June 2, 2023

Assessing the evidence on early childhood education/childcare. Dr Sarah-Eve Farquhar

Assessing the evidence on early childhood education/childcare. Dr Sarah-Eve Farquhar.


Childforum Research. May 2008


Early childhood education/childcare policy in New Zealand is based on ideology and not on evidence of what is best for children. In other words our ECE policy is not evidence-based. 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. Policy development and implementation proceeded without a clear understanding and knowledge of positive and negative childcare/ECE effects. A systematic review (in difference to a general review of the literature) of the best evidence, independently conducted by Childforum Research, using a set of criteria for selection was carried out. This first working paper outlines the major pieces of evidence and discusses these in the light of current ECE policy considerations and directions in New Zealand.

This paper was presented to delegates at the New Zealand Playcentre Conference in May 2008 by Dr Sarah Farquhar, and is available here.