Childcare: the new protection racket

I was reading an article in the SMH about the large number of childcare centres missing targets on the road to the ridiculous new national regulatory framework.  You know the one where toddlers must be instructed by some dim-witted graduate from a second rate university.

Sadly, for the dim-witted minister, Kate Ellis, the whole system is in considerable disarray, with child care fees soaring ($120 to $150 per day is now not uncommon in the larger cities) and parents cutting back hours.  With the child care rebate frozen, parents are paying higher amounts out of their own pockets.

One of our relatives has children in childcare and she tells us that she is given a weekly newsletter informing her that the children are being taught about triangles and the colour orange this week.  Thanks for that.

But here’s one of the quotes that particularly caught my eye – from the director of a complying centre.

“For the first time, all services are now being rated against the same seven quality areas, and this will ensure the consistency and quality of services provided to children and families across the country.”

So instead of diversity and choice, it is consistency across the country.

I guess it’s a bit like the National Plan for School Improvement.

Childcare is one area the Coalition has to sort out.  The red tape burden on the sector is ridiculous and it is not obvious why centres should employ university graduates.  We need greater choice, diversity and competition, not the Stalinist straight jacket that this government has chosen.

Perhaps we should require all new mothers to have a university degree in early childhood development?

Update: Additional coverage on early childcare education here and here.

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334 Responses to Childcare: the new protection racket

  1. Token

    I am a mother, a degree holding Early Childhhod Teacher, and a child care user.

    Thank you. No one is barred from commenting here. That said, what are you looking for by that statement? Does that make your comment equal to other people who are just “child care users” or more important?

    As a director irrespective of your ideology surely the point should be about what is best for the next generation. Childcare is here to stay, support us to do the best job we can….please.

    No one is saying get rid of Childcare. Why is that raised?

    What does support us mean? Does that mean if we don’t blindly support the plans for creditials for everyone, we are against you? If we believe that childcare is not a free good, we are against you?

    Are you suggesting that people who believe that people can be employed without degrees, like wardsmen/ ordilies in a hospital, under the direction of trained staff? Do we need everyone to hold tertiary degress?

    Please 4Suz Eq, put some meat on the bone here.

  2. Huckleberry Chunkwot

    I don’t know why people who claim they are educated just do not understand this basic common-sense notions.

    Gab, this is because in the main they are dim witted graduates from second rate universities.

  3. Anon

    Yes, it’s after 5 o’clock and I’m back – and I still haven’t had lunch. I can hear the groans and feel the knives readying from here.

    Well I must say today’s few earlier interchanges have been an enlightening first visit (and almost certainly last) to this particular blog. What a nasty nest of neo-con swamp-dwellers.

    Don’t dare come here with a variety of views… you’ll be harangued, ridiculed and abused as a leftie troll. No space for intelligent debate here. Your education, life behaviours, attitudes and thought will be prejudiced the moment you type a word.

    What an arrogant, verballing cesspit of Neanderthals who in fact couldn’t have it more wrong with the judgements of me from a simple introductory comment about one of their own. Other detractors to Sloan’s pathetic comments on Q&A copped a similar tirade of abuse.

    Actually it’s all thoroughly amusing to find such a blinkered, narrow-minded tribe of nasties occupying space in the blogosphere. The disturbing part is that this level of political and social ‘anti-debate’ will become controlling mainstream after September. Too right the ‘lefties’ have stuffed up but just wait to see the damage the rabid right will do. We ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

    Fortunately, in my situation I’m immune to it all while most of this lot is totally preoccupied with a daily consumption of tripe and self-aggrandisement in a mutual masturbation society.

    Back to the fetid pond, swamp dwellers.

    Let the abuse recommence – special, for one day only!

  4. twostix

    I am not full time at home mum material. i defy anyone to tell me that my working makes me a less worthy mother.

    Up until you brought it up, who said anything about that? But here you are offering it up.

    You make a good point though. What people need to understand is that much of this faux “outrage” is coming from guilt ridden mothers so hypersensitive about what they’re (not) doing with their babies that any discussion about daycare, even on an obscure topic as daycare staff qualifications, they see as an attack on their “motherhood”. Most of the attacks here don’t care about the content of what Judith said about dimwitted second rate university students, they’re proxy attacks for other things:

    1: Twitterati leftists piling onto an an evil IPA lord of doom and doing so by slandering “untrained” TAFE qualified daycare staff that they have said multiple times now they don’t want anywhere near their children.
    2: Knee jerk reactions by guilt ridden monthers masquerading as outrage over something that was never said.

    Also:

    I note that many of the strong opinions are voiced by individuals without first hand experience of childcare or parenting.

    Where? How do you know who has children and who has experience with Daycare? Do you even realise that this blog post was about making Daycare more available and more affordable??

  5. Huckleberry Chunkwot

    Actually it’s all thoroughly amusing to find such a blinkered, narrow-minded tribe of nasties occupying space in the blogosphere.

    Tried visiting Larvatus Prodeo, Table Talk with Bob Ellis or The Drum lately? Don’t get out much do you?

  6. twostix

    Anon can’t stay away.

    It’s the first time in his life he’s come across stiff opposition to the vacuous pop-left hegemony on the internet and it’s horrifying and intoxicating for him.

  7. linda

    Judith, I think you’re just trolling. Not that well either.

  8. brc

    Anon can’t stay away.

    It’s the first time in his life he’s come across stiff opposition to the vacuous pop-left hegemony on the internet and it’s horrifying and intoxicating for him.

    A heady mix, to be sure.

    What is a neo-con, and where is this swamp I wonder? I seem to remember Donald Rumsfeld being called a neo-con, but I’m not sure what his views on childcare were.

    Anon, a variety of views are welcome. Just not idiotic socialist views. Come up with a well reasoned argument why childcare costs should be forced up to stimulate union enrolments and you’ll get a detailed reply. “please think of the children” is not a reasoned argument, it is an emotional argument. Nobody here is arguing against childcare, what they are arguing against is credentialism as a basis for expanding union power into a largely non-unionized industry. No doubt as a prelude to calls for Childcare to be fully nationalized and integrated into the education dept, complete with a national curriculum so the indoctrination can start even earlier. That way yet another poorly performing branch of the public service can sup at the taxpayer teat, and parents can yet again have less choice or disposable income to make choices with.

    Regurgitate ABC talking points and you’re likely to receive little respect. Most people here hold that hard-left group of work-shy media activists in contempt, and for good reason. It’s ironic that you would call a bunch of people blinkered when no doubt your idea of improving anything is to hand it over to the government.

    Still, keep coming back. You’ll either get an education on how things really work, or you will go mad in frustration and blurt out somthing monumentally idiotic. The pattern is well established.

  9. Leigh

    Don’t take it from me, take it from the text of this TED talk transcript, that is the case against your argument Ms Sloan

    In this talk today, I want to present a different idea for why investing in early childhood education makes sense as a public investment. It’s a different idea, because usually, when people talk about early childhood programs, they talk about all the wonderful benefits for participants in terms of former participants, in preschool, they have better K-12 test scores, better adult earnings. Now that’s all very important, but what I want to talk about is what preschool does for state economies and for promoting state economic development.

    And that’s actually crucial because if we’re going to get increased investment in early childhood programs, we need to interest state governments in this. The federal government has a lot on its plate, and state governments are going to have to step up. So we have to appeal to them, the legislators in the state government, and turn to something they understand, that they have to promote the economic development of their state economy. Now, by promoting economic development, I don’t mean anything magical. All I mean is, is that early childhood education can bring more and better jobs to a state and can thereby promote higher per capita earnings for the state’s residents.

    Now, I think it’s fair to say that when people think about state and local economic development, they don’t generally think first about what they’re doing about childcare and early childhood programs. I know this. I’ve spent most of my career researching these programs. I’ve talked to a lot of directors of state economic development agencies about these issues, a lot of legislators about these issues. When legislators and others think about economic development, what they first of all think about are business tax incentives, property tax abatements, job creation tax credits, you know, there are a million of these programs all over the place. So for example, states compete very vigorously to attract new auto plants or expanded auto plants. They hand out all kinds of business tax breaks. Now, those programs can make sense if they in fact induce new location decisions, and the way they can make sense is, by creating more and better jobs, they raise employment rates, raise per capita earnings of state residents. So there is a benefit to state residents that corresponds to the costs that they’re paying by paying for these business tax breaks.

