At present there is clearly no universal agreement amongst all of the diverse authorities on child development about a single, unified model of early learning. We contend that until there exists such unanimity, it is inappropriate and potentially dangerous for the government to enshrine their own chosen model in compulsory legislation, and then force all childcare providers to organise their teaching in relation to it.

The articles on these pages present or support one side of the debate. The government may well have research to support their own position – we would certainly hope that they do; but the very fact that the debate is far from being settled is surely enough to suggest that the learning and development requirements in the EYFS should not be universally imposed while there is still substantial principled disagreement in the early-years field on these fundamental developmental assumptions.

All articles are reproduced with kind permission of the copyright holders.

From The Mother magazine – a series of articles by Richard House:

Links to articles on other sites:

  • Early Years Education – ‘Join our anti-EYFS campaign’ – Members of the Open Eye core steering group Margaret Edgington, Richard House and Lynne Oldfield explain why they want the Government to pull back from the EYFS before its imminent implementation (at the website of Nursery World)
  • It’s Time to Start the Slow School Movement – Maurice Holt, professor emeritus of education, University of Colorado, calls for a backlash against an approach to education which, like a fast food chain, emphasises uniformity, predictability and measurability (at the website of Phi Delta Kappa, a professional journal advocating research-based educational reform)
  • Playing With Their Minds – Matthew Harvey looks at the possibility that ADHD might be connected to a lack of natural play in early childhood (at the TES website)
  • The Need for Secondary Attachment Figures in Childcare – by Sir Richard Bowlby (from the Daily Telegraph website, although this article has also been published in a peer-reviewed journal)
  • Do Schools Kill Creativity? – Sir Ken Robinson argues for an education  system that nurtures creativity rather than undermining it (video of a very entertaining and thought-provoking talk, on the TED website)

2 Responses to Articles

  1. liz says:

    I think all the campaigns are too soft against the Government’s stand on this. Home educators recently fought off changes in home education legislation. The consultation on this had leading questions and no one seems to have addressed this issue. It was not clear from the consultation that all ey providers would have to put in academics and academic assessments in such a way (and no matter how the Government phrase this it is clear that it is academics that they expect from just turned 5-year olds with punctuation, phonics (not phonic or phonemic awareness which would be different) and so forth.

    This government is using totalitarian state legislation to backdoor in their own state education beliefs (and they are just beliefs and theories – from a myriad of them). I wouldn’t like to see the Steiner philosophy being given from a state perspective either. The people in this country (because children grow up) deserve the freedom to have choice. The last time a Government so threatened the Steiner movement it was being run by another socialist party member – Adolf Hitler was his name and I would suggest you use that in the press because otherwise no one is going to listen (this Government don’t like being reminded of totalitarian state behaviour in such a way!).

    I’ve spoken to a number of childcare providers (often single person concerns who run Steiner-inspired daycare or forest kindergartens etc) who say they will be loyal to the children in their care, rather than to the Government. However, they are risking being struck off if OFSTED assess them. This is beyond politics – this is human rights and children’s rights. As a parent I am concerned that the Government is not allowing me to have a choice over the type of philosophy and approach that a childcare provider would take – I’m concerned for my future grandchildren experiencing sensory disintegration, having their brains connected in a Government-approved way, As a home educator some of it doesn’t concern me in a direct way but indirectly I know too well that what happens in EY and schools filters through.

    Please, I’d love to know how this campaign goes.

  2. Kathie says:

    We are pleased to see that this policy is being questioned and challenged. For many years we have enjoyed sharing music with families in a way which we feel is best for babies not governments.

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