Press Release – Early Childhood Council
A Family First study, released today and arguing that ‘daycare’ is harmful to children, is ‘misleading and irresponsibly alarmist’, says the Early Childhood Council.Family First Study Misleading
A Family First study, released today and arguing that ‘daycare’ is harmful to children, is ‘misleading and irresponsibly alarmist’, says the Early Childhood Council.
Council CEO Peter Reynolds says the report’s author has admitted (in writing on his own website) that his method is to deliberately select ‘generally negative’ studies.
‘But if you look only at the negative evidence you can reach only one conclusion,’ Mr Reynolds said. ‘And that may well be the wrong one.’
New Zealand parents and families were best placed to decide what was best for their own children, Mr Reynolds said.
Mr Reynolds said the Family First report referred continually and derogatively to ‘daycare’.
‘But we don’t have daycare in New Zealand. We have early childhood education. With a national curriculum. And dedicated tertiary-trained teachers.’
The issue, Mr Reynolds said, was quality.
Low quality daycare and low quality parenting were damaging to children for the same reason, he said. They were both low quality.
New Zealand early childhood education was however amongst the best in the world – ‘if not the best’.
It was essential for many New Zealand families to pay the bills, and was essential therefore for the economic well-being of hundreds of thousands of children.
Mr Reynolds said he agreed with the Family First report ‘on one very important matter’, that the status of full-time parenthood was unfairly low.
The full-time parent was doing ‘a very very valuable job’, and should be highly respected, he said.
‘It’s all about choice. About parents making the best decisions they can, given the specific circumstances of their own families.
‘Sometimes that choice will be staying home to look after the kids. Sometimes it will be early childhood education.
‘We should be striving to ensure that the quality of both is as high as possible for as many children as possible.’
The Early Childhood Council is the largest representative body of licensed early childhood centres in New Zealand. Its 1100 member centres are both community-owned and commercially owned, employ more than 7000 staff, and care for more than 50,000 children.