    My argument is essentially that early childhood programs can do exactly the same thing, create more and better jobs, but in a different way. It’s a somewhat more indirect way. These programs can promote more and better jobs by, you build it, you invest in high-quality preschool, it develops the skills of your local workforce if enough of them stick around, and, in turn, that higher-quality local workforce will be a key driver of creating jobs and creating higher earnings per capita in the local community.

    Now, let me turn to some numbers on this. Okay. If you look at the research evidence — that’s extensive — on how much early childhood programs affect the educational attainment, wages and skills of former participants in preschool as adults, you take those known effects, you take how many of those folks will be expected to stick around the state or local economy and not move out, and you take research on how much skills drive job creation, you will conclude, from these three separate lines of research, that for every dollar invested in early childhood programs, the per capita earnings of state residents go up by two dollars and 78 cents, so that’s a three-to-one return. Now you can get much higher returns, of up to 16-to-one, if you include anti-crime benefits, if you include benefits to former preschool participants who move to some other state, but there’s a good reason for focusing on these three dollars because this is salient and important to state legislators and state policy makers, and it’s the states that are going to have to act. So there is this key benefit that is relevant to state policy makers in terms of economic development.

    Now, one objection you often hear, or maybe you don’t hear it because people are too polite to say it, is, why should I pay more taxes to invest in other people’s children? What’s in it for me? And the trouble with that objection, it reflects a total misunderstanding of how much local economies involve everyone being interdependent. Specifically, the interdependency here is, is that there are huge spillovers of skills — that when other people’s children get more skills, that actually increases the prosperity of everyone, including people whose skills don’t change. So for example, numerous research studies have shown if you look at what really drives the growth rate of metropolitan areas, it’s not so much low taxes, low cost, low wages; it’s the skills of the area. Particularly, the proxy for skills that people use is percentage of college graduates in the area. So when you look, for example, at metropolitan areas such as the Boston area, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Silicon Valley, these areas are not doing well economically because they’re low-cost. I don’t know if you ever tried to buy a house in Silicon Valley. It’s not exactly a low-cost proposition. They are growing because they have high levels of skills. So when we invest in other people’s children, and build up those skills, we increase the overall job growth of a metro area. As another example, if we look at what determines an individual’s wages, and we do statistical exploration of that, what determines wages, we know that the individual’s wages will depend, in part, on that individual’s education, for example whether or not they have a college degree. One of the very interesting facts is that, in addition, we find that even once we hold constant, statistically, the effect of your own education, the education of everyone else in your metropolitan area also affects your wages. So specifically, if you hold constant your education, you stick in percentage of college graduates in your metro area, you will find that has a significant positive effect on your wages without changing your education at all. In fact, this effect is so strong that when someone gets a college degree, the spillover effects of this on the wages of others in the metropolitan area are actually greater than the direct effects. So if someone gets a college degree, their lifetime earnings go up by a huge amount, over 700,000 dollars. There’s an effect on everyone else in the metro area of driving up the percentage of college graduates in the metro area, and if you add that up — it’s a small effect for each person, but if you add that up across all the people in the metro area, you actually get that the increase in wages for everyone else in the metropolitan area adds up to almost a million dollars. That’s actually greater than the direct benefits of the person choosing to get education.

    Now, what’s going on here? What can explain these huge spillover effects of education? Well, let’s think about it this way. I can be the most skilled person in the world, but if everyone else at my firm lacks skills, my employer is going to find it more difficult to introduce new technology, new production techniques. So as a result, my employer is going to be less productive. They will not be able to afford to pay me as good wages. Even if everyone at my firm has good skills, if the workers at the suppliers to my firm do not have good skills, my firm is going to be less competitive competing in national and international markets. And again, the firm that’s less competitive will not be able to pay as good wages, and then, particularly in high-tech businesses, they’re constantly stealing ideas and workers from other businesses. So clearly the productivity of firms in Silicon Valley has a lot to do with the skills not only of the workers at their firm, but the workers at all the other firms in the metro area. So as a result, if we can invest in other people’s children through preschool and other early childhood programs that are high-quality, we not only help those children, we help everyone in the metropolitan area gain in wages and we’ll have the metropolitan area gain in job growth.

    Another objection used sometimes here to invest in early childhood programs is concern about people moving out. So, you know, maybe Ohio’s thinking about investing in more preschool education for children in Columbus, Ohio, but they’re worried that these little Buckeyes will, for some strange reason, decide to move to Ann Arbor, Michigan, and become Wolverines. And maybe Michigan will be thinking about investing in preschool in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and be worried these little Wolverines will end up moving to Ohio and becoming Buckeyes. And so they’ll both underinvest because everyone’s going to move out. Well, the reality is, if you look at the data, Americans aren’t as hyper-mobile as people sometimes assume. The data is that over 60 percent of Americans spend most of their working careers in the state they were born in, over 60 percent. That percentage does not vary much from state to state. It doesn’t vary much with the state’s economy, whether it’s depressed or booming, it doesn’t vary much over time. So the reality is, if you invest in kids, they will stay. Or at least, enough of them will stay that it will pay off for your state economy.

    Okay, so to sum up, there is a lot of research evidence that early childhood programs, if run in a high-quality way, pay off in higher adult skills. There’s a lot of research evidence that those folks will stick around the state economy, and there’s a lot of evidence that having more workers with higher skills in your local economy pays off in higher wages and job growth for your local economy, and if you calculate the numbers for each dollar, we get about three dollars back in benefits for the state economy. So in my opinion, the research evidence is compelling and the logic of this is compelling. So what are the barriers to getting it done?

    Well, one obvious barrier is cost. So if you look at what it would cost if every state government invested in universal preschool at age four, full-day preschool at age four, the total annual national cost would be roughly 30 billion dollars. So, 30 billion dollars is a lot of money. On the other hand, if you reflect on that the U.S.’s population is over 300 million, we’re talking about an amount of money that amounts to 100 dollars per capita. Okay? A hundred dollars per capita, per person, is something that any state government can afford to do. It’s just a simple matter of political will to do it. And, of course, as I mentioned, this cost has corresponding benefits. I mentioned there’s a multiplier of about three, 2.78, for the state economy, in terms of over 80 billion in extra earnings. And if we want to translate that from just billions of dollars to something that might mean something, what we’re talking about is that, for the average low-income kid, that would increase earnings by about 10 percent over their whole career, just doing the preschool, not improving K-12 or anything else after that, not doing anything with college tuition or access, just directly improving preschool, and we would get five percent higher earnings for middle-class kids. So this is an investment that pays off in very concrete terms for a broad range of income groups in the state’s population and produces large and tangible benefits.

    Now, that’s one barrier. I actually think the more profound barrier is the long-term nature of the benefits from early childhood programs. So the argument I’m making is, is that we’re increasing the quality of our local workforce, and thereby increasing economic development. Obviously if we have a preschool with four-year-olds, we’re not sending these kids out at age five to work in the sweatshops, right? At least I hope not. So we’re talking about an investment that in terms of impacts on the state economy is not going to really pay off for 15 or 20 years, and of course America is notorious for being a short term-oriented society. Now one response you can make to this, and I sometimes have done this in talks, is people can talk about, there are benefits for these programs in reducing special ed and remedial education costs, there are benefits, parents care about preschool, maybe we’ll get some migration effects from parents seeking good preschool, and I think those are true, but in some sense they’re missing the point.

    Ultimately, this is something we’re investing in now for the future. And so what I want to leave you with is what I think is the ultimate question. I mean, I’m an economist, but this is ultimately not an economic question, it’s a moral question: Are we willing, as Americans, are we as a society still capable of making the political choice to sacrifice now by paying more taxes in order to improve the long-term future of not only our kids, but our community? Are we still capable of that as a country? And that’s something that each and every citizen and voter needs to ask themselves. Is that something that you are still invested in, that you still believe in the notion of investment? That is the notion of investment. You sacrifice now for a return later.

    So I think the research evidence on the benefits of early childhood programs for the local economy is extremely strong. However, the moral and political choice is still up to us, as citizens and as voters.

