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NZEI: Investment in quality in early years will boost equity

27 January 2014

Labour's pledge to invest more in children's earliest years will increase their opportunities for success at school and in life, as well as addressing child poverty, NZEI Te Riu Roa says.

NZEI Te Riu Roa President Judith Nowotarski, who is a senior kindergarten teacher, says research clearly shows that quality support for children and their families in the early years has the best "payback" of any education and social investment.

"NZEI welcomes more direct financial support to families so that parents can chose to spend more time bonding with their babies and toddlers and have less financial anxiety," she says. "We have been strong supporters of increasing paid parental leave, because every teacher knows that parents are children's first teachers and the most important influencers of their children's success in life."

"Extending free ECE from 20 hours a week to 25 hours a week will also assist families. We are very pleased that Labour has committed to reinstating the policy of 100 percent qualified staff in all teacher-led services. This is an important acknowledgement that our under-5s deserve high quality education."

She says public investment in community-based, not-for-profit ECE centres in areas of high need was also a sensible investment of taxpayer dollars.

“Research shows that for every dollar spent on high quality ECE, more than $10 is saved in spending in the justice, social welfare and health systems later in life.”

She called for swift implementation of the 100% qualified teacher target and associated funding, and for a comprehensive approach to quality teaching and leadership in ECE from all policy-makers.

ENDS

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