Plea for home educators
‘‘People just think it's a bunch of old ladies babysitting at home, but that's not the case.’’ Debby Rogan
A child education veteran is calling on Manawatu¯ mothers to step up and relieve a home-based educator availability crisis in the region.
Jenny Cole has taught generations of children under 5 at her Feilding home in the past 30 years, however, she is the only remaining provider in town.
Children did best in their own home environments and the next best thing to that was replicating the home environment in an educator’s home, Cole said.
Cole estimated she had watched more than 100 foster kids and 60 daycare children consistently go on to earn top school results.
That’s why - if she was to retire - children in the Manawatu¯ town would be at a loss, she said.
The Ministry of Education stipulates that licensed educators can look after no more than four children at one time, of whom no more than two can be under 2.
Cole cares for four children, five days a week. Her typical hours of operation are 7.30am to late afternoon, but these can be adjusted as parents’ schedules change.
She got in the game to earn ‘‘a little bit of money’’, but it’s now become a way of life.
‘‘I love them and they love me,’’ Cole said.
With such a small number of children Cole said she could focus on their strengths.
From a young age she could teach them how to cross a road and the dangers of vehicles because the programme allowed her to take children outside the home’s four walls - something institutionalised teachers in kindergartens and playcentres couldn’t do every day.
‘‘It’s getting them outside and into the community.’’
Barnardos childcare consultant Debby Rogan said there was no cost involved to train and become a home-based educator. Educators were paid for their hours of care.
There were currently 30 educators in Manawatu¯ , Whanganui and Horowhenua.
‘‘Home care slips under the radar unfortunately,’’ she said. ‘‘They’re overlooked with all the centres around.
‘‘People just think it’s a bunch of old ladies babysitting at home, but that’s not the case. At a centre you can drop your kid off and pick them up at 5 and they more than likely haven’t left those four walls.’’
Jenny Cole with Brianna Howard, Hudson Howard and Jeremy-Jake Burney.