    Thank you very much.

    [I have edited the comment to add in the link and quoatation marks. Sinc]

  10. .

    I chose to earn an income to purchase the house that supplies my children with a yard

    You’ve been fucking duped, lady.

    Your home is so expensive because of taxes. Your childcare is expensive because of regulation.

    Cut taxes, you may not need to work. Cut the regs, you could afford childcare and have no subsidies.

  11. Karen Murray

    I need to correct an inconsistency within the blog. The regulation requiring education and care services to have university trained teachers has been in place since 2004 and was not brought in under the National Regulations released in 2011. I am a Early Childhood teacher who studied at Macquarie University and have been in the profession for nearly 20 years. In that time, I have promoted and supported positive outcomes for children and assisted many families with the care and education of their most precious asset, their child. I am educated, intelligent and far from a dim-wit. Studies have shown that focusing on the early years enhances outcomes when childen reach high school and university. As for your quote from the newsletter about triangles and oranges, I believe the service is not reflecting the principles of the Early Years Learning Framework and will probably be assessed at Working Towards under the National Qualty Framework. In other words, the service is below standard and needs to improve on their practices.

  12. .

    In this talk today, I want to present a different idea for why investing in early childhood education makes sense as a public investment.

    What is the return on investment?

    My argument is essentially that early childhood programs can do exactly the same thing, create more and better jobs, but in a different way. It’s a somewhat more indirect way. These programs can promote more and better jobs by, you build it, you invest in high-quality preschool, it develops the skills of your local workforce if enough of them stick around, and, in turn, that higher-quality local workforce will be a key driver of creating jobs and creating higher earnings per capita in the local community.

    So this sounds like an input output model. Okay.

    Now, let me turn to some numbers on this. Okay. If you look at the research evidence — that’s extensive — on how much early childhood programs affect the educational attainment, wages and skills of former participants in preschool as adults, you take those known effects, you take how many of those folks will be expected to stick around the state or local economy and not move out, and you take research on how much skills drive job creation, you will conclude, from these three separate lines of research, that for every dollar invested in early childhood programs, the per capita earnings of state residents go up by two dollars and 78 cents, so that’s a three-to-one return. Now you can get much higher returns, of up to 16-to-one, if you include anti-crime benefits, if you include benefits to former preschool participants who move to some other state, but there’s a good reason for focusing on these three dollars because this is salient and important to state legislators and state policy makers, and it’s the states that are going to have to act. So there is this key benefit that is relevant to state policy makers in terms of economic development.

    So you think as adults, for every dollar spent on them as 2-5 year olds, treating toddlers as primary school children, they earn another $2.78?

    Over 20 years, this is a return of 5%. Which is less than the cost of capital.

    You’re also telling me otherwise the return from early childhood education is 1600%.

    No fucking way.

    You then clarify the benefits go to those who move away?

    I’ll give you a hint. The benefit is in moving away from a shithole.

  13. candy

    “Too right the ‘lefties’ have stuffed up but just wait to see the damage the rabid right will do. We ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”‘

    Anon, I think Tony Abbott is quite aware of the needs of very busy working mums (and dads) and also the need for affordable child care and will seek a balance. We can put our trust in him to do the right thing. He has the interests of Australians at heart, and not vote catching by just spending more and more money on dubious outcomes. So let’s wait and see.

  14. The Mount Gambier Child Care Centre Inc

    I’m not sure that Judith Sloan as an economist, who has never worked in Early Childhood Education, doesn’t lecture on the subject and couldn’t have possibly met every Child Care worker in Australia, is qualified to announce that as a collective group we are a “dim-witted” bunch with “no common sense”. If the only exposure I require, to form an opinion on a profession I know nothing about, is to experience briefly one or two of these people, then I would think that, based on Judith’s comments, I could conclude that economists are also a bunch of dim witted workers with no common sense! Sorry if I offended any economists with my “colourful language”

  15. Giffy

    4Suz Eq
    Sorry, but you’re not as ‘worthy’ as a mother who stays at home to look after her little children.
    Not saying you’re not a good mother. But you’re not as’ worthy’. No way.
    Women should stop pretending –
    ‘not full time home mum material’ really means ‘I want someone else to look after my children for me’.

    Bloody Finland. And what else is Finland famous for? the sauna?
    Would you be tempted to go and live there ..
    huh

  16. kae

    Snoopy

    Regarding the Tertiary Admission Ranking, this is to limit the number of students who can apply for a degree program.

    It is not a method to get “smart” students into courses. It’s just he higher ranked ones have the choice of what they want to do.

  17. brc

    And the trouble with that objection, it reflects a total misunderstanding of how much local economies involve everyone being interdependent. Specifically, the interdependency here is, is that there are huge spillovers of skills — that when other people’s children get more skills, that actually increases the prosperity of everyone, including people whose skills don’t change

    Trust me, I know how to spend your money better than you do.

    The siren song of socialists since Marx spent his life womanizing and spending Engels family inheritance while writing rolled-gold BS.

    Trying to roll general education into under 5 year old education is overstringing the bow somewhat.

    No doubt whatever study being quoted got the causation upside down – parents who spend extra time and money on early education would continue to spend money and time on that education throughout the child’s life. Thus that child is more likely to succeed. The family of welfare bludgers who can’t even stop their kid getting fat on junk food don’t send their kid to any education, don’t have books at home and end up with an undereducated low wage earning adult. Yet no doubt the mere fact that the former went to some type of special pre-school is cited as the reason for the disparity in outcomes.

    By all means pitch the case that extra private pre-schooling is a fat boon to people’s lives. Stuff it with PhDs and the latest fads in finger painting and charge the parents what ever you can get away with. Just kindly stop trying to railroad a government into fleecing everyone to pay for it on dubious evidence dressed up as a pitch of ‘give me a unionized job for life, please’

  18. Bibby

    Ms Sloan, since when do degrees in science, arts and economics make you an expert in early childhood education? Your comments are both arrogant and condescending. Research shows that Australia nationally does not have enough preschools for the number of pre-schoolers, it also shows that children who have attended preschool are advantaged both socially and educationally when they start school. Because of the lack of preschools available and the hours that suit working parents, a lot of parents leave their children in day care type facilities where with educated teachers they can obtain those social and intellectual skills that are needed for a good and happy start to school. All children deserve a good education not just the children of the well to do!!!

  19. sadsas

    Judith,
    As an early childhood educator I have to say I am upset by your comments. I don’t feel that they reflect personally on me, because a) I know I work hard everyday to deliver quality education to children, and b) because I am a university graduate though I went to a first rate university.

    Perhaps the reason you make such comments is because you haven’t actually seen or experienced quality early childhood education, or because you are now aware of its benefits. I invite you to come spend some time in my service, perhaps I can share with you my experiences and perspective and maybe even change your mind 🙂

  20. Kylie M

    I figured I was going to read a few comments, most of whom are horrified at the comments made by Judith Sloan made. Instead I am greeted with a plethora of comments from those who seriously do not care about the children of tomorrow.

    Firstly, families have to work, mothers, fathers, grandparents, uncles, aunties … they all have to work, where there used to be a range of family members available to care for one’s children, now there aren’t. We have to find alternatives, and those alternatives are child care.

    About me, I am a mother of three, I have an honours degree in Early Childhood Education (apparently from a second rate University, because if it was first rate I wouldn’t choose to work in childcare), I have a Masters in Social Work, I have Cert IV in Leadership and a Cert IV in Frontline Management. I am a Scout Leader, I am on the School Board at my children’s school. I have spent some time at home as a stay at home mum, I have also worked. My husband spend a few months at home when I returned to work with my eldest two children.

    I am currently the Director of a School Age Program (the least respected area of childcare). I am constantly greeted with comments such as “when are you going to get a real job”, “why are you wasting your qualifications”, “you are wasted in school age care”. Well, guess what? I have had other jobs, I have worked in a range of positions and yet I am back in Child Care. I love what I do! I am extremely good at what I do?

    I can tell you now, that at no time do my newsletters tell our families that they are learning about triangles, my newsletters explain that we are working with our local Landcare Group to care for the nature reserve next to our school, and that I teach our children to pick up rubbish that is left in the areas we visit (probably by most the commenters of this blog post). I teach children self-regulation, and ways to resolve conflict situations with other children, I show them that they are not alone in their community, and that there are many cultures that contribute to it.

