Posted by: rivettingkatetaylor | February 1, 2011

good news for innovation, not good for early childhood education

It makes a change, but I enjoyed seeing a Government press release this morning! Not strictly farming, in the grass-growing sense, but still helping the primary sector.

The headline: Primary sector innovation fund tops $475 million

The Ministers of Agriculture and Fisheries have announced another $107 million of government-industry funding of Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) proposals (aquaculture, wildfish harvesting and timber).

According to the press release, the three proposals approved will: 

  • Support the development of a new wildfish harvesting technology that will allow more precise catches and allow fish to be delivered to export markets fresher and in better condition;
  • Transform New Zealand’s Aquaculture industry by selectively breeding high value green shell mussels; and
  • Contribute $2.5m to finding viable alternatives to methyl bromide in pest control in log exports.

 This is great news for the future of primary industry in our country.

But sadly it comes with today’s other headlines about the reduction in funding for early childhood centres. I was president of Hunter Park Kindergarten in Waipukurau for a few years and I know how hard these centres fight for every dollar. I know how important they are in the worlds of our young people. Putting costs up is only going to reduce the likelihood of attendance for those children who need the helping hand the most.

My argument is not for or against paying for qualified teachers. I know so many people who are wonderful in these centres and have been for many years (one lady springs to mind at HPK in recent years) without formal qualifications. Everyone at Playcentre starts without formal qualifications but works their way through the system.

Early childhood education should just have more money. Fullstop. So should schools. And health. And our police force.

Where the money comes from is a whole other argument that I simply do not have time to get into today! (will never have. too big. too political. and I have way too much fun just bagging politicians without having to offer alternatives…. 🙂  )

There is also another argument here for people staying at home to look after their own children. I did just that, but used kindergarten two days a week for my children to spend time with other children and other role models or figures of authority, for routine and for school preparation. We went to playcentre once or twice a week to do cool stuff together.

Being a preschooler is just such an important time in a person’s life.  Every activity is learning a new skills – using scissors is something adults take for granted but is a major mission for a preschooler…  all that sort of thing. Now, really must get some work done!


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