New Zealand’s largest in-home childcare provider has welcomed proposed changes to home-based early childhood education (ECE) that could require home-based educators to have at least a level 4 qualification in early learning, and receive better pay and conditions.
PORSE Education and Training General Manager, Erin Maloney, says she is excited about the proposed changes, as announced yesterday by Education Minister Chris Hipkins.
In addition to the changes relating to qualifications and pay, other changes could see parents being more informed about the level of government funding being provided for their child. Coordinators (also known as visiting teachers) will be required to make more frequent visits to the educators they are supervising, and coordinators and educators to have health and safety training.
“Given our focus on education and training, what we also know first-hand is how much of an investment is required to support quality,” says Maloney, “We’re keen to understand more about how the Government are going to support the sector to achieve the benchmarks that the proposals put forward around minimum qualifications and delivery standards. This includes making sure that funding reflects the investment made in high quality outcomes.”
New Zealand Kindergartens Inc has also welcomed the proposals, but says quality must be front and centre of any reform.
“The proposals in the discussion document are a useful start in setting higher expectations of home-based service providers,” says NZ Kindergartens chief executive Clare Wells. “However, the review stops short at proposing a change in legislation to remove ambiguity and ensure the focus of home-based services is squarely on high quality education and care of young children.”
Hipkins says public feedback on the proposals will be carefully considered before any decisions are made. Options for providing feedback include an online survey and regional hui. Consultation is open until 24 September 2018.
“We need to be sure that home-based early childhood education supports good outcomes for children,” he says.
A new Early Learning Strategic Plan is also being developed at the same time as the review of home-based ECE. The Strategic Plan will cover the whole early learning sector, including home-based ECE.