THE BLOG

New Nursery Rules, Not as Simple as A B C...

26/04/2016 12:26

It's not until you become a parent that you realise what you've got yourself in to! Sure at first it's all selfies and smile and coo's and presents. But parenting has a way of creeping up on you, and before you know it you're looking at pictures of Prince George wondering if he's out of nappies yet!

It's stuff like that, which would never have crossed your mind before, that start to eek into your consciousness, before completely taking your over. Welcome to parenthood.

Another one of those things you never really consider until you have a little one is childcare. It all seems relatively straightforward in a world pre-breeding. Then you have a child who becomes the centre of your world and you see the world in a very different way. Suddenly you realise there's nurseries... and there's nurseries.

I'll never forget my baby's first day at nursery. Besides crying more than I ever have before (it hit me unexpectedly), I remember saying to his keyworker 'Please look after Boo for me - all that matters is that he is loved and looked after". Words, I echo now, even six months on.

Because there's nurseries, and there's 'home from home' - and at the heart of those, are people who care.

So when the news broke yesterday that the government is looking to review childcare requirements, so that all future nursery employees are required to have at least a C in GCSE English and Maths, I started to wonder if the world has gone bonkers?

Some have called this a 'catastrophe', suggesting that it will seriously limit the amount of people qualified to go in to childcare - an area already struggling to get good people.

Here's the problem - everyone is confusing childcare with school. Lets not forget, one is paid for daycare, the other is getting an education. They're different - not that the government would have you believe that.

Of course, the higher the standard of nursery worker, the better. No-one would argue that. But those who go into the childcare industry may not all be the most academic, given - but what they have is a passion for children, and that is far more important than knowing their 12 times table.

I send my one-year old son to nursery because I'm working and he needs to be looked after. My priority is that he is loved and cared for, eats and sleeps and has fun along the way. I want him to be around other kids his age and yes, if he learns something along the way, or it helps prepare him for school, then it's a bonus. But the priority here is his welfare, and not him being able to count to 100 by the time he's two.

What concerns me most about these new suggested guidelines, is that we're forgetting our priorities. Childcare has always been, and should be about providing a safe, comfortable and happy environment for our children. This government is adamant that it's all about education, education, education, but I disagree.

We need to unburden our children and those that look after them. We need to remember that nurseries should be fun and happy environments, without the pressure of being teachers, on top of carers.

We learn at our best when we are passionate and take an interest in something. And there's a time and place for education. But nursery - no. For me, that's the one last place left for children to be children without pressure, please let it be.

Sophia is the editor of leading parent blog Milk Drunk Diary, follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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