In its submission to the Government’s ECE Taskforce, the NZ Teachers Council this week said it put forward a case for a fully qualified /trained profession and explained that the Council does not “distinguish amongst the sectors in which a registered teacher teaches. An ECE, primary or secondary teacher must all meet the same requirements to maintain full registration.”
Further it “unequivocally supports quality teaching/learning which requires quality teacher preparation, comprehensive and supported induction & mentoring (I & M) programmes and ongoing professional development. These are assured only through registration of teachers.”
And believes that, “all children deserve to have their learning planned, assessed and reported on by qualified teachers who have the benefit of a high quality initial teacher education programme, followed by an individualised I & M programme that equips them with the skills to recognise learning, build and nourish it'.
Across different groups in the early childhood sector there is support for what the Teachers’ Council has said in its submission. A high quality teaching profession is considered highly desirable.
NZ Kindergartens Inc is lobbying along with the teachers union, NZEI, to see the target of 100% qualified and registered teachers re-instated for all early childhood services.
Kathy Macfarlane for the Rudolf Steiner Federation of NZ says, “one of the fundamental values of Steiner education is the recognition that in the education of the the very young child the most important thing is the teacher themselves. Therefore it is of the utmost importance that the teacher has the qualities and capacities needed to support the development of the young child and the ability to reflect on the impact that their attitude or behaviour might have on the children in their care. This would support the need for teachers to be professional in every sense of the word”.
Maureen Woodhams, President of the NZ Playcentre Federation, agrees “Where parents/whanau can’t be present in their child's centre, I believe teaching qualifications and ongoing professional development provides suitable substitute grounding for staff.”
The NZ Home-based ECE Association says it is imperative that the induction and mentoring of teachers is a robust, accountable and quality practice with clear evidence of teaching capabilities.
The claim that the Teachers Council does not make any distinction between teachers in ECE and the compulsory education sector is questioned however.
“In Home-based settings teachers are discriminated against as a sector group which has been unsuccessful thus far in persuading the Council to acknowledge that home-based educators who hold a diploma of teaching ECE or degree of teaching ECE should be able to gain and maintain their teacher registration in this setting,” says Carol Stovold, president of the Home-based Assn.
Maureen Woodhams points to the availability of other evidence-based models of teaching young children. Learning alongside their parents in a supportive community such as Playcentre provides children with an “excellent grounding” for their future education. “The Playcentre model of families learning together also provides positive outcomes for parents, through mentoring, supportive relationships with other community members, and access to parent education courses. And of course, Playcentre produces a steady stream of adult graduates who are inspired to go on to successful teaching careers in other parts of the education sector,” says Woodhams.
For More Discussion
See other articles at www.childforum.com on teacher registration, qualifications and training.