Can writing make a difference? Can words encourage someone to think differently, or even change a person’s mind? It’s an interesting question to ponder. Given that I’m a writer, I have always sincerely hoped so. But sometimes it’s really cool to be proved right.
I couldn’t stop smiling last night. Because news had filtered through that Nick Clegg will force the government to scrap its plans to increase ratios in the early years sector. Ironically, at our preschool we have never and would never use the ratios that already exist (one adult to thirteen 3 and 4 year old children). But that doesn’t stop me being completely delighted that no provider, whatever their situation, will be able to put four tiny babies or six 2 year olds in the care of a single person.
Writing is about finding your voice, as I talked about here. But you need some inspiration to get you started. The first incarnation of this blog was as a blog about education (‘Lighting a Fire’ – 6 weeks – RIP). And the subject that literally ‘lit a fire’ under me was Childcare Minister Liz Truss and her comments about ‘chaotic nurseries’. It inspired me to write this and it inspired many many other early years practitioners and providers to write as well. The words literally poured out: in responses to the original consultation, in blog posts, in articles on websites, in Tweets, in petitions, in fact everywhere and anywhere that the sector’s voice might be heard.
This is now a blog about writing, rather than about education, and so I would like to pay tribute here to all those who have spoken out together against the proposals. Perhaps this might even serve as a lesson for other sectors within education? That the power of a united voice can be an incredible force for change.
I’m bound to miss many names (or ‘voices’) off the following list, but I would like to pay tribute to the huge range of people and organisations who harnessed the incredible power of words to make a difference for the children in their care. (Please let me know if you know of any names that I should add to this list.) On behalf of our babies and young children they deserve a massive vote of thanks.
The Pre-school Learning Alliance @pre_schoolla
The National Day Nurseries Association @ndnatalk
The Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years http://www.pacey.org.uk
Nursery World @NurseryWorld
Kids Allowed @KidsAllowed
Laura Henry @LauraChildcare
June O’Sullivan of the London Early Years Foundation @JuneOSullivan
Penny Webb @PSW26259
Childminding Forum @childminding
Sharon Hodgson MP @SharonHodgsonMP
Courteney Donaldson @courteneyccs
Nick Clegg @nick_clegg
Professor Cathy Nutbrown and her colleagues Jools Page and Peter Elfer
Leoarna Mathias http://hunkydoryearlyyears.wordpress.com/
The National Union of Teachers (NUT)
Lincs Montessori @LincsMont