Value of parents praised

The Press 03 June 2008
Parents are just as good as teachers when it comes to educating toddlers, an early-childhood educator says. Dr Sarah Farquhar, who presented her findings at the New Zealand Playcentre Federation’s Diamond Jubilee conference in Auckland at the weekend, said teacher-led early-education services had little added value to a child’s development compared with parent-led services. Farquhar said the impact of family was consistently greater on a child’s achievements than Early Childhood Education and government policies needed to recognise the value of involving parents in children’s early education.

“If we want to make more of an effective difference for our young children, we should be valuing programmes that involve parents learning much more than they are currently being valued,” she said. The Government funded and promoted teacher-led services with the free-20-hours scheme and told parents they should leave their children in the care of others, she said. “These are services that don’t involve parents and limit the choices for the parents,” Farquhar said. “Evidence shows family factors make such a big difference in the lives of children and their development, and we should create a more equal or level playing field in terms of what government policy is promoting and funding.”