August 24, 2011

Please note that this site is no longer active and OpenEYE has now merged with Early Childhood Action http://www.earlychildhoodaction.com

NOTE:  This website contains a wealth of information, including films, which, taken together, serves as a detailed historical record of the principled struggle of the ‘Open EYE’ Early Childhood campaign, which was formed in the autumn of 2007, and subsequently merged with Early Childhood Action in early 2013.

Open EYE waged a concerted media campaign against aspects of England’s statutory Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) over a number of years, was highly regarded, and had a number of major critical and media successes. Its persistent re-statement of core perennial values about early development and learning was an inspiration to large numbers of practitioners, and helped to keep alive a holistic, child-centred ethos in England’s early childhood sphere.

The arguments rehearsed on this website about early learning are just as relevant as you read this as they ever were, and so we are leaving the website up in its entirety for researchers, students and concerned citizens to consult and enjoy – for alas, the issues we are addressing here aren’t going away in the foreseeable future.

We would be delighted if Open EYE supporters and sympathisers would like to join us in ECA – we are easily contactable through the ECA website, at http://www.earlychildhoodaction.com/contact.html

A sincere thanks to you all for your support.

The OpenEYE Core Team

OpenEYE consisted of a unique, multi-disciplinary team of experts who came together through a shared concern about Early Childhood in the UK. They had the support of an increasing number of childminders, parents, practitioners and teachers. Additional support came from a prestigious group of international researchers, authors and early childhood experts. OpenEYE was an entirely voluntary group who give their time freely to the cause.

The OpenEYE team consisted of:

Richard Brinton is a former Waldorf teacher and Principal of Hawkwood College, Stroud. He joined the Open EYE campaign as one of its founding members. One current project of his is a book, Finding Family; through story, biography and pilgrimage, it explores the challenges as well as joys and hope of parenting at a time when traditions can ring hollow and an understanding and feeling for childhood seem increasingly lost.

John Dougherty is a former primary school teacher with extensive classroom experience who, after eleven years of tick-boxes, OFSTED and endless government initiatives, decided that enough was enough. He is now a full-time writer of fiction for children. John is also the father of two children who spent most of their early years education in the kindergarten of a school which subscribes to a well-respected alternative educational philosophy. He believes that state education should offer access to a range of philosophies, and that government micro-management is bad for schools.

Margaret Edgington is an independent early years consultant, trainer and author, and a Vice President of the National Campaign for Real Nursery Education. She has campaigned throughout her career for an approach to early years policy making that puts the needs of young children first.

Wendy Ellyatt is a writer and researcher with a particular interest in societal values and well-being and the importance of safeguarding natural development in the early years. She is a fellow of the RSA, the founder of the Unique Child Network (www.uniquechildnetwork.com) and co-founder and CEO of the Save Childhood Movement  (www.savechildhood.net). Wendy joined the Open EYE Core Team in 2008 and was the creator and editor of the Open EYE Newsletter.

Grethe Hooper Hansen is a former head of SEAL (the Society for Effective Affective Learning), an international organisation founded to explore the pedagogy of Dr Georgi Lozanov and other innovative approaches to learning. Originally a school teacher, she moved into teaching English as a Foreign Language, worked in Italy and England. and is currently writing a book on a new concept of education based on Lozanov’s learning beyond the confines of the conscious mind.

Dr Richard House is senior lecturer in early childhood (Dept Education Studies and Liberal Arts) at the University of Winchester, and a trained Steiner Kindergarten and class teacher. He edited Open EYE’s best-selling edited anthology Too Much, Too Soon?: Early Learning and the Erosion of Childhood (Hawthorn Press, Stroud, 2011), and continues to campaign on early childhood with the Save Childhood Movement, founded in 2012 by fellow Open EYE member Wendy Ellyatt.

Graham Kennish is a Steiner science teacher and teacher trainer with over 40 years experience.

Lynne Oldfield is Director of The London Steiner Waldorf Early Childhood Training Course and author of Free to Learn: An Introduction to Steiner Early Years Education (Hawthorn Press, Stroud, 2012). A co-founder of the Open Eye Campaign, she has championed the rights of children to have a healthy early childhood for over 40 years. Her current focus is to encourage early years practitioners to distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate early years curricula.

Sue Palmer is a specialist in primary literacy, notably grammar, an educational speaker, author, mother and grandmother. Research for her 2006 book Toxic Childhood convinced her that current UK policy on childhood and education is seriously flawed, and led to collaboration with Dr Richard House on campaigns to draw attention to these issues. She is a founder member of Open EYE and Early Childhood Action, a former President of Montessori AMI UK and a member of the Scottish government’s Early Years Task Force.

Kim Simpson has owned and run Montessori nurseries for 35 years; trained in parent coaching, is a practising psychotherapist and and was Chair of the Psychosynthesis & Education Trust. She has campaigned, and has a passion, for all children to be protected from any policies which erode their rights to a natural childhood, and is co-founder and Director of the Save Childhood Movement.