Current topics and what's in this newsletter:
- Children learning about democracy in ECE
- ERO's new focus on how services are implementing the revised Te Whāriki
- Saving on centre power bill comes before children
- Giving children the best start: how much ECE participation is too much, too little, too early, too late, is the quality right?
- Father's Day - activity and gift planning ideas
- Pikler and Gerber theories: Putting ideas into practice and answering your questions
- Force-feeding children - a teacher's experience of working at a centre where this occurred
- Learning to do research
- Help with writing new policies
- Eczema and helping a young child with eczema
Members let us know if there is an issue affecting you or if you are seeking ideas or information on an early childhood matter or topic.
Did you see the Sunday newspaper article on Stuff about mega early childhood centres? It's well worth reading and sharing. Go to the article here.
1. Children learning about democracy and inclusion in decision-making
Giving children a vote on anything from lunch menus to who changes their nappy can actually work very well in early childhood programmes.
2. ERO's new focus on how services are implementing the revised Te Whāriki
All ECE services are expected to be implementing the revised Te Whāriki document (not the original).
ERO has started to investigate ECE service provider and teacher awareness and implementation of the Ministry's revised document. It will be reporting its findings to the Ministry of Education.
3. Saving on centre power bill comes before children
"I never thought I would find myself having to fight for children’s right to stay warm in their centre".
4. Giving children the best start: how much ECE participation is too much, too little, too early, too late, is the quality right?
The research tells us that the answer is not as simple as maximising children’s exposure to ECE, especially if ECE does not involve parents in children's learning and has not made a positive difference to the home environment that they go back to.
In NZ we have:
- an internationally very high rate of participation in ECE – 96% of children attend ECE in the year before starting school;
- an above the OECD average for the proportion children under the age of 3 years placed in ECE;
- an early childhood education system that has remained impervious to social change in equality for men and women and educates children through its occupational segregation that women are best suited to childcare and men are not. NZ is now placed in the bottom half of the OECD for the proportion of male teachers;
- a young teaching workforce compared to most other countries in the OECD – more than one quarter of ECE teachers are 30 years old or younger;
- the highest proportion of children enrolled in government-funded private ECE operations (98% of children) out of all other countries in the OECD. (In countries such as Finland and Sweden, 80% of pre-schoolers are enrolled in publicly provided early childhood programmes);
- major deficiencies in the monitoring of early childhood service safety for children (the Ministry of Education operates a ‘trust’ system with no regular or unannounced inspections once a service receives its life-time license to operate) and continued practice of cover-up of safety failings and cases of child harm; and
- ECE that is among the most expensive for families to afford in the OECD (outside of the 20 hours Free ECE available to 3 to 5 year-olds).
> Find out more in the notes of this presentation to the Education Leaders' Conference last week. The presentation picked up on findings from NZ's longitudinal studies. It includes information you may find useful and perhaps you may see something in a different way after reading this.
5. Father's Day - activity and gift planning ideas for children in ECE
6. Pikler and Gerber Theories: Putting ideas into practice and answering your questions
Concepts such as ‘self-soothing’ (allowing babies to settle by themselves) and leaving babies to develop in their own time rather than pushing them to meet milestones cause much debate among parents and early childhood educators.
7. Force-feeding children: A teacher's experience of working at a centre where this occurred
"As a centre manager was recently found guilty in the High Court of force-feeding, smacking children and washing a child’s mouth out with soap, I think it’s important that we break the silence on such behaviours. We should be discussing reasons why it’s difficult to speak up such as not wanting to rock the boat or make complaints against colleagues you like, why it’s difficult to be believed, and the problems of not saying anything and being blamed and perhaps guilty for not saying anything".
8. Learning to do research
This article by Michael Gaffney (University of Otago) is an oldie but an excellent read still today. Share it with colleagues, students and anyone who is thinking of or is undertaking their first major research endeavour.
"This paper uses journey as a metaphor, and to a lesser extent problem solving, to provide a framework for understanding the activity that more early childhood practitioners are finding themselves in - research. For someone setting out on the research journey for the first time the whole experience seems daunting if not overwhelming. Perhaps very similar to taking a first train ride. It is no different to how we think about the strand of exploration in Te Whaariki for children. Who is there to support the learner? What is the balance of formal teaching and independent learning about any particular aspect of the problem-solving activity? Is it okay to make mistakes? How can more experienced learners provide a safe environment for early exploration so that the beginner experiences success and does not get discouraged? How do beginning researchers develop working theories for making sense of the research process? What you are reading now is my own working theory about the research process. Each research journey provides new learning, which contributes to the skills the researcher takes on the next journey."
9. Help with writing new policies
How good are the written policies of ECE services? Make sure your policies are well-written and also reflect your service beliefs and community. Whether starting from scratch in writing a new policy or revising the ones you have currently, go to our policy development article. It covers:
- the core criteria for assessing the 'goodness' of a policy statement
- policy implementation considerations to keep in mind
- a template to use with key headings and aspects to cover when drafting a policy.
- a set of easy-to-follow steps for policy development.
10. Eczema and how to help a young child with eczema
Eczema is quite common among young children. There are times when it will flare up, and when infection happens, and there may be no apparent reason for this. A child with eczema has itchy dry red skin. You’ll notice scaly patches and lumpiness. Often the skin is so itchy that children will scratch and the skin will break and bleed. This article provides some basic information for parents and teachers, with particular relevance to early childhood settings. We invite comments and sharing of experiences, tips, sources of help, and words of inspiration at the end of the article.
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