ERIC Number: ED341506
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Sep
Reference Count: 0
A "Purple People-Eater" or Quality Assurance Mechanism? The 1989/90 Early Childhood Centre Charter Requirements.
The New Zealand early childhood center charter is a contract between the Ministry of Education and an individual center. The charter was introduced with the 1989 publication of the "Early Childhood Management Handbook." It was thought to be the key to improving quality in services, since it outlined official center policies, philosophies, and characteristics. However, the handbook, which was actually a purple folder containing the charter guidelines, came to be known as the "purple people-eater." This paper examines the pros and cons of the handbook's and charter's introduction through a study of the experiences of different early childhood centers, and the perceptions of staff, management, and parents. Findings from a research project called "Quality in Early Education and Care: A Study of Charter Development Processes and Outcomes," which analyzed information from 10 early childhood centers (4 kindergartens, 4 child care centers, and 2 play center) are reported. Discussion covers the confusion over center conformity; decision-making structures; consultation with parents and other groups; relations between staff, management, and parents; and social and philosophical challenges. Issues related to external support, costs, and accountability are also discussed. Several problems experienced in the charter development are summarized. For full benefit, it is concluded, centers need more time, less pressure, more advisory and resource support, and greater freedom to define "high quality" and ways to achieve it. Contains 23 references. (LB)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: New Zealand; Play Centers
Note: Paper presented at the Early Childhood Convention (5th, Dunedin, New Zealand, September 8-12, 1991). For related papers, see PS 020 300-302 and PS 020 307.