Simon Watt chooses to send his daughter Charlotte, 3, to kindergarten because it is a pre-school option that works for his family, and he fears the Heretaunga Kindergarten Association's recent restructure proposal will take that choice away.

Charlotte attends Te Mata Kindergarten, which is one of the few kindergartens within the association to still run two sessions a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

The proposal for Te Mata Kindergarten was to offer one consecutive session six hours a day, five days a week, and reduce staffing from one head teacher and three full-time teachers, to a head teacher, two full-time teachers, and two part-time positions, he said.

Currently Te Mata Kindergarten operates two sessions five days a week: one in the morning for the 4-year-old children from 8.15am to 12.30pm and Charlotte attends afternoon sessions for 3-year-olds from 1pm to 3pm.


"That was the traditional kindergarten model and we choose to send our child there because we support this model," Mr Watt said.

"Research shows these hours are better for children and this model is well supported at Te Mata where there are waiting lists.

"Offering 30 hours a week and having parents choose the hours that their children attend - sorry that's daycare.

"We are not anti-daycare, it's just people want to have the choice."

Mr Watt understood that the funding pressures and competition with other Early Childhood Education providers were having an effect, but was unsettled by the fact the proposed changes were financially-driven.

"I saw no reference in the proposal as to what hours were best for the children educationally. Our teachers are incredible, and I would think that they 100 per cent support the current model."

In terms of the financial situation, he said Te Mata Kindergarten was holding its own well.

"We have a very successful kindergarten with a good reputation and as far as we are aware it's profitable.


"We raised $6500 at a recent fundraiser and there's plenty of scope to do more of that. Also for people to contribute more in donations if they could afford it to maintain what we have."

He also questioned the time frame for the consultation, which started with the unions and teachers in February and was due to end on March 21, and asked why the wider community had not been consulted.

"We only found out what was in the proposal about a week ago. We want time to come up with our own proposals, and for the consultation period to be extended.

"Whatever they are suggesting, I struggle to see how it's better than what we have already got."