As a sector we need to EDUCATE our ministers and the parents. They REALLY don’t know about the EYFS. In the case of the politicians they are ashamedly too often ignorant.
I personally believe we are all a product of our childhoods. We adapt and hopefully thrive from what we have experienced. If I was only a parent, and not an early years educator, my children would have experienced more of what I probably experienced as a child. It was my EARLY YEARS EDUCATION that helped me be a better parent.
My personal opportunities for a fantastic academic education did not underpin my adult capabilities. To communicate well on paper, (something I continue to struggle with) so I hope my ramblings here will make sense … Very happy to explain in a different way – just ask! 🙂
I really think as a sector we need to EDUCATE our ministers and the parents. No idea HOW to get them to listen, particularly the ministers as they are not emotionally involved and more distanced. Continuing to be angry (or whatever emotion we might personally attach to the funding issue) isn’t getting us as far as maybe was hoped. This minister (and it will be someone else possibly fairly soon!) has linked his personal view on what he lacks in his understanding (hence the ‘uncertain’ words he used in his response); his perception that ‘sufficiency of places’ proves that the current funding levels are ok (that’s how I interpreted it) so the government must have got it right.
This blog was motivated by the minister’s recent explanations
Without accepting that (although maybe we could get off that bandwagon a bit). I think we need to link and focus upon the SAVINGS. Those that would be made by INVESTING HEAVILY (PROPERLY) in QUALITY Early Years.
We currently are living in a society that reacts to situations. It tries to put on a plaster (then plaster on plaster). Maybe it could be related to the same Fire Fighting that goes on in nurseries on a day to day basis. Some of which can/would be minimised if we (had the time) to put systems/procedures/staff training (etc) in place. In many ways that what is happening here, I think. Also, the money hasn’t been easy to find. NHS and SCHOOLS are seen as needier but SHOULD they be ….? Also, I believe, (there’s no trust in this world!) the justification for spending money has to be seen to be tangibly justified. That’s what TESTING is all about.
How from what they currently know, can the government TANGIBLY justify spending more money on Early Years? (Keep your hair on and read on…!) On the whole, we do a good job. As they look to Ofsted (as he did with sufficiency – although out of date!) then the sector isn’t doing badly. So in ignorance (as not educated by us) they justify their actions.
FUNDING for all of these plasters is lacking. However, if the importance of the Early Years was truly understood. I believe there would gradually be less of a need to address the situations caused by our culture (the plasters). The cost of putting what WE as a nation has caused MUST be more costly than getting things right early in life to minimise negative consequences of what WE currently cultivate.
Suddenly we are concerned about mental health IN SCHOOLS. The concern is beginning now to creep down to Primary Schools. Itt started, I think, about the number of men that committed suicide>secondary schools. We would link it to the pressure/lack of childhood/testing and more! The cost of therapy/poor health > NHS, plus costs of rehabilitation; drugs, gambling, alcohol, police, criminal justice system, prison service …. We all know that Social Care is costly and in my view ‘the poor relation’ in funding. The people who have to use this service have less clout.
We need to bombard the government with FACTS about the DIFFERENCE WE DO AND COULD DO BETTER AT. Also, ensure PARENTS are aware of these facts too. They also vote and there are many more parents than us Early Years Folk!
- It is only QUALITY establishments that actually make a difference to the children’s future prospects (adequate funding required doing that – they probably will need to be educated in what that looks like!!).
- Children’s brains are growing rapidly BEFORE school; the bigger the better and that only happens with appropriate learning opportunities within a nurturing environment (again, they probably need to know what that looks like!!)
- The acquisition of language development BEFORE school is linked to children’s future prospects and this (surely this is common sense) is linked to the quality of interaction and being able to have adult input (by great ratios) and rich inspiring environments (do you think they know what that entails?!)
- That it is what the child learns PRESCHOOL not what they learn AT school that gives them as adults more choices and, therefore, better quality of life as it has been proven to reflect on their exam results at 16, 18, post statutory school age and into their 30s! THIS HAS TO BE IMPORTANT. (Personally, I believe it is the foundations of the Characteristics of Effective Learning that make the difference here but not sure if that has been agreed in research)
- PRESCHOOL experience also can revert DISADVANTAGE and enhance mental health
There would be fewer suicides, less mental health issues, less poverty, less disadvantage, less crime, less ‘self-harm’ ….. Better health, better quality of life, more in work > economically generating revenue for the government to feedback into EARLY YEARS (and the other services if they still can’t cope with the demand). Basically, like the Financial Crash – it needs DRASTIC measures to put things on the right path – tip the balance a bit to make a difference to the ROOTS of a THRIVING SOCIETY.