The New Zealand Herald – Monday, May 31, 2010
It is incredible that in 2010 we are still debating whether all teachers of our youngest and most vulnerable children should be qualified.
New Zealand is world renowned for the ability of our qualified early childhood teachers to enable learning pathways in early childhood and into school. It is a complex journey that engages teachers in both sectors.
The foundations of literacy, curiosity, identity and imagination are established in early childhood: qualified teachers implement a broad and rich curriculum that introduces babies and young children to interesting people, places, resources, information and challenges. This is skilled work.
Research has described “sustained shared thinking” as a key to quality teaching and learning in early childhood.
This shared thinking included noticing and recognising opportunities for learning based on knowledge about early development and education principles.
Qualified teachers in early childhood engage families in the learning, too, developing partnerships with families from diverse backgrounds and cultures and using sophisticated assessment practices that are accessible and inviting.
In addition, qualified teachers are caring and concerned for the wellbeing of families.
The nation cannot afford to undervalue the professional nurturing of enthusiasm for lifelong learning in any of our children.
Margaret Carr, Professor of Education, Waikato University