Federated Farmers Rural Education spokesperson Andrew Maclean urges people to take part in the Ministry of Education's consultation on the Early Learning Strategic Plan before it closes on March 15.

You cannot be part of the conversation if you are not at the table.

I want to encourage as many of the Feds members here in the Rotorua and Taupo area as possible, and even non-members to take part in the Ministry of Education's consultation on He Taonga te Tamaiti, the draft Strategic Plan for Early Learning - the strategic plan for early learning 2019-29.

Consultation closes on March 15.

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The Ministry wants to and needs to hear from a lot of you, especially if you are rural based – we are often a sector that can feel left out of the conversation.

Read more from Federated Farmers here.

That can be for different reasons but at a glance I believe a lot of you are in the same process as your urban counterparts – running from pay check to pay check with little time to stop and see what huge legislative changes are happening in your surrounds.

Early childhood education is vital to a rural community.

Farmers and their families need early learning service providers to be well resourced and ethically run to give rural children their best possible starts in life.

The consultation document writers say that the draft plan begins from the belief that every child is valued, has potential for growth and has enduring connections to their heritage.

Most well thinking adults would back this very aspirational statement.

The draft plan has five goals which set out the ministry's policy intentions for the next decade: quality is raised for children by improving regulated standards; the early learning system continues to innovate, learn and improve; every child is empowered through timely access to the resources they need to thrive; planning ensures that provision is valued, sufficient and diverse and investment in the workforce supports excellence in teaching and learning in all services.

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The public need to be engaged with this consultation and provide their real life examples about how changes to how education is delivered in a rural context will impact communities.

Your experiences are important to share. What you want to see happen needs to be known.

The ministry is not a mind reader. If you want your community to be noticed, you need to make a submission.