Griffith childcare workers have slammed comments made by Senator David Leyonhjelm after he summarised their jobs as merely “wiping noses and stopping the kids from killing each other”.
Senator Leyonhjelm, during a television interview, questioned the necessity of qualifications for childcare workers, arguing the stringent requirements were driving up the cost of childcare.
“Apart from the fact you want to make sure there aren’t any paedophiles involved, you have to have credentials these days to be a childcare worker,” he said.
“A lot of women, mostly women, used to look after kids in childcare centres. And then they brought in this national quality framework and they had to go and get a Certificate III in childcare in order to continue the job they were doing — you know, wiping noses and stopping the kids from killing each other...The ones who got certificate threes said, ‘OK, I want more pay now that I’m more qualified’.”
Service manager and early childhood teacher at Western Riverina Family Day Care Tahnee Jamieson said she was disappointed by the senator’s comments, but was not surprised. “The media storm since The Project aired at the beginning of the week has created a fire in the belly for all early childhood educators who have felt attacked and undervalued by the very people who should be supporting them,” she said.
Ms Jamieson said the senators comments showed he was “out of touch and uneducated” about young people’s education and care. “Everyone has a concern about the rising cost of childcare, but the system as we know it is broken and rolling back quality measures is not the answer,” she said.
With research showing the first five years are when children learn the most, and those who receive high quality education and care are more likely to stay at school, achieve higher educational standards and exhibit positive social behaviours, Ms Jamieson said skilled educators were crucial assets.
“The Senator’s comments...would have been more beneficial if they were informed and evidence based,” she said.
“We need quality, skilled and passionate early childhood educators to provide high quality education to all, no matter background or family’s socio-economic status.”
Ms Jamieson invited the Senator to Griffith so she and her fellow childcare workers could educate him on what actually happens in services.
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