Children learn to talk when their own simple language is "scaffolded" by their mother.
So, when the child says "cat", the mother says, "Oh, look at the cat! What is it doing? Where is it going now?" etc.
But in a childcare centre there may only be one poorly qualified worker to look after several children.
Can a child develop good language skills in this sort of environment?
Sending disadvantaged Australian children to a quality pre-school is a better way to tackle their disadvantage than later interventions such as
- school funding subsidies,
- lower pupil-teacher ratios
- public job training
- prisoner rehabilitation programs
- juvenile rehabilitation programs
- tuition subsidies
or expenditure on police.
For children from middle-class homes, frequent long days in childcare centres, particularly in the first two years, can heighten the risk of developing anti-social behaviour.
A report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare says childcare must deliver high-quality early-learning programs for children to age three, or risk them developing language deficiencies.
Preschool "key" to helping poor kids, P.8, The Courier-Mail, 1 October 2015
The Australian federal government's training watchdog, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), this week exposed scandalous shortcomings in the training of daycare workers.
Some private colleges have been churning out graduates after just a week's online training.
Australia's training ministers have decreed that a Certificate 111 course - the minimum for a childcare qualification - should take one or two years of full-time study to complete.
Yet 70 per cent of childcare certificates were delivered in less than a year - and 20 per cent within six months.
ASQA found that some course teachers had no experience or qualifications in the childcare industry, and merely gave students pamphlets to study without supervision.
In some cases, students graduated without having set foot in a daycare centre.
Migrants with English skills so poor they could not even communicate with children were handed certificates and diplomas in childcare.
The ASQA report reveals that the 700,000 babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers in Australian daycare centres potentially are being cared for 10 hours a day by staff without training or experience.
Early Childhood Australia chief executive Samantha Page insists childcare workers need a "basic level of literacy".
The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has found that some Australian childcare training providers are spitting out "graduates" in a matter of weeks.
A review has found that a significant proportion of the Certificate III in childcare courses were courses of less than one year's duration, even though the guidelines stipulate one to two years as the appropriate length of time for certificate III course.
20 per cent of the course programs are 26 weeks or less.
And Australian parents are paying up to $110 a day for each child in the care of these "graduates".
Childcare is competency-based training but it is recommended courses take between one to two years.
Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) that are trying to provide high-quality programs are being faced with unfair competition from those RTOs that are providing cheap and unrealistically short training programs.
Australian Children's Education and Quality Care Authority (ACEQCA) statistics reveal that 12.5 per cent of Australian childcare centres do not meet the national quality standard.
One New South Wales childcare worker was convicted of common assault in December 2013 for force-feeding four children at a NSW childcare centre.
The same NSW worker was fined $2000 for leaving a distressed child crying in a cot room for up to four hours.
Another NSW family daycare worker was fined $3300 in February 2015 over 22 offences, including leaving two children in the care of a visitor for 40 minutes.
In July 2014, Guppy's Early Learning Centre at Runcorn, in Brisbane's south, was given a compliance notice after a child escaped through an unlocked gate and was found at a nearby shopping complex.
Also in 2014, at The Woodcrest Early Education Centre in Springfield, Queensland, childcare workers used a "devil" mask to threaten and co-erce a child to follow directions.
The ACEQCA data shows one in eight centres failed the basic standard on child protection, including "adequate supervision at all times".
In the Northern Territory 79 per cent of centres were sub-standard.
In the ACT just over 50 per cent of centres were sub-standard.
In NSW 43 per cent of centres were sub-standard.
In West Australia 44 per cent of centres were sub-standard.
In Tasmania 42 per cent of centres were sub-standard.
In South Australia 29 per cent of centres were sub-standard.
In Queensland 27 per cent of centres were sub-standard.
In Victoria 21 per cent of centres were sub-standard.
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