ChildForum Office of Pre-Primary Education

ChildForum Office of Pre-Primary EducationLead advisor on early childhood care and education 
National membership 

Publisher of the New Zealand-International Research in Early Childhood Journal


If school teachers and children need term breaks - do ECE teachers and children need these too?

stress headache adultOn strike over keeping term breaks and non-contact time in Dec 2005 - NZEI president Colin Tarr said:

"Kindergarten teachers and the children they teach need term breaks, just like the teachers and students at primary and secondary teachers need term breaks. Not having term breaks and increasing contact hours to unsustainable levels will cause teachers to burnout. This means the quality of education they provide to children will inevitably suffer."

The Auckland Kindergarten Association Chief Executive, Tanya Harvey disagrees. This year she has decided to restructure teacher hours and change kindergartens to open year round and no longer close for term breaks as school do.

Should other kindergarten associations copy Ms Harvey's decision? 

Or should all ECE services, not only kindergartens be set up for child education as schools and provide term breaks? 

What are the consequences for children and teachers of not providing sufficient break time during the year? 

Comments on ChildForum’s Facebook page overwhelmingly support term breaks.

Term breaks are no longer available for nearly all early childhood teachers and children in ECE - whose feeling burnout ?

Chelsea Senior:

Me! Definitely me. Plus my own children don't get a break having to go to holiday programmes every day anyway.  Although I’m not in 'kindy' - I am an ECE teacher. And the kids we teach definitely need the break not to mention know their older siblings are off school doing fun things with extended fan or holiday programmes.

Marri Pureu:  

Totally agree. Children and teachers get tired. We open all year round in our Centre.

Jo Cox:   

Why can’t we see that it’s not an issue that kindergarten teachers get term breaks, the issue is that childcare doesn’t? I think all teachers should get breaks, every 10-12 weeks regardless of whether it’s at the same time as schools, you still need valuable down time. It’s an exhausting job, worthwhile and amazing but also exhausting and working 40 weeks in a row doesn’t provide quality.

Kaye Goodall-Anderson:

It has changed every year.  The New Year starts earlier and earlier and end of term becomes later and closer to Christmas. Children need time to rest spend time with their whaanau and teachers need the same. The expectations of teachers continues to grow we are doing social work dealing with all manner of learning behavioural and familial situations as well as trying to balance the needs of our own children and family. Teacher burnout is very very real.....the question is who teaches the tamariki and mentors other teachers when all of these passionate and dedicated teachers burnout because of the ever increasing pressures being placed on them...?




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