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Early Childhood Alert No. 10, 2017

With the shortest day in just over one month's time we are well and truly entering winter. To keep our spirits up why not:

This week's newsletter contains a mix of information and news items. 

Contents 

  1. Kindergarten system under threat
  2. Integrating NZ Sign Language into ECE Settings
  3. On the Grapevine
  4. The Education (Update) Amendment Act comes in on May 19th 2017: COMPULSORY school for under 6s & new education system objectives. 
  5. Bullying starts when children are toddlers - confirms the latest Growing Up in NZ report of 4 year old children

  6. Discourses of happiness in ECE - interesting research
  7. New Better Public Sector Targets

 

1. Kindergarten system under threat

Parents and experts are calling on the Govt and Kindy Associations to secure the future of public kindergarten and not continue on the path to privatisation and the full daycare model.

> Read more

 

2. Integrating NZ Sign Language into ECE Settings

  • Why learn and use NZSL in early childhood education settings
  • Reasons for teaching and communicating in NZSL even if there are no Deaf children at the service
  • Things for teachers to consider
  • Lots of ways you can incorporate NZSL into your teaching and the service
  • Where to go for more information
  • Links to articles on baby sign language, teacher hearing loss, and related information

> Read more

 

3. On the Grapevine

Thumbs up to NZ Kindergartens Inc and CEO Clare Wells for its press statement last week noting that while the government has allocated money to upskill early childhood teachers on early literacy and communication, kindergartens already have teachers who are trained and doing this and that a narrow approach to teaching literacy in the early years should be avoided.

 

4. The Education (Update) Amendment Act comes in on May 19th 2017

School entry

Yes children will now be able to start at a public primary school before Age 5 depending on when their birthday falls during the school term. BUT an issue that the media and public do not seem to be picking up on and realising is that it will be compulsory for children to attend. It will not be possible for parents to keep their child at home for a couple of days or even an afternoon who is not coping or needs a rest. It will be illegal in most cases to withdraw a child from school and re-enrol in ECE. Parents of 4- and 5-year old children enrolled at school who do not attend as required may be fined up to $30 per school day, not exceeding $300 for a first offence and $3000 for subsequent offences.

> Read concerns about this 

Enduring objectives for the education system

New objectives for the education system now make it clear what early childhood education and ngā kōhanga reo should achieve for children, according to the Education Minister. This includes: helping each child attain educational achievement and preparedness for work.

> Read more 

 

5. Bullying starts when children are toddlers

Bullying behaviour starts early and for around one in ten children, being bullied or picked on has been a consistent experience since they were two years old, according to the latest in the series of Growing Up in New Zealand reports just released (May 2017)

> Go to a My ECE article on the forms that bullying take and telling it apart from normal child behaviour, teacher strategies and guidance for parents of children who are bullying or being bullied 

The study finding provides a reminder that ECE service providers need to make sure they have policies in place to reduce and eliminate bullying. Adults provide important role models to children and the emotional climate adults create effects children's wellbeing and learning. A national survey revealed that workplace bullying in ECE is a serious matter. Bullying was experienced by one quarter of all staff surveyed (25%) and by as many as 34% of qualified teachers working in general teaching positions at kindergartens and childcare centres. Most bullying took the form of staff being at the receiving end of personal nastiness and prejudices, being made to feel their job was at risk if they did not comply with what they viewed as unfair or unrealistic expectations, and not having control over matters that impeded the quality of their work with children. 

> ECE work safety survey report 

 

6. Happiness in infant-toddler ECE

Jean Rockel and Janita Craw wrote "the market provides an underlying influence with regard to selection of a ‘place’ where an infant or toddler will experience his or her early life outside the home. It is commercially expedient to publicise that a particular care and education service and/or context will promote an emotionally safe place for children to be ‘happy’ in lieu of parental care. Names of a childcare centre can reflect this somewhat romanticised and idealised view of happiness. In a general internet search for early childhood service names, examples included: Happy Times; Happyland; Happy Days; Happy Kids; The Happy Rainbow. Given these connections between childhood, education, and happiness it is important to explore the views of teachers in relation to happiness, and importantly the ways in which teachers engage in and construct the discourses of happiness.

> Read more about the researchers' work in this article

 

7. New Better Public Sector Targets 

As we reported some time ago, the Government failed to meet its own expectation that it would have 98% of children in ECE in 2016. 

Recently the Prime Minister announced a new set of targets that does not include ECE. There are two targets in particular that ECE has a significant influence on - child illness and hospital admissions and child abuse

  • By 2021, a 25% reduction in hospital admission rates for a selected group of avoidable conditions in children aged 0 - 12 years, with an interim target of 15% by 2019.
  • Reduce the number of children experiencing physical and sexual abuse by 20 percent by 2021.

If there is space in next week's newsletter we'll write about the role of early childhood care and education in child health and safety - issues in ECE and solutions 

> Was all the taxpayer money spent on the 98% participation target worth it? 

 

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