    I am horrified at the ignorance that not only Judith Sloan demonstrates, but also the majority of those that have commented, about the National Quality Standard, and what this means to children’s services around Australia.

    For the haters out there, yes, my grammar may not always be perfect, nor will my spelling. I am flawed, but I am very aware of how flawed I am and I do not pretend to be knowledgeable about areas that I am not qualified in.

    But, do you know what the worst part is? This comment of mine, will attract even more haters. Someone will pick apart some grammatical error I have made, or will make some belittling comment about the lack of my mothering because I chose to be a working mother. The will say that all I do is wipe bums …. but do you know what? Your ignorance, and your hate, and your pathetic view of the world, make me glad that my children will not be anywhere near you. They will be in the care of some amazing childcare workers who will foster their growth and development and will give them the strength to stand up to idiots like you that prefer to bad mouth anyone that look at what we can do to support those that need it.

    I would also like to add, that in my service, I have a large amount of families that come because they want to have their children attend, their children ask to attend. They do not need the care, in fact some of them are stay at home mums, but they send their children because I excel at what I do!

    In fact, I will leave you with some words that one our parents recently wrote in response to their child’s portfolio that I presented with them.

    “This is S’s second year at [our service] and I have seen such growth in her confidence and learning and it is all due to the care, attention and support given to her by all the staff. The range of activities available is amazing, the staff are so attentive and they are always keen to update me on how S is doing, if she has any problems and what she has been interested in, I love this service!”

    Go on haters, do your worst. I challenge you to counteract that feedback ….

  21. Liza

    Oh Judith play nice…. Your just cranky we got a pay RISE!!!

  22. nilk, Iron Bogan

    First of all, the last word on Finland.

    Now, for those childcare workers commenting here (regardless of how many qualifications you hold), the point is not that you are dimwits.

    It’s that there is a push from unions and governments to make everyone in your chosen sphere of work get as many certificates as you have, and thereby push up costs. It costs more to employ someone with lots of letters after their name, and that has to be paid for by the customers. Or clients, if you prefer.

    Parents are finding the costs difficult enough to cope with these days, but rather than loosening the regulations (where on the wall in your kitchen you can stick up artwork if you’re a family daycare mum* for example) the government is adding to the burden.

    And because people are not happy with the costs, the government gives out the childcare rebate, so it costs the parents less right now, but parents are paying for it with higher taxes. The example above of someone with $75/day childcare getting $50 rebate is perfect. It costs that person $25/day, and the rest is paid for by my taxes.

    I’m not interested in funding other people’s childcare when I’m struggling to pay for my own.

    I don’t need the after school carer for my girl to have a slew of degrees in all forms of childcare. I don’t want learning and development programs in her after school care. I didn’t want them in her pre-school days either.

    I want her to be able to just play for a couple of hours after school until I can get there to pick her up, take her home and feed her, and hang out (doing homework, or Scouts or the rest) until bed time.

    Do you childcare workers like the idea that you can’t discipline children? You’re not supposed to call misbehaving tykes “naughty” or put them in time out lest you hurt their feelings.

    Great. So now my child has to associate with children who are ill-mannered and have no understanding of consequences. Because there are no consequences.

    But that’s okay, because the government will make sure that you all spend many months and years getting certification and will know all the regulations.

    As a parent, I want my child to be happy and have fun when she’s in care. That’s it.

    I won’t bag the lady who said that she’s not suited to being a stay-at-home mum because some of us aren’t. My mum wasn’t, and as much as I love my daughter, I don’t know that I am either. I just don’t beat up on myself about it. Plenty of others will do that for me. Some of us aren’t in the position where staying home is an option, and that situation is what it is.

    But that still doesn’t mean that every childcare worker has to have a PhD in childcare.

    It would also be interesting to see what those highly qualified early childhood educators think of this blog. I am honestly not educated enough to digest it easily, but I have friends in teaching who think it’s excellent.

  23. squawkbox

    I can tell you now, that at no time do my newsletters tell our families that they are learning about triangles, my newsletters explain that we are working with our local Landcare Group to care for the nature reserve next to our school, and that I teach our children to pick up rubbish that is left in the areas we visit (probably by most the commenters of this blog post). I teach children self-regulation, and ways to resolve conflict situations with other children, I show them that they are not alone in their community, and that there are many cultures that contribute to it.

    Oh for Fuck’s sake, I was taught to pick up rubbish, self-regulation, resolving conflict yadda yadda yadda at a preschool age by people without any letters after their name at all. Take your bullshit qualifications and stick them where the sun don’t shine.

  24. Julian Lynch

    Could you tell me where the Child Care services are that are charging $120 to $150 per day because I might go and apply for a job there. I remember back in the late eighties parents handing over huge sums of money and there was NO GOVERNMENT assistance. Also even today sure it seems like a parent is been charged alot but I can tell you alot of those costs go to fulfilling the compliance of the government regulations. To be able to administer and pass on that Child Care rebate centres have no end of hoops to jump through. Immunisation, records keeping , comply with this and that regulation.
    What about the children??? Who? What are they? What do they have to do with this? Well to the people on the ground caring for them .. they have everything to do with it.

  25. Infidel Tiger

    Go on haters, do your worst. I challenge you to counteract that feedback ….

    You seem to have quite a few issues, so I am glad you at least have a job you like.

    That said, you going to uni was a waste of my tax dollars and your time. You would e doing the same standard work regardless and the kiddies would be just as happy.

    Now take it easy. Nap time isn’t just for the young ones.

  26. Anon

    [This comment is from a person called susiet. Have a go at Judith by all means but you’re not publishing abuse like that here. Try the ABC for that sort of thing. Sinc]

  27. candy

    “They do not need the care, in fact some of them are stay at home mums, but they send their children because I excel at what I do!”

    Kylie – do any of the children feel rejected if mum puts them in care even when she’s at home not working?

  28. Sophie

    ^Giffy, other than saying I think you’re really mean, answer me this. Do you have kids? Do you stay at home with them? If so, from where do you derive income?

  29. wreckage

    I am currently the Director of a School Age Program (the least respected area of childcare). I am constantly greeted with comments such as “when are you going to get a real job”, “why are you wasting your qualifications”, “you are wasted in school age care”. Well, guess what? I have had other jobs, I have worked in a range of positions and yet I am back in Child Care. I love what I do! I am extremely good at what I do?

    And I sincerely appreciate what you do. But a National Framework type approach has repeatedly failed, because it is actually a National Phone Book Of Check Boxes That You Have To Fill In Rather Than Doing Your Job. It will make people like you LESS productive.

    I am genuinely on-side with you regarding the lack of respect you get. With one exception, any time we have needed child care we have found enthusiastic and professional carers. But I don’t see how making those people take four years to add a degree, and then a day a week or more filling out never-checked but totally-mandatory paperwork, is going to make them better people or better at their job. If I have a choice between somebody with basic training, and outgoing personality and some years experience on one hand, and a stuffed shirt with a degree carrying out the strict dictat of a dickhead in a Department 200 miles away, I know which I am going to choose. I am pretty confident which YOU would choose, too.

    And if you are good at your job and you love it, do not listen to the bureaucrats telling you how much more respect they’re going to win you. You’ll do less of your job, much more of theirs, and they, not you, will get paid for it; because everytime you spend less time doing your job, with kids, with staff, in order to police compliance and self-report… THEY get paid. THEY hit their laughably-named productivity measures. They get that from stopping you from doing your job, and you will get not one jot of genuine respect from them.

  30. Catharine Hydon

    So much of what is wrtitten here against the reforms in early childhood education (eg wreckage) is utterly misinformed and indicates a complete lack of knowledge of the sector, the work of early education and the implementation of the reforms. The evidence is overwhelming and eloquently quoted in previous posts. It is unfortunate that we as a sector have not been more successful in ensuring that the community understands this, but i guess we were getting on with our job…supporting young children to learn and grow rather than an elaborate information campaign.

    I know the implementaion of the reforms well and it has worked and is working and the lives of children and indeed whole communities will benefit from the work that is being undertaken.
    I suggest that those who are bagging the process find out more about it from those involved.

