Subtracting Ofsted from the early childhood learning equation
She’s been the manager of the lovely Slinn Street STARters Community Pre-school in Sheffield for 28 years and is passionate about the nurturing the happiness and well-being of pre-school children, and defending their right to play.
In recent years, she has become increasingly concerned about the impact of some of the Ofsted requirements on early years childcare, and is determined to make parents aware of the current situation and help them make an informed choice.
A child’s early years are so precious so let’s not, as the Government framework insists, channel them into preparing for what comes next. Let us rather enjoy, indulge and celebrate what the pre-school child can offer and what we can offer the pre-school child.
First time parents nowadays are faced with endless choices of pre-school or nursery. Childcare has become big business. We have all been appalled to read about the increased child ratios but changes will not stop there. It appears that when Ofsted becomes the sole arbiter of quality in the early years there will be even more focus on data relating to learning, development and progress while rules setting out the amount of space per child will be dropped. Stack them high sell them cheap?
The unhealthy emphasis on “clipboard” observations, tracking progress and achieving “school readiness” appears to be a short-term fix where the child’s long-term welfare (and short-term childhood) is secondary.
There is however a movement that is fighting back. I urge everyone to read the Unhurried Pathways Alternative Foundation Phase introduced by Early Childhood Action (ECA). It is inspiring.
Thanks Grannie Gill! You can read all about the ECA at www.earlychildhoodaction.com
May 15th is National Children’s Day, set up to celebrate the rights and freedoms of children. In honour of the occasion, it will be den making day at the Slinn Street STARters. Which, I’m sure we can all agree, sounds like an awful lot of fun.