Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Early Childhood Education Brings Uncertain Benefits


Media Release – Early Childhood Education Brings Social Drawbacks, Uncertain Benefits

November 22, 2012

Palmerston North, NZ – Under the new Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill, which is now being considered by a select committee, beneficiaries will be compelled to send their preschool children to early childhood education (ECE) for at least 15 hours per week. While Minister for Social Development Paula Bennett claims that this will ensure that disadvantaged children get the best possible start on life, the Home Education Foundation (HEF) of New Zealand cites research linking ECE with a whole spectrum of sociopolitical problems.

According to research by Canadian developmental psychologist Dr Gordon Neufeld, co-author of the book Hold On to Your Children: Why Parents Matter, children need at least six years to bond with their parents in a nurturing, play-rich environment before being sent to school. Parents who send their children to out-of-home care before the child has fully bonded with the parents will force their child to satisfy emotional needs by bonding with peers or caregivers. These bonds are soon broken when the peers or caregivers move out of the child’s life, resulting in insecure children suffering from what Dr Neufeld calls “attachment hunger”.

Anti-social behaviour is strongly associated with ECE attendance. In one of the most rigorous studies available, the US National Institute of Child Health and Human Development found a strong link between long hours of non-maternal care and behavioural problems such as aggression, demanding behaviour, cruelty, fighting, and so on, even in children coming from usually privileged backgrounds.

In a Canadian study published this year, researchers from the University of Montreal and the Sainte-Justine Hospital Research Centre said that children who attend daycare are more likely to become obese between the ages of 4 and 10.

Head researcher Dr Marie-Claude Geoffrey stated, “We found that children whose primary care arrangement between 1.5 and 4 years was in daycare-center or with an extended family member were around 50 per cent more likely to be overweight or obese between the ages of 4-10 years compared to those cared for at home by their parents.”

But what about all the research showing that preschool can be beneficial? New Zealand’s Dr Sarah-Eve Farquar, author of the 2008 paper “Assessing the evidence on early childhood education/childcare” says, “In September 2002 the government released a 10 year plan for ECE and the New Zealand Council for Educational Research Competent Children, Competent Learners study was drawn on to justify the values underpinning the plan and ECE policy. But the study had limited findings relating to ECE effects and quite major methodological problems.”

By contrast, says Dr Farquar, “The best evidence points to parents/family having a far greater impact than the childcare/ECE experience on children’s developmental outcomes.”

Problems with the Competent Children, Competent Learners study include the superficiality of the research conducted on the children, plus the fact that the overwhelming majority of the children studied came from well-to-do Pakeha families. “Due to the very small number of A’oga Amata in the study and the absence of other Pacific Island language nests and Kohanga Reo no conclusions should be drawn about these service types or about ECE effects on Maori and Pacific children,” says Dr Farquar.

She goes on to cite a number of New Zealand and international studies, including a more rigorous study conducted in Christchurch in 1994. While this study did find very small detectable increases in ability and achievement scores among ECE attendees, the researches stated that “the relatively small effect sizes found and the uncertainties of the evidence suggest it would be unwise to aggressively promote the view that early education of the type provided to this cohort makes an important contribution to subsequent academic achievement. At best any benefits found in this study are small and it is possible that even these benefits may be due to uncontrolled factors rather than the benefits of early education.

After citing other reputable international studies, Dr Farquar concluded, “The best evidence does not show that good quality ECE is better necessarily than care within the family or has a greater impact on children’s achievement and other outcomes…It may be that if unbiased information on potential risks and the size of benefits is given to parents in a timely manner, then parents can make more informed choices and manage risks to better advantage their child’s development.”

More information on the bill can be found at www.hef.org.nz.

About the Home Education Foundation

The Home Education Foundation has been informing parents for 27 years about the fantastic opportunity to de-institutionalise our sons and daughters and to embrace the spiritual, intellectual and academic freedom that is ours for the taking. Through conferences, journals, newsletters and all kinds of personal communications, we explain the vision of handcrafting each child into a unique individual, complete with virtuous character, a hunger for service to others, academic acumen and a strong work ethic. For more information, please visit www.hef.org.nz or more specifically hef.org.nz/2012/make-a-submission-reject-compulsory-early-education-for-3-year-olds/

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell:
On The Eleanor Catton Rumpus

If anyone was in doubt about the accuracy of the comments made in India by Eleanor Catton, the reaction from some quarters here at home has gone a long way to proving her point.

By ‘some quarters’, I mean (a) RadioLive host Sean Plunket who called Catton a “traitor” and (b) Prime Minister John Key who dismissed her views as being those of a typical Green Party supporter, which is apparently almost as bad.

In context, Catton seemed to be talking about the mixed feelings she felt after what she had created suddenly becoming a kind of public property claimed by the entire country and its leaders. That must feel weird at any time, in any place. Catton evidently finds it particularly alienating when the government of the day has shown little interest in the arts beyond their promotional/economic value. More>>

 

More Rent Assistance, Less State-Owned Housing: John Key Speech - Next Steps In Social Housing

"We are going to ensure that more people get into social housing over the next three years, whether that is run by Housing New Zealand or a community provider. The social housing budget provides for around 62,000 income-related rent subsidies a year. We are committed to increasing that to around 65,000 subsidies by 2017/18, which will cost an extra $40 million a year." More>>

ALSO:

The Future Of Work: Andrew Little - State Of The Nation 2015

In 2005 when I led the EPMU we worked together with Air New Zealand to find a way to keep engineering jobs that were heading overseas. A lot of these workers were people I’d known for years and they were facing not just losing their jobs but not being able to find the kind of work they do without going overseas. A lot of people were facing personal and financial upheaval.... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Sabin Case, The Pressures On Greece And (Songs About) Coyotes

Mike Sabin is a National MP, and the current chairman of Parliament’s law and order committee. Yet reportedly, he is being investigated by the Police over an assault complaint... However, the PM will not comment on any aspect of the story. More>>

ALSO:

Houses, ISIS, King (& Catton): PM Post-Cabinet Press Conference

The Prime Minister met with reporters to discuss: • Social housing, the Auckland housing market • The prospect of joining international forces to combat ISIS • David Bain’s compensation • The lowering of the flag for the King of Saudi Arabia's death ... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Tomorrow’s Speeches By John Key And Andrew Little

The Key government has already kicked off the political year on a stridently ideological note, with Environment Minister Nick Smith choosing to lay all manner of sins at the door of the RMA. Tomorrow, the government will wheeling out its best salesman – Prime Minister John Key – to sell its plans for state housing… . More>>

ALSO:

Transport: Auckland Looks To Light Rail

The Board of Auckland Transport has called for an investigation into a light rail network, which could relieve traffic congestion on some of the region’s busiest roads. This stems from work in 2012 (the City Centre Future Access study) which responded to a government request to develop a robust and achievable solution for access to the CBD. More>>

ALSO:

RMA: Smith's Claims Don't Match Evidence - Greens

The Motu group’s research into the impacts of planning rules looked at the costs related to housing development but not the benefits of environmental protections and does not recommend significant changes to the RMA to reduce the cost of new house builds. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news