the crucial ingredients of child care reform


I got into houseplants during lockdown. Look, I know this absolutely reaffirms that I’m entirely basic, but I logged in with the new yorker cover designed by a fine arts student for a “post-pandemic” edition. It looked like the triffids had spent their day in a small apartment.

Plants are slow but rewarding. It can take weeks between a new leaf, but rolling them out is a highlight. The pothos next to my bed started out as a locked out sheet and now hangs a dozen long. Spreading this leaf isn’t very exciting, but the rewards do pay off eventually, if you can be patient.

You know what else needs a lot of patience and love? Kids. But more than that, any policy involving children. Childcare and education are two policy areas that require patience between this first change and seeing improvements.

The New South Wales government’s changes to childcare could improve educational outcomes for generations.Credit:oscar colman

You know what is very impatient? The news cycle. It’s almost as bad as a two-year-old. Any child care or education policy is supposed to have the same benefits as the others, but that is short-sighted and wrong.

Last week I attended the announcement of the NSW government childcare grants, part of their budget which will be released on Tuesday. Many of the policies he announced were developed with the Women’s Economic Opportunity Review panel, of which I was a member. At the press conference, reporters asked about the $3,900 savings parents will realize on child care. What if their child is already registered? Will prices drop next week? What if they have more than two children?


This, of course, is a journalist’s prerogative, to ask questions and critically investigate any policy published by the government (or the opposition). But what bothered me as a teacher, standing in a freezing playground with my toes going numb, is that the $3,900 isn’t the only benefit of this policy. It looked like we were stuck in the weeds. Indeed, like plants, any policy relating to children takes time to see benefits.

What will be the benefit of policies that make childcare more affordable? More child care spaces, more children in child care, more children benefiting from the cognitive and social skills developed in preschool, more children settling better in kindergarten, more children achieving better results throughout their school life through high-quality early education. learning programs. More children in daycare reduces the social disadvantage gap. It improves social competence and emotional regulation in children, especially in the preschool years for three and four year olds.

Oh, and yes, it will mean more women being able to re-enter the workforce, increased productivity, and increased tax revenue. This will increase the gross domestic product of the state. What is good for children is also good for mothers, parents and the rest of the state.


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