Child Forum’s survey of early childhood educators working in centres and subsequent press release, Childcare workers speak out again factory farming of children, has provided food for thought for parents of pre-schoolers. In a country where the mass production of education and standardised testing has recently been proven ineffective, this article further emphasises the importance of making sure early learning opportunities are built on the needs of each individual child.
While centre-based care is still seen as ‘the norm’, this article could be the beginning of a greater pull towards a more natural and holistic way of caring for and educating our tamariki.
As a working mum of two pre-school children, my childcare decisions have been fraught with anxiety and guilt. These feelings have been eased knowing that my children have a mum away from home when I am at work. They have a trusted person, someone they know they can turn to in times of difficulty and overwhelm. They also have a familiar home environment in which to learn and grow. They have a bedroom to sleep in, a community to engage with and an extended family to belong to. They benefit from being a part of a small group where their individual needs and interests are respected and responded to. They are one of four, not one of 150.
This is why home-based care works and why it is becoming a more popular option for parents and teachers who are looking for a different way. The science of early brain development proves what those of us who already engage with home-based care know intrinsically: that one on one relationships grow children who are confident, resilient and capable explorers of the world around them. I have no doubt that we will see a return to raising children in home and community environments with the support of our villages. this will be the new norm of the future, taking children away from ‘factory farms’ and putting them back into their natural environment to thrive.