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Is There Quality Childcare For Babies?


"It sounds like the Children’s Commissioner, John Angus is trying to frighten parents", says Fiona Hughes, General Manager Development & Quality of Kidicorp, NZ’s largest private childcare provider.
“Statements that children are in the care of strangers whether they are in childcare or using an in-home caregiver is not a true reflection of either sector.
“There has been extensive research done around the world about childcare for under 2’s. What might be far more useful is if the commissioner was to provide parents with some of the research into what constitutes quality childcare so they know what to look for.
It’s not a debate about whether mum is best- the real debate should be about ensuring parents know the difference between a quality centre or not.
“For some parents staying home isn’t a choice so making a mum feel bad about what she is doing is irresponsible. There is also some research out of America that a child is better off in quality childcare than in an unstable home. Some studies even say that quality childcare gives children from impoverished homes advantages such as intellectual growth.
“One of the critical aspects of taking care of a baby in childcare is the partnership with parents. Our teachers develop close relationships with parents so that they know how to best support children and they share experiences of what is happening in the child’s development and encourage the same from parents.
“Kidicorp employs specialized teachers trained in looking after babies, who know how to care for and support children’s brain development. We understand this is a critical time in life and we allow each child to follow their own rhythm. Our centres have lower then Government minimums teacher to children ratios.
“Our teachers develop very close relationships with children , some use baby-signing so children can communicate their needs. Qualified teachers understand that babies have reflexes that can be developed. A quality childcare centre has the right resources to support a baby’s development – in fact children probably have access to more stimulating toys and equipment than many homes have.
“We encourage the same teachers to develop relationships with the same children – this is so children bond – so they aren’t really in the care of strangers. More importantly these so-called strangers are in fact well qualified, unlike many in-home based services. It takes three years to become a qualified teacher – in addition Kidicorp offers on-going professional development to ensure teachers are up to date with new methods of learning.
At a quality childcare children will be stimulated with learning to music, movement, physical play, art, language and so much more. A good teacher will integrate the care of a child ( eg, nappy changing, feeding and sleeping) with teaching and learning. In doing this the teacher is supporting brain development through deep and connected relationships with the caregiver.
“Of course, parents are a child’s best teacher and care giver. But putting a child into childcare doesn’t make anyone a bad mum. It won’t change your relationship with your child if you choose well. A mum or dad will always be the centre of a baby’s world, ends Mrs Hughes.”

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