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Calling For Best Interests Of Young Children

New Zealand Playcentre Federation

Media Release – 1 June 2008


Playcentre demands policy which is in the best interests of infants and young children

Delegates at the Diamond Jubilee conference of the New Zealand Playcentre Federation this weekend want government to put children and parent/child relationships at the forefront of their education policy.

“It is completely hollow for the government to claim that they support Playcentre as a quality early education provider and then put all their energy into services which aim to separate children from their parents for longer and longer periods” said Playcentre President, Marion Pilkington.

“Research is very clear that what is best for infants and young children is to spend most of their time with a parent or whānau member who loves them and is responsive to them, with regular short amounts of time in wider community settings.”

Keynote speaker at the conference, Dr Sarah Farquhar, described the rigorous recent international research which shows very little extra benefit from children attending more than 2 ½ hour sessions in group education, and the harm that can be caused to health and parent/child bonding from being separated for long periods each day or at too young an age. Programmes that provide learning for parents were found to be the most effective.

“Playcentre provides a service which the community is crying out for” said Mrs Pilkington. At Playcentre we role model to young parents how to care for their babies. Our SPACE programme is an innovative example of this, but really it's what we have been doing in communities for countless families for over 60 years. We believe that parents who have bonded with their babies, and who have learned positive ways of interacting with them,are less likely to abuse their children.”

“We understand that some parents need to use childcare for longer days than they might wish, and this should be as safe and nurturing as possible. But we want the government to play fair, so parents can choose between the education type that is right for their families, by promoting and funding parent-led services equally with other centre types”



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