NZ ECE shines at World Forum
Seven hundred early childhood professionals converged on Auckland’s shores to celebrate and share their knowledge on educating and supporting young children around the world.
The World Forum on Early Care and Education was held at the SKYCITY Convention Centre from 9-12 May. New Zealand Tertiary College was a major sponsor of the event, which saw delegates from over 60 nations gather to discuss an array of topics including children as peace builders in conflict situations, children impacted by HIV/AIDS, children’s rights, and indigenous people’s rights.
The opening ceremony was a sight to behold with a karanga and our national anthem resounding throughout the building, with the local Ngāti Whātua tribe hosting the proceedings. Photos of children from around the globe were shared while Louis Armstrong’s ‘What a Wonderful World’ played.
NZTC Chief Executive and World Forum Foundation Vice President Selena Fox shared, “In 2002, 15 years ago last month, I had the honour of standing here and welcoming everyone to the first World Forum in New Zealand. This evening, all these years later, I have the same honour.
“Over these years we have each, in our own way, journeyed for children. In our days ahead, lets learn, laugh and play a little, let’s energise each other and create memories that will sustain us, make us wiser, and more aware when we return to our work for children.”
The power of the World Forum was expressed by national representatives who shared their stories from previous forums, expressing their gratitude for the number of people they’d met with a shared passion and vision, and how the forum had supported their learning and network of people around the world.
Four days were gone in a blink as many plenaries, tours, exhibits and breakout sessions were held. New Zealand’s unique Māori culture was shared with delegates, including poi making and an impressive kapa haka performance by New Windsor primary school. The audience melted and were moved to tears by the passion and cultural pride demonstrated by children so young.
New Zealand’s culture was not the only one on display as a number of delegates shared a taste of their own culture. The Malaysian contingent dressed in traditional garb and sang ‘Rasa Sayang’ (a traditional folk song) as the audience got to their feet and clapped to the beat.
As the days filled with love, sharing and passion wrapped up, each delegate was encouraged to write down a commitment to young children for the years ahead. Each pledge was placed in the World Forum Commitment Bowl, where it became part of the mana created by over 7,000 commitments from around the world to date.