It’s been an eventful few months with seemingly a sea change in policy direction with respect to Early Years. We thought we were delivering an holistic curriculum based in experiential play-based learning, supported by sound research and founded on deep relationships, love and security.
It turns out we are raising a generation of dysfunctional illiterate delinquents, at an exorbitant cost.
Politicians have pronounced; the focus and outcome of inspections has changed; the ground is shifting beneath our feet and we are no longer sure if we are supposed to be educating or caring for children.
If it is educating, what does that look like at age 3 or 4? How far can GCSE and SATs literacy and numeracy targets be pushed back down the line? Should we be bench marking our 1 year olds?
In the midst of all this, children are still children with their ambitions, disappointments, needs, passions, fears, potential, resilience, hopes and joys.
Children from affluent areas, children from deprived backgrounds and children with chaotic lives, displaced children, fearful children.
Education is maths, reading, writing, knowledge and information but it is so much more than that. It is passion, curiosity, imagination, wonder, courage, spontaneity and compassion, kindness, empathy and humility. It recognises the unique character of every individual.
I love spending time with children at Paint Pots. It always reminds me of the value of each child. Down on the floor, playing, laughing – politics and outcomes are held in check. This is where character is being formed – through relationship, interactions and sharing. And it’s a joyful place to be.
I do worry that the thought police are monitoring these personal ramblings. Still, the good news is that as of September I will be able to call myself an Early Years Teacher.
So, time to stop playing and get on with some serious teaching then!!