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Kids Health Pānui

This e-newsletter has information about child/tamariki health issues for Early Childhood Education Services staff across the Bay of Plenty and Lakes districts.  This newsletter is sent once per term.  If you would like to subscribe, fill in your details here.

24 February 2019

Kids Health Panui

This edition covers COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) information for early learning services, immunisation week, head lice, healthy active learning and the preschool public health nursing service.

COVID-19 (novel coronavirus): Information for Early Learning Services

Coronaviruses are a large and diverse family of viruses which includes the common cold, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). In January 2020, Chinese authorities confirmed a new type of coronavirus, known as COVID-19.

The Ministry of Education is working closely with the Ministry of Health to provide the most up to date information to the education sector, and caregivers and whānau of learners.

For further information visit:

Pandemic planning and response

A pandemic is an epidemic of infectious disease that spreads through human populations across a large region, for example multiple continents or even worldwide.

What is expected of education service providers?
Early Learning Services are expected to develop their own pandemic plans to protect students and staff. In most cases this will involve reviewing and updating existing emergency management plans, to include a pandemic section.

If you would like to review your pandemic plan, the Ministry of Education guidance will assist you through that process:

Review your pandemic plan

Immunisation Week, May 3-9

Immunisation Week is an opportunity for early learning services (ELS) to help communities stay well by encouraging staff and whanau to make sure they’re protected.

Toi Te Ora Public Health (Toi Te Ora) recommends immunisation as a safe and effective way of preventing a number of serious childhood diseases such as whooping cough, pneumococcal disease, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella and chicken pox.  To be fully immunised, children should receive their free vaccinations on time at 6 weeks, 3 months, 5 months, 15 months, 4 years, 11 years and 12 years old.

ELS staff also have an important role to play in reducing the spread of disease by ensuring they are immunised themselves. In some cases, such as a measles outbreak in a service, staff with no proven immunity to measles may be excluded from the service for up to two weeks.

Having the influenza (flu) vaccine every year is important too. Around one in four New Zealanders are infected with flu each year. Many people won’t feel sick at all, but can still pass it on to others. The flu vaccine is normally available in early April, and it’s important to be vaccinated well before the start of winter. Encourage all your staff to get the flu vaccine (some may be eligible for a free vaccine).

Practical tips to promote immunisation week

  • Promote immunisation to whanau via noticeboards, newsletters, facebook, etc.

  • Ensure your immunisation register is up to date

  • Set up alerts in your admin system to remind whanau when immunisations are due

  • Encourage staff to check their immunisation status

  • Pay for staff to receive the flu vaccine every year

Check out these links and resources:

Head lice - free treatment available from your doctor

Head lice are small insects that live on the human scalp. They are common and cause concern and frustration for whanau and children. Head lice are common in early learning services because they spread easily through close head-to-head contact with other people. Anyone can catch head lice; catching them has nothing to do with not being clean.

Dimethicone lotion is a very effective treatment that family doctors can prescribe. It is fully subsidised on prescription (you do not have to pay). Wet combing with conditioner and a fine tooth nit comb (without using chemicals) is also an effective way to find and remove head lice, if done properly.

To find out more about how to check for and get rid of head lice, check out this website.

Healthy Active Learning

Early learning services play an important role in creating healthy environments for children to learn in.  Toi Te Ora is excited to offer support for ELS through Healthy Active Learning (HAL) and free 5210 resources.

HAL is a new Government Wellbeing Budget initiative which aims to promote and improve healthy eating and physical activity in schools, kura and ELS across Aotearoa.  Children spend a significant proportion of their day in early learning services, often consuming about a third of their food there on some or all weekdays. 

Toi Te Ora now has two HAL advisors who will assist early learning services to develop healthy food and water-only (and plain milk) educational environments.  If you would like support for your service, contact Bridget Chiwawa (

5210 Resources for Early Learning Services



Hover over the resources to download and print pdf versions, or complete the order form and email to

Healthy smiles for the future for children in the Bay of Plenty

Each year Early Learning Services across the Bay of Plenty District Health Board (BOPDHB) region are invited to take part in an Oral Health Challenge. These are aligned to the World Oral Health Day theme and organised by the BOPDHB Oral Health Promotion Team. One of the challenges is in English and one is in Te Reo Māori.

These challenges look at the fun initiatives implemented by ELS to inspire tamariki and their whānau towards greater oral health awareness and practice.

In 2019 “The Tot Spot Early Learning Centre” and “Te Kohanga Reo o Maketū Kōkiri” came out on top in the Western Bay of Plenty. In the Eastern Bay of Plenty it was ‘Little Moments Homebased Childcare” and “Te Kiriwera Hana kohanga Reo.”

World Oral Health Day is held every year on the 20 March. The theme is “Say Ahh…Unite for Mouth Health” and “E Whakahāmama … Whakakotahi mō te Oranga-ā-Waha.” 

If you would like more information about the 2020 challenges in the Western Bay of Plenty (from Katikati to Maketu) please contact either Nicole D’Cruz on 027 212 0475 or Zirsha Wharemate on 027 584 2137.

Bay of Plenty and Lakes Oral Health Support

Bay of Plenty and Lakes DHB Oral Health Promoters also provide ELSs with support through:

  • oral health training for your staff and parents information on pre-school dental enrolment or appointments online or other oral health and healthy eating resources

Visit their websites for more information:


Preschool public health nursing service

For the Bay of Plenty District

In the Bay of Plenty, ECE services have a Preschool Public Health Nurse (PPHN) available for you to access. We work with children and their families around a wide range of health issues such as behavioural, toileting, developmental and social issues.

We also help children whose needs are not being met by other services, or who need reconnecting with appropriate services.

You can contact your Preschool Public Health Nurse at Community Health 4 Kids on (07) 577 3383 for Tauranga or (07) 306 0944 in Whakatāne. You can also make a referral directly to

For further information on this service in the Bay of Plenty please refer to the blue Preschool Public Health Nurse Service Folder in your preschool centre.

For the Lakes district

A registered nurse is happy to take calls and queries regarding health concerns and point preschool teachers in the right direction if she is unable to assist you herself. The phone number for the Preschool Public Health Nurse in Rotorua is 0800 MYNURSE.

You can also contact the Well Child Nurses at Rotorua and Taupō Plunket, Tipu Ora in Rotorua and Tuwharetoa Health Services in Taupō/Turangi.

The aim of the Kids' Health Pānui e-newsletter is to provide information about child/tamariki health issues to staff of Early Childhood Education Services (ECE Services) across the Bay of Plenty and Lakes districts. This health information can then be passed on to parents and whānau via your own ECE Service newsletters.

Kids' Health Pānui is sent to ECE Services once per term and is brought to you by Toi Te Ora Public Health. For more information about our service visit our website, Facebook or Twitter.

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Last modified: 07 Oct 2019
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