Palmerston North, NZ – Under the new Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill, which is now being considered by a select committee, beneficiaries will be compelled to send their preschool children to early childhood education (ECE) for at least 15 hours per week. While Minister for Social Development Paula Bennett claims that this will ensure that disadvantaged children get the best possible start on life, the Home Education Foundation (HEF) of New Zealand cites research linking ECE with a whole spectrum of sociopolitical problems.
According to research by Canadian developmental psychologist Dr Gordon Neufeld, co-author of the book Hold On to Your Children: Why Parents Matter, children need at least six years to bond with their parents in a nurturing, play-rich environment before being sent to school. Parents who send their children to out-of-home care before the child has fully bonded with the parents will force their child to satisfy emotional needs by bonding with peers or caregivers. These bonds are soon broken when the peers or caregivers move out of the child’s life, resulting in insecure children suffering from what Dr Neufeld calls “attachment hunger”.
Anti-social behaviour is strongly associated with ECE attendance. In one of the most rigorous studies available, the US National Institute of Child Health and Human Development found a strong link between long hours of non-maternal care and behavioural problems such as aggression, demanding behaviour, cruelty, fighting, and so on, even in children coming from usually privileged backgrounds.
In a Canadian study published this year, researchers from the University of Montreal and the Sainte-Justine Hospital Research Centre said that children who attend daycare are more likely to become obese between the ages of 4 and 10.
Head researcher Dr Marie-Claude Geoffrey stated, “We found that children whose primary care arrangement between 1.5 and 4 years was in daycare-center or with an extended family member were around 50 per cent more likely to be overweight or obese between the ages of 4-10 years compared to those cared for at home by their parents.”
But what about all the research showing that preschool can be beneficial? New Zealand’s Dr Sarah-Eve Farquar, author of the 2008 paper “Assessing the evidence on early childhood education/childcare” says, “In September 2002 the government released a 10 year plan for ECE and the New Zealand Council for Educational Research Competent Children, Competent Learners study was drawn on to justify the values underpinning the plan and ECE policy. But the study had limited findings relating to ECE effects and quite major methodological problems.”
By contrast, says Dr Farquar, “The best evidence points to parents/family having a far greater impact than the childcare/ECE experience on children’s developmental outcomes.”
Problems with the Competent Children, Competent Learners study include the superficiality of the research conducted on the children, plus the fact that the overwhelming majority of the children studied came from well-to-do Pakeha families. “Due to the very small number of A’oga Amata in the study and the absence of other Pacific Island language nests and Kohanga Reo no conclusions should be drawn about these service types or about ECE effects on Maori and Pacific children,” says Dr Farquar.
She goes on to cite a number of New Zealand and international studies, including a more rigorous study conducted in Christchurch in 1994. While this study did find very small detectable increases in ability and achievement scores among ECE attendees, the researches stated that “the relatively small effect sizes found and the uncertainties of the evidence suggest it would be unwise to aggressively promote the view that early education of the type provided to this cohort makes an important contribution to subsequent academic achievement. At best any benefits found in this study are small and it is possible that even these benefits may be due to uncontrolled factors rather than the benefits of early education.
After citing other reputable international studies, Dr Farquar concluded, “The best evidence does not show that good quality ECE is better necessarily than care within the family or has a greater impact on children’s achievement and other outcomes…It may be that if unbiased information on potential risks and the size of benefits is given to parents in a timely manner, then parents can make more informed choices and manage risks to better advantage their child’s development.”
More information on the bill can be found at www.hef.org.nz.
About the Home Education Foundation
The Home Education Foundation has been informing parents for 27 years about the fantastic opportunity to de-institutionalise our sons and daughters and to embrace the spiritual, intellectual and academic freedom that is ours for the taking. Through conferences, journals, newsletters and all kinds of personal communications, we explain the vision of handcrafting each child into a unique individual, complete with virtuous character, a hunger for service to others, academic acumen and a strong work ethic. For more information, please visit www.hef.org.nz or more specifically hef.org.nz/2012/make-a-submission-reject-compulsory-early-education-for-3-year-olds/
This was reported here:
- Submissions published for the Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill
- New Zealand Law Society Submission
- Australians have common sense where it seems our NZ Government does not
- ECE (Preschool) is no good for 4, 5 and possibly 6 year olds expert says
- Presenting an oral submission to the Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill
- Social Services Select Committee members
- Barbara Smith’s submission
- Media Release 11 – Parents Are Responsible for Education, Says HEF National Director
- Media Release 10 – Preschool Associated With Social and Academic Disadvantage
- A Bit of Political Advice to Home Educators by Craig Smith
- Samuel Blight’s submission
- Home Education Foundation’s submission
- Media Release 9 – Social Security Bill Should Treat Home Education as a Legitimate Choice
- Media Release 8 – Social Security Bill Will Cause Real Hardship to Real People
- Family Integrity’s submission
- Media Release 7 – Paula Bennett’s One-Size-Fits-All Approach Leaves Parents With No Options
- 2nd letter from Paula Bennett to Barbara Smith
- Why should I put a submission into the Select Committee about the beneficiaries?
- Media Release 6 – Social Security Bill Will Punish Responsible Parents Who ‘Can’t Be Bought’
- Beneficiaries: Policy and Law
- 66 Submissions
- Submission: Trafficking, extortion, kidnapping, slavery and deception
- Media Release 5 – Beneficiary Parents “Not Able to Home School” Under Social Security Bill
- Media Release 4 – Social Security Bill Targets Responsible Parents for Toughest Penalties
- Letter from Paula Bennett to Samuel Blight
- Opinion Piece in Truth
- Possible timeline for Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill
- Media Release 3 – Social Security Bill’s ECE Obligations Breach Human Rights
- Media Release 2 – Vulnerable Children Not Benefited By Social Security Bill
- Media Release 1 – Social Security Bill Coerces Parents, Removes Freedom
- Make a submission: Reject compulsory Early Education for 3 year olds
- Some of the main links
- Comment on Q+A: Social Development Minister Paula Bennett
- Human Rights in New Zealand Today: The right to education
- Raymond S. Moore on Early Childhood Centres
- Should preschool be compulsory?
- TVNZ One this morning Q&A with Paula Bennett
- Maxim Institute: What is best for children?
- HUGE Concerns over the Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill
- Letter from Paula Bennett concerning beneficaries and home education to Barbara Smith
- Toby Manhire on Benefit-slaying Nats starting to look plain nasty
- Linking welfare to preschool attendance a world first
- New Update on: How will the new Social obligations which will be required of all beneficiary parents effect home schoolers?
- How will the new Social obligations which will be required of all beneficiary parents effect home schoolers?
From the Smiths:
Updated 5 October 2012: One year on (Craig Smith’s Health) page 7 click here
Needing help for your home schooling journey:
Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling:
This link is motivational:
Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill