Early childhood education – a sound investment
“Investing in quality early childhood education is value for money” says Clare Wells Chief Executive of New Zealand Kindergartens.
“The return for children, families and society is well documented including students staying longer and doing better at school.” Clare Wells said.
“The tax payer’s investment in early childhood education in the last decade aimed to increase participation and the quality of services: it did both.” said Clare Wells.
“For kindergarten, the ‘20 hours free’ funding meant we could employ more qualified and registered teachers and provide better teacher:child ratios, and smaller group sizes which are key indicators of a quality service. It has enabled kindergarten to be more flexible, offering a wide range of options to better meet the needs of families.” Clare Wells said.
“Kindergarten is not-for-profit. Government funding goes directly into providing a quality service for 40,000 children and their families using kindergarten” said Clare Wells.
“A reduction in funding would put the quality of services at risk, shift costs to parents and be likely to reduce participation for some families” Clare Wells said.
“The effect of taking $57 million out of childcare assistance is an example. By the government’s own calculations in future over 9,000 families will receive less assistance and over 2,000 will miss out altogether. That’s fewer children accessing early childhood education – the opposite effect the government is seeking to achieve.” says Clare Wells. “The government’s stated priority for early childhood education is to increase participation.”
“Investing in early childhood education is investing in the future. To reap the full benefits of quality early childhood education the investment must be up front. The budget next month will show whether the government supports that notion and where its commitment to young children and their families lies” said Clare Wells.
For further information contact Clare Wells on 0272 955 044 or 04 4953744
New Zealand Kindergartens represents 29 kindergarten associations around the country, responsible for 420 kindergartens.