I am a mother of two young children, and I am very concerned about the very nature of this bill.
This is the worst kind of government interference into how people choose to raise their families. While I agree there may be a small group of children that may be better off if this bill is to succeed, I feel that the vast majority of ‘good’ parents and their children will be far worse off.
It is the right of a parent to decide what is best for their children. It is a very personal decision and many factors are usually taken into account. There are many good reasons why children are not immunised or participating in Well child checks for a start. My own personal experience with immunisations relate to having children with severe allergies. In some cases they are not the best thing for children and there is much research available in both sides of the immunisation debate. Hence why parents are given the choice!
As for well child checks – I feel that these are not a necessary part of raising a child. With my first child I dutifully went along and then would spend days worrying myself sick about my child not meeting targets. Eventually I ended up just using them as a way to find out her height/weight. With my second, I didn’t bother going. I could see he was healthy and happy and I didn’t need them to tell me what was ‘wrong’ with him! Again, the vast majority of parents are capable of knowing if there is something wrong with their child and will seek medical help if necessary.
In regards to making kindergarten attendance compulsory for 15 hours a week once a child is 3 years old. This is a serious breach of human rights. This government is taking clear advantage of mothers/fathers on the benefit by even suggesting this.
According to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Standards (E/C.12/1999/10, Article 13.29),
“Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.”
This bill is saying that beneficiaries are not worthy of making this decision for their children. For the families that want this option, it is already in place. But this environment is not right for ‘all’ children.
Researchers have consistently found that although ECE can benefit neglected children, it is no substitute for constant interaction with parents.
According to researcher Dr Raymond Moore: “Harold McCurdy, a distinguished psychologist from the University of North Carolina and a leading student of genius, says that genius is derived from the experience of children being most of the time with adults and very little with their peers. So when you start assembling children in very large numbers for long periods of time, you are on the wrong course for producing strong character and intellect. The more children around your child, the fewer meaningful human contacts he will have.
My son is a perfect example a child that won’t fit into the ideals. He is about to turn 3 and there is absolutely no way he would cope in a kindergarten environment with lots of noise and many other children. I am lucky as I still have the choice to keep him home, but some women will lose that right if this goes ahead.
I have personal friends that are currently choosing to homeschool their children. This includes children over 6 years old. They will lose that right under this bill! Their children are going to be ripped from a supportive caring environment where they are thriving, and put into a classroom with 30 other children, where they will be lucky to receive 7 minutes a day of the teachers’ time! How is this helpful I ask? Does this government really want all children to be a cookie cutter representation of their ideals!
I really feel that this bill is only going to hurt those caring and responsible parents that have been put in the position to need government help. Those that neglect and mistreat their children and take full advantage of the benefit will find yet another loop hole in the system!
The job of parenting is the most important in the world! It is a fulltime job in its own right and should be recognised as such. Single parents have it harder than most families as they need to take on the role of both parents. The children in these families are often already mourning the loss of a loved one either to death or separation/divorce. What damage could this bill potentially do to these children! These parents are already working 24 hours a day caring for their children, it’s actually unreasonable to expect them to hold down a fulltime job and raise these children in a happy secure environment!
To those parents that choose to place their children in care and go back to the workforce, I respect their decision, but it is not every parents goal to have a near stranger raise their children!
Fulltime parents are in charge of raising the next generation, and if they are forced to take the ‘one size fits all’ approach what kind of next generation are we raising!
So in closing, I urge you to vote against this bill going ahead. It is not going to help those that need it, only disadvantage happy, settled children!