    And Ms Sloan… I assume your comment about the dim-witted child care worker is now understood as a foolish mistake and one that you regret. I look forward to your aplology.

  31. Anon

    [This comment is from a person called susiet. Have a go at Judith by all means but you’re not publishing abuse like that here. Try the ABC for that sort of thing. Sinc]

    Thankyou Sinclair.
    Just for the benefit of other discussion participants, this “susiet Anon” was not me as the original “Anon” poster on this thread. I did not see what this person posted. Cheers.

  32. nilk, Iron Bogan.

    Wow, Catharine, thanks for your informed dialogue.

    I guess those of us parents who are also your (potential) customers don’t have a dog in this fight, since you so blithely disregard our views on this issue.

    No doubt, all of your years of experience trump ours as parents. Oops. There’s that word again.

    Perhaps we should be called end users, or stakeholders, and provide powerpoint presentations that outline our KTAs.

    – Is my child happy?
    – Is my child happy?
    – Does my child get to play in childcare?
    – Is my child happy?

    Will that do? I didn’t want my child in a learning program at 3 and 4. I wanted her in child care.

  33. United Voice is the Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) sector union.

    Judith’s characterisation of ECEC employees as “dim-witted” is a pretty low blow to a sector that is underpaid for the valuable contribution they make to children’s lives. Just when United Voice and its supporters and allies are trying to do something positive for the sector by talking about quality outcomes for children, along comes this right-wing attack on decent folk.

  34. .

    It’s also a low blow to pretend that you represent the working class.

  35. .

    I know the implementaion of the reforms well and it has worked and is working and the lives of children and indeed whole communities will benefit from the work that is being undertaken.

    No love.

    They do fingerpainting, which I am sure helps their development, but doesn’t require uni grads to ovwersee, even if the pedagogical theory and psychology behind it is quite complex.

    Ditto, we don’t need bus drivers to be mechanical engineers.

    I’m sure you’ll apologise by trying to rip off families and the taxpayer with a gold plated feather bedding scheme.

  36. Helen

    Have any of the people commenting about how unnecessary it is to have a framework for 2 year olds, actually read it? It is a guide for educators, not a curriculum. No 2 year old is forced to learn anything they don’t want to learn. It is all about PLAY and being HAPPY.

    And as for the comments about why degree qualified educators are needed to teach toddlers….they’re not. Most degree qualified teachers implement the kinder program – similar to a kinder program children may receive at a sessional kindergarten or pre-school. Do not all children deserve the same expertise the year before they start school? Kinder shouldn’t be for those alone who have a stay at home Mum ready to drop them off and pick them up and all hours of the day.

    Being a parent, doesn’t make you an expert on early childhood education. I know this because I am a parent and an early childhood educator. From a rather good University by the way.

    Oh, and based on my salary I really doubt my wages are the reasons for fee hikes. I live in Inner Melbourne and my sons centre charges $88 a day. I also get a % off that and then 50% back again. So I find the costs quite reasonable. This $150 a day business is a lie.

    [Abuse edited out. Sinc]

  37. Tiny Dancer

    “quality outcomes” in this situation doesn’t require a university education. Dim witted may be a little harsh but if you have a university education and you work in child care it’s a fair bet that you are dim witted. Makes sense.

  38. .

    Do not all children deserve the same expertise the year before they start school?

    “Expertise”. Everything a kid learns in preschool is covered in stage 0-1 at primary school.

    FFS

    You are really talking your book, lady.

    Have any of the people commenting about how unnecessary it is to have a framework for 2 year olds, actually read it? It is a guide for educators, not a curriculum. No 2 year old is forced to learn anything they don’t want to learn. It is all about PLAY and being HAPPY.

    Then…why the fuck do they need a bloody framework?

  39. Tiny Dancer

    From a rather good University by the way

    Tragic waste of that experience.

  40. Sol Ibrahim

    I am an Early Childhood Teacher, and CEO of a not-for-profit early childhood education and care organisation. We have an educator workforce of around 250, mainly women. Qualifications range from those studying for the soon to be mandatory Certificate III, to Masters and Honours degrees. I am disappointed that this debate has it’s genesis based on factual errors and a passing interest in the topic, based on a few personal observations, non of which are the actual experiences of Ms Sloan.

    Firstly, not every ‘educator’ is required to hold a degree. Childcare Centres will typically have to have 1 or 2 graduates, who will lead the curriculum for the entire service, for perhaps 20 or more educators. The minimum qualification will be a Certificate III. Experience is recognised, resulting in many workers rightfully gaining their Certificate with relative ease. I challenge any parent with no experience to care for 4 babies or a group of 10 pre-schoolers on their own. We can rightfully debate when formal ‘education’ should start, and obviously its content will change according to age. But ‘Early Childhood Education’ is much more complicated than ‘teaching’. Understanding the developing mind, socialisation, motor and perceptual development, language, cognition and emotions are the daily responsibilities of qualified Educators. It is of course much easier if you have one or two children. When you have 10, it takes real skill and knowledge. In the past, children learned necessary skills from specialists within their tribe or village. Today, children need very different skills, families are small, and parents must work. Parents have been sending their children to preschool for decades for learning. No one wants a dim-witted graduate from a second rate university doing more than basic care. It doesn’t take higher economics degrees to figure that out. The vast majority of Early Childhood graduates are in fact deeply motivated teachers, fascinated by the miracle of leaning that occurs during the first 5 years of human life. Sadly, my research has revealed that around 15% of pre-school children have some developmental delay or problem. The reasons are well understood, and relate directly to the Western social problems that appear on the news every night. We need highly qualified Educators now, more than ever before.

    I am so lucky to be able to watch my children grow, and ‘see’ what is happening to their mind, senses and consciousness in ways that others do not. I highly recommend a career in Early Childhood development, not for the money, not because the working conditions are great, but only if you want to make one of the most important contributions possible to our society, and of course because you think kids are wonderful.

  41. nilk, Iron Bogan.

    I challenge any parent with no experience to care for 4 babies or a group of 10 pre-schoolers on their own.

    Because there have never been any large families with young children, and mothers have never, ever, gotten in the habit of caring for each other’s little tackers in groups.

    I live in Inner Melbourne and my sons centre charges $88 a day. I also get a % off that and then 50% back again

    So it’s quite reasonable for you to pay nowhere near the posted $88 due to the taxpayers giving money back to you via rebates. nb. I get those rebates also. Just pointing out that so many people don’t seem to comprehend that they aren’t actually spending $88/day.

  42. Gab

    Just pointing out that so many people don’t seem to comprehend that they aren’t actually spending $88/day

    I don’t begrudge supporting low-income single parents receiving my taxes to supplement their childcare fees as long as those single parents are doing it so they can go to work.

  43. Infidel Tiger

    I live in Inner Melbourne and my sons centre charges $88 a day. I also get a % off that and then 50% back again. So I find the costs quite reasonable. This $150 a day business is a lie.

    Yes, we know. The taxpayer is paying for your kids.

    We’re a little bit sick of picking up the tab for other people’s life decisions.

  44. wreckage

    Childcare Centres will typically have to have 1 or 2 graduates, who will lead the curriculum for the entire service, for perhaps 20 or more educators.

    And in small towns? And for in-home daycare? I am not by any means against there being university educated… educators… in the system. I am against increased bureaucratic oversight and legislative bloat, since these things demonstrably and universally damage the sector they are active in.

    Look, there are already plenty of small-and-micro scaled providers who used to provide a useful service but are now exiting the industry due to the legislative burden. This needs to be stopped or reversed, not exacerbated. Word from the CEO of an NFP is all very well, but where are the independents, sole traders and micro scaled providers defending this move?

    Let me take this opportunity to distance myself from any characterization of anyone as dim-witted. That’s a stupid polemical tone to take.

    If any of you can address my points I would be happy; please ignore the noise.

