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"threat To Toddlers"?


Marion
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Thanks for this Marion - a very thought provoking article.

 

I'd agree with the thrust of the article if we really were about to embark on a process of formal teaching for very young children in the early years foundation stage.

 

On the brief description of the Open Eye campaign there is nothing I would argue with - I agree that babies and young children learn most naturally and effectively through free play, movement and imitation, rather than formal teaching. This ethos underpins what we do (and have always done) in the early years - we know this and we plan our environment and learning experiences accordingly.

 

I'll watch this one with interest..

 

Maz

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Yes, I read it this morning. Being retired, I not familiar with the new framework. Is it vastly different from the old guidelines?

Not vastly, and it certainly doesn't call for formal teaching of any kind...

 

Maz

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What a load of rubbish! That's not the message that I'm getting from reading the EYFS at all!! It just sounds like a lot of scaremongering (sp?) to me and I'm disappointed that The Times has put its name to it. I'm also surprised that Margaret Edgington has been quoted in the article - I thought that she was all in favour of the new framework?

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I attended a course with Margaret Edgington last week and she certainly didn't give the impression that she was in favour of EYFS.

 

Margaret is one of the spokespersons for the campaign.

She did say look out fo the January edition of EYE for something interesting which turns out to be this.

Edited by Marion
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To be honest I havent read my EYFS folder properly yet and the CD made my head spin on its one excursion out of the pack, but, I think its quite possible that this level of formality could happen.

Arent we all being urged to do the foundation degree or have a similar level of skill? The least thats expected is that one person will be level 6 from what I understand, so stealth may win the day. I can see some of the people I've worked with totally cocking it up by testing children until they are falling over.

 

So glad my children enjoyed playgroup when it was a few mom's turned playworkers who wanted their children to have lots of opportunities to play with friends, paint, glue and tear round.

Was that really so bad?

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Thanks for the links Marion.

I think the main focus of the 'anger' 'disbelief', 'outrage' etc is the fact that the framework is embedded in law, and the fear that the government is now dictating ( what happened to democracy) how we teach our children who are below the age of compulsory education. Making the EYFS a statutory requirement has effectively made the 'experiences' offered within early years settings compulsory, ie: no-one can offer their own ethos, their own phylosophy's. Also the fact that the 'experiences' offered are measured to criteria which is not suitable for every child/individual with a focus on academic over 'well-being', PSE, physical, creative development. It is target based and as we all know targets put on pressure, for the children and teachers and are open to interpretation from external inspectors rather than leaving the teaching and childrens' progress monitoring to the teachers. ( remember, in NON compulsory settings).

 

Most of you all know I am totally disillusioned with the government interference, the experience for me as a preschool owner has been far from what I envisaged it would be, yes, I should be accountable but to the children, not the current government, and it's current ill thought out , yet another initiative, or poorly funded legislation ( and I think all government parties are as bad as each other).

 

 

Peggy

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It seems to me that it's not the EYFS that is the Bad Thing. As Rea quotes in her signature, the general ethos does emphasize creativity and process, and anything that can explicitly state: "Play underpins the delivery of all the EYFS", "play underpins all development and learning for young children...and it is through play that they develop intellectually, creatively, physically, socially and emotionally" is generally on the right track!

 

Certainly I've seen no evidence of a formal mind-narrowing focus when I walk into Helen's nursery - the sticky happy exuberant two three and four year-olds don't seem to be under any creative restrictions...

 

So I have to say I'm generally very impressed with the EYFS. As you've all pointed out above, what is described in that article bears very little resemblance to reality, and the good practice you're all in favour of and willing to defend is all supported by the practice guidance. I'm a bit baffled by what they seem to be trying to say... :o

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Well, once again Steve has put it very well.

 

I read the article with absolute horror - this is not at all what I see when I look at the EYFS. I suppose that a really bad setting or practitioner might decide it is a presprictive curriculum and practice accordingly, but they'd have had to have been on another planet to take that view!

 

Any practitioner worth their salt knows that play, a rich and stimulating environment, with free choice and supportive adults is how children learn!

 

But how can we show these misguided folk what we mean?

 

Sue

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Hi, Just read the article. Hope my head has'nt. he will think that he was right all along and more formal is what is needed! Thankfully I have a good Foundation team that try and implement things as they should and will back me when faced with a head who does'nt understand the FC

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Yup Sue we have got it right because we understand and "know" how children learn. The curriculum hasn't changed much so do these" misguided folk" realise that we have been following guidelines for many years and it isn't sometime that has just come about. Before the curriculum guidance came in we have always observed children remembering when particullr children enjoyed certain things and having them out at their next session. The only difference is that everything now has to be recorded and it categorised into different stages.Children are not learning in a different way, they are just learning in a way that is natural to them. The Curriculum Guidance came into force when the government introduced the funding money for 4 year olds. If the curriculum is delivered in a fun way it will be effective but if it is read and delivered the wrong way some children will be totally turned off at a very young age.

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"I read the article with absolute horror - this is not at all what I see when I look at the EYFS. I suppose that a really bad setting or practitioner might decide it is a presprictive curriculum and practice accordingly, but they'd have had to have been on another planet to take that view!"

 

Unfortunately Sue when you talk to some inexperienced early years teachers with pressure from the top they do work in such a way.

