Friday, March 23, 2012

Use of childcare growing

This is an article in the Waikato Times by Louise Risk of Fairfax NZ News.


Hamilton childcare experts say it is no surprise a third of Kiwi babies are regularly in non-parental care, but they warn these arrangements should be judged on a case-by-case basis.
The finding, released today, was from Now We Are Born, the second report from Auckland University's Growing Up in New Zealand study. 

Growing Up in New Zealand follows 7000 children, about 2000 of whom are from the greater Waikato, from before they were born until they turn 21. Now We Are Born reflected life when the children were nine months old. At that age, 35 per cent of the children were in regular, non-parental childcare for an average of 23 hours per week.
In 87 per cent of the cases the mothers said their study or work commitments were the main reason for the care arrangement. 

The researchers gathered extra information from the 1732 families where the child was in care for eight or more hours per week, and found the average duration of care for that group jumped to 28 hours per week. Daycare centres were the care provider of choice for 36 per cent of families, followed closely by grandparents at 32 per cent. New Zealand European mothers were more likely to use daycare centres than their Maori, Pacific Island and Asian counterparts, with the order reversed when grandparents were the main carer.

Hamilton-based associate director of the study Polly Atatoa Carr said that the findings would help shape national policies over time. Early childhood care was a "really important variable" as it would affect everything from the children's cultural identities to their health, she said. 

Cathy Holland, chief executive of Parentline, a Hamilton child advocacy agency that works with at-risk children, said the rate of non-parental care was not surprising, given the economic environment. Ms Holland said her grandson went to daycare to allow his parents to work, and the experience had been positive."I would have a different opinion if I saw [daycare was] not for his benefit." 

Professor Margaret Carr of Waikato University's Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research said many studies were being carried out on the impact of non-parental childcare.
She said it was increasingly common for babies to be in non-parental care and child/carer ratios and space were important when choosing a carer. 

Craig Merritt and Laurene Williams, whose son Cadell is part of the Leading Light pilot  group, said Cadell's Steiner daycare was like "a second home" for him. Ms Williams said they chose the Steiner daycare for Cadell because her good friend was running it.
"We wanted him to socialise with a larger group of children than you get with in-home care," she said. "He spends a day a week with my mum as well." 

For more of the key findings from the Now We Are Born see page B1 in tomorrow's Waikato Times or go to
- © Fairfax NZ News

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Taking action to raise quality in early childhood education


Hon Hekia Parata - Press Release -  10 February, 2012

 Education Minister Hekia Parata has announced the establishment of two working groups to improve quality early childhood education for young children.

“We are taking action to make sure all early childhood education services are of the highest possible quality,” says Ms Parata.

“The early years of children’s lives are crucial for learning and development, and every single one of our children deserves the best education they can get.

“Some services are of very good quality but to make sure quality is improved throughout all services in New Zealand, we need the experience of experts within the sector to help us get this right.”
Ms Parata says the independent ECE Taskforce report An Agenda for Amazing Children, released in June 2011, emphasised the absolute need for all early childhood education to be of a consistent high quality.

“Children need this and parents and whanau need this. Parents told us during consultation that they want to know their children are being educated and cared for in the best possible environment. They want stronger action where services are poor quality, and they want more information and service accountability,” says Ms Parata.

The ECE advisory groups will provide advice on improving quality of ECE services sector-wide and improving quality of ECE services for under two year–olds.
“To achieve the changes we need experts from within the sector to help us find solutions,” says Ms Parata.

“The advisory groups are made up of people who understand the issues and challenges of early childhood education due to their experience and expertise.

“I look forward to the practical and workable solutions the advisory groups propose.''

Members were selected based on a number of factors, including experience knowledge and understanding of the sector. The first meetings will take place in late February, and the advisory groups will report back to the Government in April.

Any consequent change in respect of kōhanga reo will be the subject of consultation with Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust Board, including what results from the Trust Board’s claim before the Tribunal.

Improving quality of ECE services sector-wide advisory group members:

Nancy Bell
Clare Wells
Carol Stovold
Alex Gunn
Fiona Hughes
Maureen Woodhams
Janice Taouma
Karla Tardieu

Improving quality of ECE services for children aged less than two years advisory group members:

Jayne White
Dr Janis Carroll-Lind
Jean Rockel
Karen Shields
Natasha Kibble
Lorraine Sands
Carmen Dalli
Nadine Wishnowsky