Qualifications and Adults on Duty
When parents are absent it is important that the adults working with children in early childhood programmes have undertaken relevant training and hold an appropriate early childhood qualification. But when parents provide the programme a formal qualification is not necessary since parents have the advantage of knowing their child best and research shows that in the early years the quality of parenting has the greater impact on child outcomes.
New Zealand playcentres provide ECE training for parents and have other requirements that mean children are likely to receive a high level of appropriate support and learning opportunities from adults. These requirements include:
- A limit on the number of children – set at no more than 30 children.
- The supervisor responsible for each session must hold a Playcentre Diploma.
- At least some of the other adults/parents on duty will have completed playcentre courses and, or hold recognised teaching qualifications
- The adult child ratio is excellent at 1 adult to 5 children – (note that it is 1:15 in sessional kindergartens and 1:10 in all-day kindergartens and childcare centres).
- Children under 2.6 years have a parent stay with them at the playcentre.
To be awarded a Star for adult qualification and suitability the Playcentre must involve parents as educators in the programme.
Hospital-based ECE services operate from hospital premises and provide education and care only to children who are patients of that hospital. Hospital-based ECE service staff hold an ECE recognised teaching qualification and may also be trained hospital play specialists or hold nursing or other medical qualifications.
Hospital-based ECE services cater for children who are hospitalised and not siblings, the children of hospital staff, or other children. The number of actual hospital-based ECE licensed services is small (in 2013 there were only 16 throughout the whole of NZ).
To be awarded a Star for adult qualification and suitability the Hospital-based ECE licensed service must have 80%+ registered teachers (as for teacher-led centres - see below).
Te Kōhanga Reo
The objective of te kōhanga reo early childhood services is to teach and pass on Māori language and culture. Thus the suitability and qualification requirements for adults who work with children and their families in kōhanga reo must reflect the objective.
Parents and other whānau are involved in te kōhanga reo and each kōhanga is responsible for checking the competency of adults in te reo Māori and their suitability to work with children. Kōhanga whānau are also supported to undertake training in Te Ara Tuatahi and Te Ara Tuarua to support the acquisition and use of te reo Māori by whānau in the home and in the kōhanga reo.
Tino Rangatiratanga Whakapakari Tohu is the teaching qualification for te kōhanga reo kaiako (teachers).
To be awarded a Star for adult qualification and suitability the Kōhanga Reo must involve whānau in learning and using te reo Māori alongside children and teachers must hold the Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust recognised teaching qualification.
Teacher-led centres are centres that care for children in the absence of parents. These include kindergartens, early learning and daycare centres, and centres with a special philosophy such as Rudolf Steiner education or a special purpose such as providing a Christian education.
A large body of empirical research looking at the effects of childcare on child outcomes has shown staff training in child development and care to be one of the strongest variables of quality. Therefore every child attending a teacher-led service should be cared for and taught by a qualified adult (this may be with the assistance of unqualified adults counted outside of the minimum regulated adult:child ratio).
Ideally a Star would be awarded to teacher-led services that maintain 100% qualified and registered teachers in the minimum regulated ratio however the best data available comes from that recorded for funding purposes which places all centres that have 80%, and more than 80%, registered teachers in the same group category. Note that the Education Act requires sessional kindergartens to maintain 100% qualified teachers and so any sessional kindergarten will meet this standard.
A ‘registered teacher’ is a holder of a current practising certificate that has been issued by the New Zealand Teachers Council, or a letter from the Teachers’ Council advising that registration has been approved. This includes provisionally registered teachers, teachers ‘subject to confirmation’, and fully registered teachers. For centre funding purposes, ’registered teachers’ are defined as ECE or NZ primary qualified teachers.
To be awarded a Star for adult qualification and suitability the teacher-led centre must have 80%+ registered teachers (counted in the minimum regulated adult:child ratio and over at least the two most recent consecutive funding periods).
Home-based services are the same as teacher-led centres in respect of the importance of the adult having early childhood teacher training, since the home-based educator is a worker and not a parent or family member of the child. Without a recognised teaching qualification home-based educators are effectively caregivers or babysitters.
Currently, home-based educators are not required to hold an ECE recognised teaching qualification though a higher ‘quality’ rate of public funding is given to an agency when all educators contracted to or working for it have completed a Level 3 or higher qualification and at least 5 credits (maximum of 60 children in the licence) or at least 15 credits (maximum of 80 children in the licence) of a Level 4 ECE qualification listed on the New Zealand Register of Quality Assured Qualifications, or are a NZ qualified primary school teacher. Qualifications gained at Level 3 or 4 are low-level ones compared to an ECE teaching diploma which is at Level 7 on the Qualifications Framework.
Reliable nationally collected data is not available to show the home-based ECE services provided by adults who hold an ECE qualification recognised for teacher registration. Until such time as the qualification requirement is raised for home-based educators a Star awarded to a home-based licensed service can only be for meeting the requirement for the ‘quality’ rate of funding.
To be awarded a Star for adult qualification and suitability the home-based ECE agency licensed service must meet the criteria for educator qualification set by the Ministry of Education for the higher ‘quality’ rate of funding.
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