Latest news

Melinda Messenger – Celebrity Mum of the Year in 2003 has Joined us 

Anyone who happened to see BBC 1’s “One Show” last week will have already noticed that Melinda Messenger has joined the campaign. Melinda has 3 children, aged 7, 5 and 4. Morgan, her eldest, did one year in the State system but when Melinda realised that he was being asked to hold a pencil and learn to read, aged only 4, she decided that this was quite literally “too much, too soon” and withdrew him. All 3 are now being educated in the Steiner system. Next week Melinda will be doing an interview with Natasha Kaplinsky on Channel 5 news to support the campaign. She is also hoping to get along to the conference at some point tomorrow.

International Conference Tomorrow – Almost Fully Booked

There are only one or two more spaces left for tomorrow’s conference so if you do wish to come, do ring or e-mail Alison Moore on 07802 659 882 / alb.moore@gmail.com. as soon as you can.

Open EYE Petition passes the big 5,000!

We’ve been hoping to be able to announce at the conference tomorrow that we have 5,000 signatures. Well, now we can! If you haven’t yet signed up, please do so and let’s keep the number (and the ranking – currently 35th out of over 8,000) climbing. It’s at http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/OpenEYE/ and only takes a few seconds. Thank you very much.

More media

We are expecting quite a bit of coverage in the weekend papers so do look out for the Times, the Telegraph and the Mail. Also there was a brilliant letter in today’s Independent EDUCATION supplement! – we couldn’t have summed the case against the EYFS better ourselves.See below.

Letters

The Independent, EDUCATION, Thursday, 14 February 2008, p. 2

TESTING TIMES

Referring to your Leader (“An oppressive system that is failing our children”, The Independent, 8 February), constant testing and objective setting does not just begin when a child starts school. The Government in their wisdom has decreed that all children attending “child care settings” outside the home, including day nurseries, play schools, before- and after-school clubs and childminders, should follow the statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage. The age frame is from birth to five years old.My daughter, who is a childminder, finds herself having to plan, deliver, and assess early-learning goals laid down in the statutory framework, which requires that by the age of five children should: write simple, regular words and make phonetically plausible attempts at more complex words; read a range of familiar and common words and simple sentences; begin to form simple sentences; and use mathematical ideas and methods to solve practical problems.

Apart from the fact that not all children are competent learners from birth, surely expecting every child to be reading, writing and doing simple arithmetic by five is setting many perfectly normal children, and their carers, up for failure.

My daughter finds that the young children she cares for are often chronically tired, as they start their day at 7am, then go into a school-type setting that does not allow for an afternoon nap, and are not picked up by their working parents until around 6pm. When she picks them up in the afternoon they have had their fill of planned educational offerings, and want to sleep or relax in front of the television (as many adults would wish to do after a hard day’s work). They are rarely interested in arts and crafts work, music or cooking, which my daughter tries to interest them in so that her portfolio will look good for the Ofsted inspectors. Whatever happened to unstructured play time, and allowing children to discover the world in their own way and time? This constant imposition of targets is not only unnecessary, but could be counter-productive.

p>Dr Robert Heys, Ripponden, West Yorks

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