Hundreds of early childhood educators came together to plan how to best serve the needs of special needs students from an early age.

The Ministry of Education's director of education for Bay of Plenty-Waiariki, Ezra Schuster, said the aim of the Learning Support Symposium on Saturday was to share ideas.

"It's the third early learning symposium we've had. Today is about bringing in early childhood educators from across the Bay, connecting and sharing processes and finding out how they can get better outcomes for children.

"The theme is around learning support for special needs children. Families do some amazing work but we can always do better."


Throughout the day the roughly 300 attendees heard from experts and keynote speakers on behaviour support, early intervention services and how to support young children with autism spectrum disorders.

The keynote speaker was paediatrician Dr Johan Morreau, who spoke about the importance of the first 1000 days of a child's life.

Schuster said special needs learning support was a key focus currently.

"Our region has been piloting a new way of working with learning support needs. We're keen to spread the good practices," he said.

"What we want to get out of it is to have a more connected community."

Teachers from as far away as Hamilton and Tokoroa attended the day-long symposium.

Schuster said the symposium was free so there were no barriers to attend.

"[The day was] specifically focused on how we can all work together to better support our children with special learning needs, why? Because they are a group of children who sometimes miss out."