Plea for home ed­u­ca­tors

Feilding-Rangitikei Herald - - Front Page - SAM KILMISTER

‘‘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.’’

PHOTO: MUR­RAY WIL­SON/STUFF

Jenny Cole with Bri­anna Howard, Hud­son Howard and Jeremy-Jake Bur­ney.

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