Every child deserves that best start – Children’s Day, Sunday, 3 March 2014

Children’s Day on Sunday 3rd March is an opportunity to focus on what is best for kids, and to take a look at how NZEI’s campaign to give every child the best start in life is going.
This Children’s Day NZEI will launch a series of videos looking at what makes great quality in early childhood education. Sign up to our Facebook group to get a sneak preview!

NZEI has welcomed Labour’s recent announcement that it would extend 20 hours free ECE to 25 hours for 3 and 4 year olds, and restore the 100% qualified and registered teacher target and associated funding as part of its package of investments in our youngest children – see www.labour.org.nz/beststart for details. This is one of the core aims of our campaign.

Background

NZEI’s five-year campaign to invest in early childhood education and give every child the best start in life was launched last year on Children’s Day, March 2nd 2013.NZEI Te Riu Roa National President Judith Nowotarski says the campaign sets goals for improving quality in early childhood services. She says government funding cuts to Early Childhood Education (ECE) since 2010 have begun to both erode quality and increase costs to parents.

“The government’s own figures show that its goal of 98 percent participation in ECE by 2016 is unlikely to be achieved at the current rate of increase.

Growth in ECE enrolments slowed last year to its lowest rate since before the introduction of 20 Hours ECE in 2007, and this is likely to be directly linked to the increased costs of ECE to families, she says. The Government has frozen funding to mainstream ECE services for several years, an effective cut to their budgets given inflation.

“We think it’s vitally important that the New Zealand community knows what quality early childhood education looks like and how important it is to our children and our wider community.

She says government cuts are a particularly short-sighted approach when research has shown that for every dollar invested in early childhood education, up to $17 is saved in welfare and justice system costs in later life.

“Early Childhood Education is the foundation for good social and communication skills, emotional wellbeing and a love of learning that children will carry through their lives.

“It is a great cause for concern that earlier gains such as a goal of having 100% qualified teachers in ECE centres have been dropped and centre sizes have been allowed to balloon out to 150 children.

“Quality ECE is crucial for all children but is particularly important for those children who come from low socio-economic backgrounds.”

NZEI says research shows that “five star” high quality ECE is associated with:

  • 100 percent qualified teachers
  • Good child to adult ratios
  • Small group sizes
  • Positive relationships
  • A warm and loving learning environment

“We need the Government to return to the 100% qualified teacher target and invest more money in the next Budget to this vital part of a child’s education.”

The All Kids Deserve the Best Start campaign was launched at the Carter Observatory in a “Reach for the Stars” day on Sunday, 3 March, 2013.

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