Educating the Babies

chocolate face

It’s a funny thing, the Early Years Foundation Stage, because it runs from birth to five years old. It is the longest key stage of all. These are the halcyon days before the State insists that you must educate your child full time. If you’re anything like our family, you probably came through it in a haze of sleep deprivation, toddler groups and toddler tantrums, preschools and family support. In the first five years, some parents choose to spend the entire time with their children; maybe longer, if they decide to home educate. Some parents put their toddlers or small children in a preschool, nursery or school, or use a family member or childminder, for a number of hours each week. Other parents have to go out to work full time, so they use a daycare nursery or a mix of options – some children are in settings for 30 plus hours a week. But it’s all a bit of a mishmash.

Because the vast majority of childcare is private, voluntary or independent, and because EYFS is not statutory, parents have a lot of say in what they decide to do for their child. It’s like a smorgasbord of options, especially if you have the money. And what parents want, for the most part, is not for their small children to be sat down, direct instructed, and turned into a ‘school ready’ product. They want their children to play, make friends, learn to share, have a nap if they need to, enjoy themselves, be happy, become toilet trained; just basically be a child. If Nick Gibb were to stand up and say “your children must stop playing and learn XY and Z in EYFS”, the parents can always say “no thanks”. We should never forget that EYFS is about the care that small children need, and not just their education. And that mum and dad usually know best, when it comes to educating the babies.

If you’re coming to the Festival of Education, do join me for my panel discussion on what’s next for Early Years, with an amazing line-up of guests.

This entry was posted in Children, Early Years, EYFS, Parents, Play. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Educating the Babies

  1. clydesider says:

    Once again Sue, you have nailed it! Why are we so obsessed with preparing children for the next step, we forget to pause and wonder over the perfection that is now?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fiona Sedgwick says:

    I love reading your blog – you so eloquently describe exactly how I feel about so many aspects of our education system. Our children will be ready for the next step only if they are given the support and care that they need for the stage they are at now. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. edukate123 says:

    Lovely post Sue. Young children need nurturing not tutoring.
    However, the EYFS is statutory. All providers early years providers must follow the framework. Early Years Outcomes or Development Matters are NOT statutory – but we all use it as few have the time to write an alternative assessment framework!
    Reporting on the EYFS Profile is statutory at end of reception for this year only now. I am very worried by what it will be replaced with. The DfE indicated they are looking at EY assessment following scrapping of Baseline. We need to watch things very closely and be ready to muster to action!


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