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Government ignoring own review on ECE for under-2s

15th April 2011

Government ignoring own review on ECE for under-2s

The education sector union NZEI Te Riu Roa says it’s a pity the government isn’t listening to its own commissioned research on early childhood education for under 2s.

A Ministry of Education-commissioned literature review on quality early childhood education for under two year olds has been released. It recognises the importance of low ratios of teachers to children, specialist training and qualified teachers for toddlers and babies.

It comes hard on the heels of the Children’s Commissioner’s report which had very similar findings.

NZEI National Executive member Hayley Whitaker says it provides yet more evidence that infants and toddlers need more than just a babysitting service.

“Good ECE for very young children includes qualified teachers, teacher-child ratios of 1:3, small group sizes, adequate space and close relationships between parents and teachers.”

“It is frustrating to see the Ministry of Education’s own review lining up with all that, while the government goes about doing all it can to devalue and undermine it” she says.

In the past year funding has been cut to more than 2000 early childhood services, affecting 93,000 children, the government has abandoned the target for having 100 percent fully qualified teachers and professional development for early childhood teachers has been cut. Recent licensing changes also mean that services can potentially have as many as 75 children under 2 at any one time.

“We know the government does not want to listen to the voice of parents, early childhood teachers and other experts, but it would be nice to think it might listen to the advice coming from its own Ministry on the issues,” says Ms Whitaker.

ENDS

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