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Criitical Importance Of Early Childhood Education

Criitical Importance Of Early Childhood Education

The Families Commission report, ‘Healthy families, young minds and developing brains’ provides more evidence of the critical importance of ongoing investment in high quality early childhood education.

Te Tari Puna Ora o Aotearoa / NZ Childcare Association Chief Executive Nancy Bell said the report’s findings demonstrate that all children benefit from high quality ECE, “there is strong evidence in the report that ECE is beneficial, especially for children in families under stress. For these children, high quality ECE can help mediate the disadvantages they face.” 

Nancy explains that ECE must be of high quality to provide the most benefits, “high quality ECE means quality interactions and trust between caregivers and for children in teacher-lead settings, this requires investment in teacher qualifications and favourable teacher-child ratios. These enable teachers to respond effectively to children's individual needs and interests.”

However, data in the report shows that despite increasing participation in ECE, many of the children who would benefit most are still not taking part, “20 hours free ECE has improved participation, but there is a need for investment in the areas with low-participation. This is critical if we are going to ensure that every child has the best start in life.”

“The final recommendations in the report make good sense. Our Association strongly agrees with the report’s recommendation to ‘create access to high quality ECE for as much of the population as possible’ but this will require ongoing investment and monitoring to ensure that quality of provision is not compromised.”

The findings validate the importance of ECE, “The study's value is that it brings together two emerging bodies of knowledge about early development and the outcomes of ECE programmes, relating these back to social policy. This is a discussion that we must have if we value our children and their future.”



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