Minister’s babysitting suggestions belong back in the ark

Press Release – NZEI

12th March 2012 For Immediate Release Minister’s babysitting suggestions belong back in the ark Suggestions from the Minister of Social Development that babysitting clubs could be set up to look after the children of beneficiaries, show a complete …12th March 2012 For Immediate Release

Minister’s babysitting suggestions belong back in the ark Suggestions from the Minister of Social Development that babysitting clubs could be set up to look after the children of beneficiaries, show a complete disregard for young children and their families, says the education sector union NZEI Te Riu Roa.

A Cabinet paper from Paula Bennett suggests establishing babysitting networks as a way of helping beneficiaries with children back into work. Ms Bennett also says that formal early childcare education is not always the best way for children to be looked after.

“Those attitudes belong back in the ark, along with the government’s whole welfare reform agenda,” says NZEI National Executive member Hayley Whitaker.

There is strong evidence and it is widely accepted that quality early childhood education forms the foundation for all future learning and provides the essential social and developmental skills children need.

“That means environments where there are qualified teachers who are specialists in child development and early childhood education, good teacher-child ratios and small group sizes,” Ms Whitaker says.

“Qualified teachers are also pivotal in helping children and families settle into childcare and reducing any stress they may face”.

Recent reports from the ECE Taskforce and the Children’s Commission have highlighted the importance of early childhood education, saying it is one of the most important investments that a country can make.

Hayley Whitaker says “to see the Social Development Minister advocating informal babysitting networks for children is disappointing to say the least. It reflects an outdated attitude and completely disregards the needs of children and their families, not to mention the value of early childhood education”. ends

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