  45. Sol Ibrahim

    We operate both rural and city services, including Family Day Care (in-home day care). The National standards are applied differently to small services (no Graduate required in-house), and Family Day Care Educators are supported by an Educational Leader. We have no evidence of damage caused by bureaucratic oversight & legislative bloat. It should be remembered that we have had more than 10 years of Accreditation, which was very demanding. The National Framework replaces Accreditation and rationalises licensing. We got through QA, and I think on the balance, the sector improved, especially those services that needed to. National standards which include family day care have lifted quality and recognition, consequently attracting many more qualified self-employed Educators. I agree that as a nation we need to have a general discussion about the limits of regulation. Childcare is not the only industry that is being increasingly regulated, and as such, it is not in my experience being adversely signalled out.

  46. wreckage

    Childcare is not the only industry that is being increasingly regulated,

    Indeed, and I said as much out of my experience elsewhere and general principle. My own experience with industry regulation is that there are problems, and then ten years after those problems were dealt with there is still a parasitic quasi-industry churning out more red tape, year on year, because in effect those responsible for churning it out will lose their jobs if it ever stops.

    So my reaction two this is motivated in part by two things: 1. I have recently seen what is either bureaucratic overreach OR regulatory capture have horrible and irreversible effects on people very close to me, and 2. it is a matter of empirical science that the current government cannot get anything right.

    Beyond that, IMO national frameworks are generally speaking a poor approach. Local or state based regulation is messier and more difficult for large organizations, but allows for competition and die-out between legislative structures, such that those most parasitised and dysfunctional may eventually disappear; once established at the Federal level the dysfunction is forced on all equally and so no discernment between options is possible; thereafter either stasis with ongoing overburden, or politicisation amounting to de-facto nationalisation, are likely to occur.

  47. Jarrah

    “this “susiet Anon” was not me”

    The gravatars ensure people with the same pseudonym but different IPs are distinguishable.

  48. Kate Alder

    Judith, I can only question your common sense and logic in arguing against qualifications in the child care sector. You have tertiary qualifications which were once not deemed necessary. After all, economies have not always required economics graduates to function but perhaps you don’t acknowledge the benefit that the study of economics has brought to the economy. Hmm… maybe you think that running a business … running a country is the same as running a family budget and that families are perfectly able to manage their own financial affairs alone. So why do we need university qualified economists?
    I also question your agenda and your values in labelling child care workers, as a group, as dim-witted. On what is this based? I wonder if you will take up the offers to meet child care workers from the child care centres that have responded to your outrageous generalisation. I am as appalled as you are that any early childhood centre would be “teaching” triangles and colours in isolation. Your relatives should be voicing their concerns just as they would if they felt that their school aged children were being presented with meaningless activities such as colouring in as language learning experiences. I challenge you to deny that this never happens in schools but I don”t hear you protesting about the university qualifications of primary school teachers. Surely the point is that we need to do whatever we can to improve our education and care services for children of all ages instead of making derogatory generalisations about child care workers and by inference, the families who entrust them with the care of their children. I, for one, would prefer to see children in the care of the child care workers I know rather than being exposed to people who make ill-informed judgements and seem to be incapable of expressing their views without disparaging others. The social learning that experienced, tertiary educated child care workers assist young children to navigate should not be under-estimated. Is social capital a factor in any of your economic thinking, Judith? People who care for children need and deserve the support of the wider community. They always have. I take pride in the role that my centre has in working in partnership with families in the care of their children and object to being categorised as dim-witted! Kate Alder, Aldinga Community Children’s Centre

  49. Nora Miller

    I can’t help but conclude that people who make such broad negative condescending statements about such a vast segment of the workforce (whom they haven’t met), must be sad in spirit and shallow in all things that matter. A ‘big degree’ or a ‘little degree’ isn’t as important as the love, compassion, hugs, interest and care that myself and thousands like me give to children. It’s a miss conception that we can be all things to all children – that is the roll of the parent.
    your comments “So instead of diversity and choice, it is consistency across the country” – actually we embrace diversity.

  50. Sara

    Judith what a completely uneducated stereotype of an industry of workers. I watched your justification of this comment on q and a and wonder do you actually know if that child care worker had a degree? Exactly how any people have you personally experienced who you are basing this judgement on?

    I have a four year bachelor of early childhood studies, from Melbourne University. I have worked with many many individuals in this industry who have been university trained and tafe trained and the majority of these people are amazing, hardworking and dedicated people, working to make a difference in children’s lives. Yes like every other industry there are some that lack commons sense. But I emphasise the point that this is like every other industry. Take Australian politics at the moment…

    Please if you wish to comment on this topic please do a little first hand research first.

  51. Vienna

    Its really great that so many people feel passionate enough about the state of our early childhood education to comment on it on a hastily put together blog post by this commentator. Unfortunately the post cites no research except for anecdotes and limited personal experience at best.

    Its disheartening to read the intellect of the people (the vast majority of whom are women by the way) doing early childhood teaching degrees belittled and trashed. The respect shown here for early childhood teachers must help the sector’s shortage a lot. I can just imagine some of our highest ranking HSC students reading this post and thinking to themselves “I’d like to be an ECT teacher when I graduate, its such a prestigious and well respected profession!” Even more disturbing are the comments questioning the value of early childhood education itself. From what I can gather many people on this post seem to feel that early childhood teachers are superfluous and expensive. Why pay more for a tertiary educated teacher when you can get the same service from someone who is either untrained or did a relatively less rigorous TAFE course right? When all that is needed is someone to mind the children so that they don’t hurt themselves while they play, can change nappies as needed and to be on hand during mealtimes.

    We all understand that everybody is on a tight budget, that the cost of living is high and families would like for early childhood education and care to be cheaper. But here are the facts: early childhood teachers are already underpaid relative to other teachers. You are already getting a bargain folks. It doesn’t get any lower than this for trained professionals. Research based evidence shows us that early childhood education is critical and important. Do you know that according to neuroscience a lot of the wiring that happens in the human brain occurs under the age of 5? If you miss that window of opportunity you WILL affect your child’s future prospects and opportunities for life.

    High quality early childhood education is costly to implement to begin with but far cheaper in the long run in comparison to the cost to the community of the loss of income from unemployment, mental health problem, crime rate and social maladjustment that results from a poor start in life. Decent early childhood education can ameliorate the many educational, emotional and social problems brought on by poverty – especially if the disadvantaged child attends a preschool that has children from a mix of social backgrounds.

    There is a longitudinal study that came out of the UK called The Effective Provision of Pre-School
    Education [EPPE] Project. http://eppe.ioe.ac.uk/eppe/eppepdfs/bera1.pdf

    It ran for 6 years and tracked 3000 children. It is probably the most important and comprehensive study done so far on early childhood education worldwide. Here is a direct quote on teacher qualification and the quality of preschool provision: “There was a significant relationship between the quality of a centre and improved outcomes for
    children. There was also a positive relationship between the qualification levels of the staff and
    ratings of centre quality. The higher the qualification of staff, particular the manager of the
    centre, the more progress children made. Having qualified trained teachers working with
    children in pre-school settings (for a substantial proportion of time, and most importantly as the
    pedagogical leader) had the greatest impact on quality, and was linked specifically with better
    outcomes in pre-reading and social development.” This is not an ideologically driven partisan BS – it is a rigorous objective research based evidence.

    Be an economic rationalist if you must but realize that in the long run what is expensive now – will actually ends up cheaper in the long run for your family and the community.

  52. Vienna

    Its really great that so many people feel passionate enough about the state of our early childhood education to comment on it on a hastily put together blog post by this commentator. Unfortunately the post cites no research except for anecdotes and limited personal experience at best.

    Its disheartening to read the intellect of the people (the vast majority of whom are women by the way) doing early childhood teaching degrees belittled and trashed. The respect shown here for early childhood teachers must help the sector’s shortage a lot. I can just imagine some of our highest ranking HSC students reading this post and thinking to themselves “I’d like to be an ECT teacher when I graduate, its such a prestigious and well respected profession!” Even more disturbing are the comments questioning the value of early childhood education itself. From what I can gather many people on this post seem to feel that early childhood teachers are superfluous and expensive. Why pay more for a tertiary educated teacher when you can get the same service from someone who is either untrained or did a relatively less rigorous TAFE course right? When all that is needed is someone to mind the children so that they don’t hurt themselves while they play, can change nappies as needed and to be on hand during mealtimes.

