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BestStart backs calls for before school check review

BestStart, New Zealand’s largest early childhood education provider, is backing calls for a review of Before School Checks (B4SC).

Clair Edgeler, National Teaching Manager, says that while BestStart applauds the providers of B4SC, a revised, more collaborative programme could save personal and costly health and education issues in the future.

“BestStart thinks that a review of preschool health and wellbeing assessment is sensible. The benefit of a B4SC review could be improved wellbeing of our tamariki through a more integrated approach between health and education services.

“The early years are proven to be a strong indicator of health outcomes for children’s adult lives, and that’s why we need a new, strategic approach.”

“The timing of the B4SC checks is often viewed as too late to provide the intervention and support identified. Earlier checks might assist in the assessment of children needing additional support, with a positive impact on their learning and development.”

A review could also cover the provision of pre-school dental healthcare. “With the high rates of tooth decay, a review of how we address preschool dental care is desperately required,” says Edgeler.

“Initiatives such as the Toi Te Ora (BOP/Lakes DHB) Building Blocks programme, with its comprehensive focus on health and wellbeing resources for early learning, is an excellent initiative, raising children’s wellbeing by involving early childhood teachers and parents. This should be considered for a nationwide approach.

Edgeler believes that health and wellbeing focus in the early years needs to be more widespread. “At BestStart, our centre teams have committed to the goal of becoming 100% Healthy Heart awarded, meaning children attending our centres experience healthy menus and a focus on daily active movement. We believe initiatives such as these are important aspects for children’s wellbeing in early learning settings.”

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