23 August 2012
Long term planning and investment needed for vulnerable children
NZEI Te Riu Roa says it welcomes the Government’s acknowledgement that it needs to provide better intervention for young vulnerable children.
NZEI early childhood education spokesperson, Judith Nowotarski says young vulnerable children, especially those from families who are suffering from financial strain, are often the biggest victims of government policy and cost-cutting decisions.
“Early intervention to provide vulnerable children with a fair chance of success needs long term solutions and investment, and cross-political party support.”
She says it is a great pity that previous attempts to do this have been thwarted by short term expedient decisions by Government.
She says that if the Government is serious about targeting vulnerable children it will need to commit to long term planning and substantial and ongoing investment.
The Government abandoned an earlier plan, Pathways to the Future: Ngā Huarahi Arataki - A 10-Year Early Childhood Education Strategic Plan (2002 – 2012) with four years left to go, leading to the erosion of quality education for our youngest children.
“Another successful initiative which was ignored, even when proved to be successful, was the pilot “Parent Support and Development” (PSD) project. This provided community hubs for families and strengthened connections between education, health and welfare services for families.”
The Minister of Education’s ECE Taskforce Report last year made recommendations around integrated support services across health, welfare and education which supports the same ideas as the PSD project.
Judith Nowotarski says although we have gone backwards in recent years she is hopeful that the Government White Paper for Vulnerable Children due to be released in October will provide a way forward, at least in part.
A commitment to 100 percent qualified teachers in early childhood education centres is shown to be one of the most important factors for quality early childhood education.
She says early childhood education centres are the logical hub for setting up integrated services because they are places where parents have built trusting relationships and where they feel most supported and comfortable.