Significant changes to Home Based Early Childhood Services
Children and families will miss out under changes to the home based early childhood sector announced by Education Minister Chris Hipkins today.
Mr Hipkins announced today the move towards a Level 4 Early Childhood Education Certificate becoming the minimum qualification for home based Educators citing: “Evidence suggests that an ECE qualification supports Educators to provide children with stimulating, warm and support early learning experiences.”
“While HELO supports the Government’s intent to lift the quality of care that is provided within the home based sector, we don’t agree with the assumption that qualifications are the only measure of quality. For a number of reasons a large number of current Educators will be unable to gain a Level 4 qualification but they are currently providing quality, authentic education for the children in their care.
“The Minister states that they expect a number of care situations will revert to ‘informal arrangements’ which means that there will be no educational oversight by a qualified teacher. This will affect both the wellbeing of a number of children/whānau in lower socio-economic areas of our country and families with English as a second language.
“It will also affect parents ability to choose the early childhood service that best and most appropriately fits their needs, particularly for those who choose an Au Pair, or a family member who gives a grounding in their child’s first language and culture”, Ms Overton-Stuart says.
Following last year’s home based review, Mr Hipkins today also announced that “standard” rated services (those with some unqualified Educators) will not receive a 1.6% funding increase on March 1. This is despite all home based services having fully qualified and registered Early Childhood teachers who oversee Educators.
This is also despite the increase being given to all centre-based services, including those on probationary licences.
The Government says more than two thirds (70 per cent) of home based Educators have no formal qualification.
Home Early Learning Organisation (HELO) spokesperson Raewyn Overton-Stuart says it is the first cost adjustment for the sector for nearly five years, which will now not be received by all services.
“It’s totally inequitable that so many services will miss out, especially as all other sectors in Early Childhood received the increase no matter what they are “rated”. This includes Childcare Centres who are on a probationary licence or on a one or two year ERO cycle due to concerns about their quality. Our members have three and four year ERO cycles, which shows ERO believes they are providing quality outcomes for children, all have had significant cost increase over the past five years; yet will not receive this cost adjustment.”
Government funding to home based providers is used to employ registered Early Childhood teachers, provide educational resources and support, Playgroups and outings, and ensuring Educators and the education and care provided is compliant with all the Ministry of Education’s regulations.
“These processes are there to ensure children are cared for in safe, nurturing environments. Without Government funding, the cost to parents would increase substantially. For many parents, it would become too expensive.”