Apparently our national curriculum for the under 5s has been “refined”! following the review by Dame Claire Tickell.
There aren’t too many surprises in the finished article, recently published. We are now preparing for its introduction from September.
Most changes are seen as “tweaks” rather than a full scale rewrite. There is much that is valued and retained. I believe most childcare providers and practitioners would be in support of this.
One area of contention has been the reference to “School Readiness”. We are not too exercised by this. Seen in the context of preparation for life in general, we have always developed each child’s independence, ability to concentrate, socialise and sense of investigation, awe and wonder, as well as ensuring the maximum capacity for fun and laughter. This, for us, is business as usual. We are not going to be teaching formal reading, writing and tables!!
We are pleased with the focus on 3 prime areas – Physical, Emotional and Language development, complemented by the 4 “specific” areas of Understanding the World, Literacy, Expressive Arts and Mathematics.
This helpful categorisation maps to what we have always done anyway, based on what we know to be of prime importance to children’s development, particularly for those under 3 years.
We also welcome moves to reduce the paperwork for staff. I believe it is self evident that time spent interacting with children will always be more useful than keeping records. It remains to be seen whether our professional judgement fits with that of Ofsted. In other words, whether they will be happy to take our word for it rather than having to see everything written down. We are told that it will be so, under the new inspection regime. I do hope so.
Lastly, there is the introduction of so called “2 year old testing”. There are very good intentions for the earliest possible opportunity to identify and intervene to address child development issues. But I predict this will be a huge can of worms, for any number of reasons -
What is to be tested, when, how, by whom? What are the norms that are being tested against? How will results be communicated? What will be done about any identified issues? What about those children who don’t attend a setting, or attend multiple settings or have just started? How can this be statutory when children do not have to attend anywhere before the age of 5? and providers are not paid by the government, in most cases currently, to take 2 year olds?
There are a lot of questions and no real answers at this stage. Come September, we will endeavour to address ourselves to this task – as we always have done, working in partnership with parents for the good of their children.
We believe the refined EYFS builds on the existing framework to enable us to develop our practice, based on sound theory and consultation, to give our children the best of starts in life.