What to do with the kids for today's teachers' strike

parenting 15/08/2018

A country-wide teachers strike will close the majority of primary and intermediate schools on Wednesday, displacing more than 400,000 children whose parents will need to find alternative supervision for the day.

For the first time in 24 years, an estimated 29,000 educators will walk off the job in demand of better pay and resources.

Some after school care programmes will extend their services after stalled pay talks between the teachers' union, Educational Institute, and the Education Ministry failed to reach a resolution.

Managing director Paul Jamieson of Kelly Club New Zealand told Radio NZ that most of the schools it worked with asked for programmes to be provided but others had asked it not to.

"There is the odd programme that has said they would like us to support the teachers and therefore perhaps not run a programme, which is an interesting way to look at it because that is potentially affecting their parent community," he said.

Local businesses are taking advantage of the school closure by offering strike day specials, entertainment and activities.

It is understood that most schools which already offer before and after school care will extend their hours to relief parents during the day. Some schools will have teachers available to supervise who are not a part of the union. 

Community groups, zoos and play centres are providing parents discounts and have added extra services to minimise the impact of the day away from the classroom.

A Wellington Zoo representative said it is anticipating an increase in visitors during the strike action which falls on 'Winter Wednesday', with discounted entry for adults and children already on offer.

The wildlife park also put a programme in place, similar to their holiday care service, for a maximum of 30 children which was snapped up by parents straight away.

In Auckland, indoor trampoline park JUMP will give kids a second hour for half price when bookings are made online.

St Patrick's Church in Panmure has a full-day programme running to help out children at the local Catholic school.

Willowbank Wildlife Reserve in Christchurch is also offering free entry for children duuring the strike.

So if you're at a loose end for how to keep the kids entertained today, might pay to keep an eye out for deals happening across the country.