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Does this election spell the end of Playcentre?

Press release from Parent.org
for immediate release
15/9/05

Does this election spell the end of Playcentre?

Labour and National candidates got a well deserved grilling when they met with the Carterton Playcentre members recently.

Both parties are running "family" policies that discourage parents from joining groups like Playcentre. Playcentres not only provide an Early Childhood Education environment, but are an irreplaceable source of skills and support for young parents. Both parties would rather see children left with professionals and have our nation's parents remain skill-less and feeling surplus to their children's growth and development. The parents of Carterton Playcentre were quick to explain to the candidates how damaging both parties policies would be to institutes such as Playcentre.

Parenting lobby group, Parent.org, is equally concerned with the initiatives, which they view as an employment policy rather than a family policy.

"When parents do a good job our children engage with education, grow up with strong values and self esteem, become great workers and entrepreneurs and perpetuate the cycle," said Parent.org's spokesperson, Steve Gore. "Parents are key to the fantastic future but the lock has got pretty rusty over the last decade or two as parents have been overlooked and they have watched other sectors of society get resourced to succeed while more and more ambulances are being parked at the bottom of the parenting cliff."

"One cannot but be astounded by the shortsighted stupidity and outright arrogance of both our senior parties with these policies." said Parent.org's spokesperson, Steve Gore. "How can they claim to value families when both parties' key family policy involves the families spending as much time apart as the party can afford?"

The organisation fears that policies like this, which diminish what little value remains in the parenting environment, will damage the country in many far reaching ways.

"If parents are told to back off and leave raising children to the experts, we are in for a rough time and we'd better recruit more police and build more prisons. Early childhood care is brief and well meaning but no replacement for years of dedicated, skilled parenting. There is countless tales of children getting into trouble because their parents, for whatever reason, haven't put the time into them." said Mr. Gore, "and here we have both parties putting in place measures to perpetuate this."

The group is also concerned about the message that these initiatives send to young adults considering having kids. While the politicians might think they are offering a carrot, what they are in fact telling our young adults is to stay in the workforce. They are saying that having children will make you poor and that you will be encouraged to return to work and ignore your children - why bother having children if someone else is going to raise them?

"Our population is skewed towards the elderly, and our low birth rate is exacerbating that," said Mr. Gore. "If we don't start having more babies and raising them well we are going to have an almighty mess on our hands. We can't run an economy without a fresh supply of workers and our politicians are pouring out messages that clearly announce how little they value parents."

The group believes that Playcentre is a perfect model for a success focused parenting environment. The group is an internal source of skills and support for parents. Early Childhood Education or care does little to enhance parenting. Any switched on government would see that having a community of highly skilled, dedicated and connected parents is preferable to having one qualified ECE teacher.

The group believes that we simply have to stop looking on parents as a problem and start seeing them for the opportunity they hold. If we created an environment for our parents that replicated the business, sports, art or cultural environments, where success is celebrated, heroes are created, and resources are put into constantly striving to do better we would create enduring economic prosperity and social harmony. This vision was sadly missing from this election.

ENDS

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