    We all understand that everybody is on a tight budget, that the cost of living is high and families would like for early childhood education and care to be cheaper. But here are the facts: early childhood teachers are already underpaid relative to other teachers. You are already getting a bargain folks. It doesn’t get any lower than this for trained professionals. Research based evidence shows us that early childhood education is critical and important. Do you know that according to neuroscience a lot of the wiring that happens in the human brain occurs under the age of 5? If you miss that window of opportunity you WILL affect your child’s future prospects and opportunities for life.

    High quality early childhood education is costly to implement to begin with but far cheaper in the long run in comparison to the cost to the community of the loss of income from unemployment, mental health problem, crime rate and social maladjustment that results from a poor start in life. Decent early childhood education can ameliorate the many educational, emotional and social problems brought on by poverty – especially if the disadvantaged child attends a preschool that has children from a mix of social backgrounds.

    There is a longitudinal study that came out of the UK called The Effective Provision of Pre-School
    Education [EPPE] Project. http://eppe.ioe.ac.uk/eppe/eppepdfs/bera1.pdf

    It ran for 6 years and tracked 3000 children. It is probably the most important and comprehensive study done so far on early childhood education worldwide. Here is a direct quote on teacher qualification and the quality of preschool provision: “There was a significant relationship between the quality of a centre and improved outcomes for
    children. There was also a positive relationship between the qualification levels of the staff and
    ratings of centre quality. The higher the qualification of staff, particular the manager of the
    centre, the more progress children made. Having qualified trained teachers working with
    children in pre-school settings (for a substantial proportion of time, and most importantly as the
    pedagogical leader) had the greatest impact on quality, and was linked specifically with better
    outcomes in pre-reading and social development.” This is not an ideologically driven or partisan statements – it is a rigorous objective research based evidence.

    Be an economic rationalist if you must but realize that in the long run what is expensive now – will actually ends up cheaper in the long run for your family and the community.

  53. John Mc

    Be an economic rationalist if you must but realize that in the long run what is expensive now – will actually ends up cheaper in the long run for your family and the community.

    Doesn’t it always when you’re dealing with Left-nomics? It’s like economics, but we call all government spending ‘investment’ and we measure the return in the number of public servants and subsidised wages.

  54. JC

    Sara

    Judith what a completely uneducated stereotype of an industry of workers. I watched your justification of this comment on q and a and wonder do you actually know if that child care worker had a degree? Exactly how any people have you personally experienced who you are basing this judgement on?

    I have a four year bachelor of early childhood studies, from Melbourne University.

    That’s the problem with government subsidized education. All sorts of crazy degrees spring up

  55. John Mc

    “There was a significant relationship between the quality of a centre and improved outcomes for
    children.

    No shit. That study needed to run for “6 years and tracked 3000 children”?

    You should have given the money spent on that study to the parents of the 3000 children, it would have been a better ‘investment’ for the children!

  56. Infidel Tiger

    I have a four year bachelor of early childhood studies, from Melbourne University.

    Woopdeedoo. People spend 2 years learning to make coffee these days

  57. Vienna

    “No shit. That study needed to run for “6 years and tracked 3000 children”? You should have given the money spent on that study to the parents of the 3000 children, it would have been a better ‘investment’ for the children!”

    Firstly you are saying “no shit” and yet half the people commenting on this post would prefer a lower quality centres with untrained or less trained educators – because it is cheaper. Don’t get me wrong I think TAFE educated educators are amazing and they work very hard. But you do raise the quality of centres if you have pedagogical leaders on board providing educational direction and content not just care (please see the EPPE study). It was a longitudinal study. Longitudinal studies are used by researchers because it tracks changes through time and shows that the effects are consistent and long term not one off events. This makes the study more valid not less. You need a large sample to ensure that the outcome you are tracking are representative and generalizable to the rest of the community – not peculiar to an individual child or a small handful of children. A large sample makes the EPPE study more robust and comprehensive. Studies like these are expensive but are needed to convince policy makers and the rest of the community (people like you) to invest in early childhood education, because otherwise (judging from your comments) you would not. Lets thank the UK for paying for the research.

  58. candy

    I feel concerned that 3 and 4 year olds are being forced into structured learning.
    You can hardly get a healthy child to sit still for 10 minutes – that’s natural for most.
    I hope they’re not going to end up nervous because they know they expected to learn letters and numbers but emotionally and intellectually they are not ready.
    Children develop at their own pace as nature intended. You should read every night to your child a story they love to hear (over and over again even!) and perhaps a counting song sometimes – that’ s enough for the little ones.

  59. Gab

    I feel concerned that 3 and 4 year olds are being forced into structured learning.

    I don’t blame you as it’s all very robotic, intrusive and unnatural. Why anyone needs a degree to change nappies, hand out paper and paint for finger painting is a mystery to me.

  60. John Mc

    Quite obviously the more you pay (usually) the better quality you will get. This is hardly revolutionary, and if that’s the conclusion of the study it’s kind of hard to see it as anything else but just another subsidised sheltered workshop for some level of less-than-remarkable academic. But I digress…..

    If you take money off parents to pay for better childcare, either directly or through taxes, you are taking money from somewhere else that it could be spent. I personally rate the parents ability to allocate those funds to where they will do the best for the child, more than I rate yours or the governments.

    Secondly, subsidies always have an adverse affect in addition to any other affect they may have. If you say to a person or company “you don’t have to earn all the money you take, people should be forced to pay extra for your product or service” you will get some level of downside or drop in the quality, because without a doubt someone is going to be thinking “I don’t have to provide the same level of service, you still have to pay me”. It’s just human nature.

    Thirdly, you are assuming that everybody wants the same sort of service for their children. They don’t. Some people just want play and socialisation. Some people want the full program. Some people just want half a day a week while the parents run errands, and just want cheap and safe. By regulating the crap out of the whole system you deny parents these options and regulate out providers who want to provide them to willing parents but it’s against the law.

  61. twostix

    Don’t get me wrong I think TAFE educated educators are amazing and they work very hard.

    lol

    The entire result of Judith calling some hypothetical university graduates dimwits has been one long outpouring of shit by some dimwitted university graduates towards 99.9% of TAFE educated daycare workers in Australia.

    Like I said in the other thread, the entirety of these (all disturbingly similar) “outrage” rants can be distilled down to: “Hey those TAFE graduates are wonderful but I wouldn’t want them anywhere near my kid, they don’t even have a university degree, they should be fired”.

    As an aside can someone tell me how many units the Art of Cutting Fruit module is? Can you minor in face painting?

  62. Vienna

    “I feel concerned that 3 and 4 year olds are being forced into structured learning.
    You can hardly get a healthy child to sit still for 10 minutes – that’s natural for most.
    I hope they’re not going to end up nervous because they know they expected to learn letters and numbers but emotionally and intellectually they are not ready.
    Children develop at their own pace as nature intended.”

    Hi Candy please have a look at the Early Years Learning Framework which educators uses as a guide to develop their individual curriculum. http://foi.deewr.gov.au/system/files/doc/other/belonging_being_and_becoming_the_early_years_learning_framework_for_australia.pdf

    The framework is very child centred. The curriculum is emergent which means it is based on each child’s own interest. Do you know what early childhood teachers do everyday? They observe each child and then write an analysis of their observation based on what they know about child development. Based on these observations and analysis they then develop individual lesson plans and the curriculum for the class. Its a lot of work. And this is before they even implement what they have observed and planned for.

    If you look at the learning outcomes in the framework you would see that one of the outcomes teachers are asked to address is the social and emotional well-being of the child. The teacher wouldn’t do an activity if he or she didn’t think it was not developmentally appropriate or would cause the child emotional distress. This is why you would want your educators to have as much training and education as possible – because you are giving them the responsibility to make these kinds of judgement calls.

    Also the framework is underpinned by play-based learning. The underlying thrust of early childhood education in this country is that learning happens best when it is fun for the child. We are trying to encourage intrinsic motivation and love of learning from an early child. In practice the learning can happen in many different ways – it can be through organising learning environments, using holistic teaching, using intentional teaching etc. The structure is actually very flexible.

  63. Vienna

    sorry that was meant to read “We are trying to encourage intrinsic motivation and love of learning from an early age”

  64. Gab

    The entire result of Judith calling some hypothetical university graduates dimwits has been one long outpouring of shit by some dimwitted university graduates towards 99.9% of TAFE educated daycare workers in Australia.

