ForNZEI Welcomes Recommendations to Improve Quality for Under-5s
The education sector union NZEI Te Riu Roa has welcomed recommendations made to the Government from two advisory groups about ways to improve the quality of early childhood education, particularly for children under two.
NZEI National Executive member and kindergarten head teacher Hayley Whitaker says NZEI strongly agrees with the recommendation that the Government regulate for 80% qualified teachers from 1 July 2013 but believes that should just be the first step to returning to a target, and funding for, 100% qualified teacher services.
Implementing and funding steps such as specialised professional development for teachers working with under-twos, regulating for low ratios and group sizes and working with health professionals would bring positive outcomes for children, she says. A review of home-based services, more research on what creates quality for Māori and Pasifika services and more active monitoring of at-risk services are all sensible and timely suggestions, she says.
“We know high quality early childhood education is a strong foundation for all future learning; poor quality services, especially for babies and toddlers can do harm. We need to make the investment in our youngest citizens so that they get the best start in life.”