ECE teachers welcome increase to paid parental leave
15 November 2017
Early childhood educators believe the increase in paid parental leave will be great for babies and their parents, and say the next step must be to improve the quality of early childhood education.
NZEI Te Riu Roa is a member of the 26 for Babies coalition, and NZEI President Lynda Stuart said many parents didn’t have the option of quality, local affordable early childhood education for their babies and toddlers, and not enough quality services were set up for young babies.
“More time at home together is better for babies and their parents, giving a gentler, less stressful start to life and parenting,” she said.
Early childhood teacher Allanah Clark has a toddler and is expecting her next baby in April. She will just miss the first increase in leave, but is very happy about the positive impact it will have for mums and their babies.
“As an ECE teacher, I know what a huge difference it will make for babies and their parents, being able to transition into a centre when they are a bit older. There’s a vast difference between an 18 week old baby and a six-month-old,” she said.
Mrs Clark said the next step in giving children a great start in life was to properly value and fund quality early childhood education.
“ECE teachers would really like to see better teacher-to-child ratios. One teacher for five under-twos of varying ages and needs doesn’t enable quality, in depth interactions. Smaller group sizes in centres would also make the experience less stressful and overwhelming for young children,” she said.