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

Patience: Drive Safe

Be patient before passing is the AA's message for drivers this Labour weekend.

"People taking crazy risks to get past other vehicles is one of the most dangerous things on the road,” says AA spokesperson Dylan Thomsen.

“The weather is looking good for the long weekend so the roads will be busy. Unfortunately, that also increases the chances of people getting frustrated and trying a risky passing manoeuvre. When they get past, there will probably be more traffic up ahead anyway so it won’t get people there faster.” More>>

 
 

Parliament Today:

Employment Relations Bill: Govt Strains To Get Tea Break Law Through

The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says. More>>

ALSO:

Guns: Police Association Call To Arm Police Full Time

"The new minister gave his view, that Police do not need to be armed, while standing on the forecourt of parliament. The dark irony was that the interview followed immediately after breaking news of a gunman running amok in the Canadian parliament in Ottawa..." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Tokenism Of New Zealand's Role Against Islamic State

Our contribution against IS will be to send SAS forces to train the Iraqis? That’s like offering trainers to General Custer just as the 7th cavalry reached the Little Big Horn. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Shell And Todd Caught Drilling Without Approval

Multi-national oil company Shell’s New Zealand arm and local energy giant Todd Energy have breached the new law governing New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the Environmental Protection Authority says in an Oct. 10 document released by the Green Party. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Pharmac, Gough Whitlam And Sleater-Kinney

We’re not at the outset of these negotiations. The outset was six years ago, and negotiators were hoping to have some sort of ‘framework’ deal finished in time for the APEC meeting in a few weeks’ time. These ‘extreme’ positions are what we’ve reached near the intended end of the negotiations… More>>

ALSO:

PM Of Many Hats: Questions, No Answers On Whale Oil

Dr RUSSEL NORMAN (Co-Leader – Green) to the Prime Minister: How many times since November 2008 has he spoken with blogger Cameron Slater on the phone and how many times, if any, has he texted him?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): None in my capacity as Prime Minister. More>>

ALSO:

Aussie Investigation Dropped: Call On Minister McCully To Pursue The Case Of Balibo Five

West Papua Action is deeply concerned at the lack of any clear outcome from the Australian Federal Police inquiry into the 1975 deaths of the ‘Balibo Five’ including NZ journalist Gary Cunningham. More>>

ALSO:

'Feed The Kids' Bill: Metiria Turei To Lead Fight On Feeding Hungry Children

Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei is urging all political parties to support the Feed the Kids Bill which she inherited today from Mana leader Hone Harawira. More>>

ALSO:

Parliament Today: State Opening Of Parliament

The House sat at 10.30am on Tuesday before MPs were summoned to hear the Speech from the Throne in the Legislative Council Chamber. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news