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Parent choice has been shot to pieces too. Wonder where that went to?

I'm not sure I agree with you totally, Rea. I guess the final nail in the coffin of parental choice will be knocked in when or if "they" make pre-school education compulsory for all. Ultimately parents do have a choice of whether to send their child to a pre-school setting or not, and then what kind of establishment they send them to. There are inevitably issues about whether there is enough of the right kind of childcare in any given geographical area, and I have my doubts about whether the new responsibilities for Local Authorities to ensure there is sufficient of the right type of provision will completely resolve this.

 

The fact that parents now have the ability to get 12.5 hours of childcare and education each week for 38 weeks of the year does mean that even parents on low incomes can gain the benefits of good quality pre-school education for their children. The way children's places are funded also prevents the money being subverted by feckless parents who might spend it on other things. Clearly there are serious issues about sustainability and the long term viability of groups - as Peggy has highlighted so eloquently in the past.

 

However, it is all a far cry from when I toddled off to the playgroup at the end of my road and hoped they'd have a space for my daughter. I found it a struggle sometimes to find the cost of the termly fees and I well remember the relief when my child finally reached four and was suddenly funded. The quality of care and education my daughter received back in 1993 had at its heart all I hold dear today - but the world of pre-school education is vastly different than it was then (let alone from what it was like when some of you very experienced educators first got involved!).

 

This reads a bit like a party political broadcast for the Government, but I certainly don't think the system is perfect: far from it. I am lucky because I can dictate how things run in my setting: it is up to me to fund my group in such a way that we comply with all the legislation but ensure that these responsibilities don't take the staff too far away from our prime function: that is to be with the children and support their learning and development, and to be accountable to children's families and make sure we continue to provide the services they need.

 

Hope that doesn't sound too pompous (and that I haven't wandered too far off topic!).

 

Maz

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Marion, of course you are right - I always forget about other types of setting!

 

That's what's so great about the Forum, there's such a spread of experiences, someone can always keep us straight! Sorry for being so short-sighted, I've no experience of pressures in schools and stand corrected :o

 

Sue

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Sue I think the great diversity of early years provision is something we all forget. When I first looked at EYFS I thought well it won't make a great deal of difference to my setting. But EYFS is going to make a difference. It is a statutory curriculum that ALL childcare providers must follow whether they are in maintained schools/nurseries, pre schools, independent schools/nurseries or childminders. Attending training I have seen the alarm and confusion it has already caused. Assessment seems to be something that is causing a great deal of "panic" and I'm afraid that some practitioners will test test test from pure anxiety that they aren't doing it right. I am very lucky in having a head teacher who values young children but not all practitioners enjoy understanding Early years friendly leaders.

 

I spoke to Sue Palmer some weeks ago and she is passionate in her desire that childhood should not be lost to these children. Thinking of my own childhood experiences and the type of experiences children in my care have I can not help but agree that children are losing out. If you have not read it I would recommend Sue's book Detoxing Childhood.

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Marion, you have written what I tried to say so much more elloquantly :oxD .

I will admit I've only glanced at the EYFS, but how does it fit truly into other phylosophies such as Steiner Schools, Montessori schools, have these settings had to compromise on their values and beliefs to 'fit into' this curriculum. I know that it doesn't truly fit with my own ethos of how children should experience their early years in education. There is too much emphasis on the academic to the detriment of childrens PSE & well being.

 

The worry is that now the curriculum is 'statutory' what is to stop the government ( whichever one is in power) to add to, change, dictate, even more so in the future how our children are educated at this age.

To attend preschool is not compulsory but what the children experience is. Even if a setting chooses not to receive government funding to be registered under Ofsted, they still have to, by law, follow this curriculum.

 

Many early years experts were involved in the writing of the EYFS, and also we had the opportunity through consultation to give our views on it's content, however, the purpose of this 'written, directive' curriculum is not about the rhetoric of 'good quality care and education for all children' it is about targets, devised to measure the 'worth' of the government, not the development of our children.

 

I must be honest and say that my views at the moment are quite bitter, ( so not exactly objective) and maybe even a bit biased because of my personal experiences with my preschool and Inspections in general. ( so quite subjective)

The outcome of the EYFS will not be clear for a few years, we will just have to wait and see how the Inspectors interpret and judge as this is the only way the curriculum is measured, until of course we see the effect on our current children shown in the next decade or so.

 

Peggy

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Not pompous Maz :oxD

I do think though that compared to when my children went to playgroup there is less choice. I specifically wanted playgroup over nursery because there was a difference but if the EYFS is compulsory it wouldnt matter where they went.

I agree with Peggy's view that there is too much of a move away from the social side of things, that was all I wanted, expected my children to get out of playgroup, it was right for them and gave them the foundations to learn when the time was right and I think thats where we might fail our children in the future, asking them to do things when it isnt the right time and marking them as failures at the age of 4.

I appriciate fully that good practitioners wont let this happen but theres a lot of people who will test, test and test again, I know because I've worked with them.

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Peggy I feel you always put forward a thoughtful and considered opinion which in no way reflects your personal "disappointment" and certainly can't be described as biased. I for one always welcome your informed professional views and have great respect

for your opinion.

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