Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Open thread: Children's Commissioner's report on education & care of infants & toddlers

Thought people might be interested in discussing this further.

Here are links to both the Summary and the whole of the report Through Their Lens:  an inquiry into non-parental education and care of infants and toddlers.
For those not into reading long stuff *cough* me *cough*, here's an excerpt that jumped out at me:
These findings are made in a context in which many parents feel they do not have a choice about returning early to work, or that their choice is very constrained and determined by factors other than their preference. These findings should not be construed as a criticism of working mothers. Society has changed. Working mothers and consequently non-maternal childcare are part of this change. The inquiry on which this report is based has concluded that formal ECS should be seen as a contribution, in partnership with parents and often extended family members, to a child’s learning and development.
And here's some of the media coverage for quick overviews:

Under-2s best at home, says report - Herald
'Time to take under two's seriously': report - Stuff

Please consider this an open thread to discuss this and related matters.*

One of the things I have really liked about a lot of the media I've seen so far (mainly radio) has been the prevalent use of the word "parent".  Such a relief to not have everybody assuming it's just about mums!

*  I have previously felt quite constrained about discussing early childhood education stuff because of my day job.  However I'm on maternity leave now, and when I return to work soon I'll likely be working in a different sector, so now I feel a bit free-er to talk about the education and care of under 5s.  No one should misconstrue anything I say as being the opinion of my regular employer, NZEI Te Riu Roa.


Tamara said...

I've only had a skim of the Summary document so I'm not in a position to comment in depth, plus I am not an EC professional. However, I was not jazzed about the reference in the first paragraph to children being a "resource" hence the need to look after them. Really? I thought they were people. Do we really need to refer to them as "resources" in order to justify the State's interest in their wellbeing?

Julie said...

Good point Tamara. One of the key changes I would love to see our society make, in regard to how it sees children, is to give them the kind of status we give to adults, as full human beings. They are not grown ups in waiting, they are people now.

Anonymous said...


Yes, good point about the description of children the being a "resource". That is part of the larger debate/ideologies about education of all kinds and what its purpose is. The new right tend to view education through the lens of economics and business (training future workers, competing with other countries etc.). It is rather sad to see that the report writer feels the need to describe children as resources so as to argue with those who take such a narrow economic viewpoint. Personally, I'm not convinced that trying to appeal to right wingers/utilitarians in their own economic language actually works anyway, since they usually have less loudly voiced social and personal/moral reasons behind their views anyway. Using economic terms can be a safe way of simply hiding what might generally be thought of old fashioned or retrograde views.

I'm sure there some whose support of cuts to ECE funding is mostly motivated by thought that women should be safely back in the kitchen.


Tamara said...

I saw a brief discussion of this report on Back Benches the other day. I hope we see better quality discussion of this in the media and by the MPs cause what I saw from that panel was pretty woeful.