

In a bid to boost attendance, the Taonga Early Childhood Centre is one of seven in South Auckland taking part in a pilot scheme.

"We taught them some techniques of how to think differently, think about what parents want. And get them to test small change ideas to see if they could make a difference," Jilly Tyler of the Ministry of Education told ONE News.

The seven centres worked together and came up with the ideas themselves. 

They include sending parents a reminder text that their child has an upcoming session, a free hot drink station for adults dropping off children, and welcoming and talking with families on arrival.

These simple services, in place since March, have worked.

"It has been amazing. These centres in Weymouth and Clendon have increased their participation from 70 per cent to 99 per cent. We've got children attending more regularly," Ms Tyler said.

It's about giving young children a strong foundation for primary school.

More than 96 per cent of children go to preschool centres, but the Government wants to increase this to 98 per cent.

The scheme is now being taken nationwide and it's hoped it will be as successful as in South Auckland.