Markets and childcare provision in New Zealand: towards a fairer alternative

Linda Mitchell

in Childcare markets

Published by Policy Press

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9781847429339
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9781447307679 | DOI:
Markets and childcare provision in New Zealand: towards a fairer alternative

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This chapter reviews early childhood education policies in New Zealand in the last two decades. Fundamental shifts have occurred in government resourcing of early childhood education and in policies to support a coherent national framework of curriculum, regulations, and funding. Nevertheless, a market approach to provision of early childhood services remains and is increasingly problematic. A rapid growth has occurred in the provision of private and increasingly corporate childcare services, while the community-based sector has declined or has been slow to develop. The market approach has led to duplications and gaps in early childhood provision, and has produced inequities in access particularly for low income, ethnically diverse and rural families. Increasingly, children attend more than one early childhood service to suit the needs of their families. Quality differentials between private and community-based services exist, favouring community-based services.The chapter argues that instead of a market approach, a model of state and community partnership in the provision of early childhood services can build services that are responsive to the wider context of children's lives, support a stronger sense of community at local level, and promote a socially just world.

Keywords: Minimal state; supportive state; Market approach; Corporate childcare; Teacher led provision; parent/whānau led provision; Quality differentials

Chapter.  6387 words. 

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