    Clearly they place a great deal of importance on Judith’s opinion and hang off her every word.

    But yeah, I think it has long passed the “uni grads doth protest too much” stage. Obviously what Judith said had a great deal of truth to it.

  65. Vienna

    “As an aside can someone tell me how many units the Art of Cutting Fruit module is? Can you minor in face painting?”

    Since you are not listening to reasoned argument and already have your minds made up as to the uselessness of early childhood degrees – I’d like to challenge the lot of you to enroll in an early childhood education degree next year. If you are snobby about second rate universities then I suggest going to the University of Sydney. Its one of the Group of Eight university attended by reasonably smart students last time I checked. Macquarie Uni has a pretty great reputation in early childhood teaching too. According to one of the other comments you can even do it at the University of Melbourne too. Is that one of the Group of Eight as well? Oh yes it is… Once you do that then lets come back here and talk about all these issues once again and not before then. Because so far all I am hearing is uninformed arguments people are hastily making up as they go.

  66. John Mc

    And I’m hearing is motherhood statements:

    “this is why you would want your educators to have as much training and education as possible – because you are giving them the responsibility to make these kinds of judgement calls.”

    No shit. I would like all professionals I rely upon “to have as much education and training as possible” when it’s what I need. You could apply this to any profession and justify with some potential benefit. But that still doesn’t constitute an argument to subsidise that profession, regulate alternatives out of existence, or completely ignore the downsides of your approach.

  67. squawkbox

    How did any of us 40+ year olds ever manage to become functioning adults without having our diapers changed by Ph.Ds?

  68. John Mc

    Well that raises a good point. At what stage should we insist each day care centre has at least one staff member with a masters degree?

  69. Gab

    I’m surprised the regulations don’t call for a psychologist at each day care centre, yet.

  70. twostix

    I feel concerned that 3 and 4 year olds are being forced into structured learning.

    Didn’t you see above Candy? You can rest assured they’re definitely not doing any learning. No, all of this: the massive state expansion, insane credentialism and creepy psychobabble involving “mentors” and “advisors” is only to teach toddlers to “play” and “be happy”. Achieving these things obviously requires a university degree to master.

  71. Infidel Tiger

    Every kid should have their own physician and jester.

  72. John Mc

    Just don’t ask for a visiting chaplain to check on the kids welfare. That certainly couldn’t be allowed.

  73. twostix

    Back here in reality 65% of toddlers have never stepped foot in a formal daycare and only about 30% of the 35% who have attended spend any significant amount of time in there. So I would dearly love to know what our esteemed Daycare specialists think the prospects for the majority of children in this country, who have never even been near a Formal Daycare are given the terrible forecast they predict if children aren’t afforded the wonders of university educated “educators” at age 3. Terribly, terribly bleak if one listened to the above hysterical idiocy.

  74. Gab

    Those numbers are for 2008. It would be interesting to see the ABS data for 2012.

  75. twostix

    Those numbers are for 2008. It would be interesting to see the ABS data for 2012.

    Given that the numbers barely changed from 1999 – 2008 I’d say the difference is marginal.

    The fact of the matter is the vast majority of toddlers in this nation are being “denied” by their evil stay at home mothers or grandparent carers access to tertiary educated “educators”. According to the above “specialists” this state of affairs is a disaster of epic proportions and the future of this nation is bleak unless those babies are forced into formal daycares and early learning frameworks post-haste.

  76. Gab

    According to the above “specialists” this state of affairs is a disaster of epic proportions and the future of this nation is bleak unless those babies are forced into formal daycares and early learning frameworks post-haste.

    No doubt the OECD or somesuch will come out with yet another report calling for toddlers to be indoctrinated into the pre-school system for learning becuase hey, kids really shouldn’t have a childhood and just play. They must pre-learn before they learn.

  77. twostix

    No doubt the OECD or somesuch will come out with yet another report calling for toddlers to be indoctrinated into the pre-school system for learning becuase hey, kids really shouldn’t have a childhood and just play. They must pre-learn before they learn.

    Hey, woah, wait now. Who said anything about “learning”? What they’re doing is teaching babies to “play” but not just play, to play correctly.

    It’s for the good of the future economy.

    Jokes aside, it’s already happening Gab. Even here how can the above “arguments” come to any other logical conclusion? They outright say it: Not having access to tertiary educated “educators” is bad for children, they even have “reasearch” from the third world toilet known as the UK. Where can they go from that but to arguing for the compulsion of all children into “early learning” to be “educated” in…play?

  78. Vienna

    “How did any of us 40+ year olds ever manage to become functioning adults without having our diapers changed by Ph.Ds?”

    Why do I even bother commenting on a right wing blog with its right wing zombies? I was hoping that reasoned argument and research based evidence can have its day and thought it important to reach out to the rest of the community as someone studying what is being discussed. But alas! I just lost several hours of my life I can’t take back, responding to these comments. Do you know what a good sign of intelligence is? Being open minded. Listening to arguments. Weighing up what has been said – instead of repeating ad nauseum your own petty beliefs.

    Someone doing a PhD in early childhood would probably be looking for a career in academia rather than as an educator at a centre or a preschool. So even in your mockery your logic is still piss weak and absurd.

    From 2019 I think the law is if you have less than 60 students (for example 59) all you need is 1 – yes all of 1 tertiary trained early childhood teacher. The rest can be made up of TAFE educators with a minimum of Cert III. If you have more than 60 students then you need a 2nd tertiary educated teacher some of the time, and all of the time if you have 80 or more students. Do your sums – its not that much more in wages considering the wage of an early childhood teacher is not that much to begin with.

  79. twostix

    right wing zombies?

    I like the way all of these supposedly politically unmotivated and disinterested “daycare workers” are also fully versed in the language of the political left.

  80. Helen Armstrong

    d that I teach our children to pick up rubbish that is left in the areas we visit (

    I have grave concerns that three year olds are encouraged to pick up other people’s rubbish. How are they to judge the risk in picking up, say, a used syringe vs a lunch wrap? How do you handle hygiene on such rubbish excursions? Do you wash their dirty little hands immediately or do you let them lick the dirt off?

    I sincerely hope you have conducted an OHS risk assessment and that the three year olds have been properly inducted before each rubbish excursion, because I am not so sure their retention rates would be developed enough for just the single induction at beginning of childcare.

  81. John Mc

    From 2019 I think the law is if you have less than 60 students (for example 59) all you need is 1 – yes all of 1 tertiary trained early childhood teacher.

    So this one person is going to apply their professional knowledge and design programs for 59 toddlers? They’re going to do nothing different to what a standard administrator does now in a childcare centre. This is just a protected gig for someone with an Arts degree with a few psychology subjects, and drives up the price of childcare disproportionately compared to the real value they offer. What’s more, a protected setup like this will eventually breed a bunch of useless bureaucrats as childcare centres recruit a token degree holder to comply with the law, and get them run reception or something while they employ actual ‘workers’ to work with the 59 kids. Within a few years there will be a bunch of people who have got very comfortable bleeding this little gig dry while lobbying the government to increase their pay because,…..well,….children are the future.

    Parents who need a professional to work with their kids seek them out. There is already welfare for people who have kids who need this option. The ‘one degree holder for 59 kids’ will be where all the useless ones go that no one wants to seek out.

    The Libs need to reform this industry and start getting rid if some of this crap when they form government.

  82. Appalled

    Judith, I am absolutely appalled and outraged with your ignorant and insolent comments. Your comments are purely unfounded and are based on nothing but your own bias and stereotypical assumptions. Some of the comments made here are absolutely unwarranted and unjustified. Judith (and all the other haters), have you ever entered early childhood settings and spend a prolonged period of time observing what actually happens there before jumping into such pathetic conclusions? What do you know about Early Childhood Education? Do you know the content of the Early Childhood teaching courses? Are you aware of the learning that Early Childhood Teachers undertake and the impacts this has on the child? Judith, who are you to even judge what a first rate or second rate university is if you can’t even back up your own statements with logic, reasoning or research.

  83. Rebecca

    What’s the difference between a politician and a children’s educator?

    A children’s educator can run a centre at a profit and be civil to each other, unlike our dimwitted politicians.

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