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Good childhood ed policy is not child's play

Good early childhood education policy is not child's play

The Early Childhood Council's newly released 'Putting Children First' report shows that designing early childhood education (ECE) policy is not child's play, says Education Forum policy advisor Norman LaRocque.

The report, prepared by independent research organisation the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research, makes a significant contribution to current debates over ECE policy by highlighting the growth and diversity in ECE provision since the early 1990s and outlining a number of recommendations for improving its funding and regulation.

The report adds another voice to the chorus of criticism that has greeted the '20 free hours' policy, which discriminates against the large number of parents who choose to entrust their children to ECE centres that do not conform to the government's rigid, anti-private sector ideology, Mr LaRocque said.

"The Early Childhood Council is to be commended for putting forward a positive vision for the ECE sector that aims to lift quality and ensure broad access for parents from all walks of life.

"The report's policy prescription of effective regulation, non-discriminatory funding and targeted assistance is exactly what the sector needs to prosper and ensure that parents have a wide range of high quality ECE services available," Mr LaRocque said.

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