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Posts Tagged ‘early years education’

Starting school at 2

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

How did you feel the day you took your child to school aged 4 or 5? Do you remember your own first day? How would you have felt taking a much younger child to the school gates?

This month Baroness Sally Morgan, chairwoman of Ofsted suggested that two year olds from disadvantaged families should start in ‘school nurseries’ to improve their education and life chances.

In the UK we have an existing network of childminders and nurseries with a number of hours of free education available to 3 and 4 year olds (soon to be extended to 240,000 of the poorest two-year-olds).

However the government is exploring options for making school based nursery places available to younger children (they are normally only open to 3 and 4 year olds).

The concern for many is that the school environment is not the right place for such young children. The idea of supporting disadvangted children is a good one but possibly not in an environment that may cause them additional stress and is more focused on academic progress rather than their emotional needs.

Lady Morgan said that her concern was that some children were not ready to enter school at 5 and early entry could benefit them. She said: “They’re not ready to learn at school. Weak parenting, low educational attainment of parents, poor diet, poor housing and so on.”

We often work with primary aged children and even at that age they learn a lot through play. Younger children build their whole world through play and they need opportunities to grow in a safe, nurturing environment where they have easy access to their parents. In many European countries children don’t start formal education until 6 or 7 and there is no determental effect to their education.

Maybe rather than focusing on educating very young children we should instead focus on how we can support parents in giving their children the best start in education and life.

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