A report this week by Save The Children stated almost 130,000 children in England were falling behind with language before they even reached school, and called for every nursery to employ a qualified teacher.
As a baby wellness and childcare expert, I was asked to respond to this proposal during a live TV interview with Good Morning. I have written many times about child developmental regression, and which is a topic highlighted many times throughout my book, Babyopathy - baby care the natural way.
I have become increasingly frustrated in recent years by how child development is regressing, how parents are not give the encouragement or tools to help their babies progress. We should be pushing the boundaries and giving the children the ability to develop. Instead, more and more news reports are stating how British children are underachieving.
I am vehemently against bringing formal education into nursery settings. "There is an enormous amount of evidence that suggests children should not be in a formal educational setting until the age of six or even seven years old. Until then they should be in a nurturing, play based environment.
It is clear that the current government initiative of the EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) and Free Early Education funding for three and four year olds is not working. In their response to her letter to the prime minister the Department of Education clearly state that 96% of three and four year olds are now accessing a place, however the developmental achievements continue to fall
The EYFS which is a mandatory framework for all early years providers was first introduced by government in 2008. Since then the government have spent an undisclosed amount of money undertaking not just one review but three in 2011, leading to the 2012 review and again in 2014. However, we continue to see reports of developmental regression.
Childcare is already in crisis with the Free Early Education grossly underfunded, the introduction of pension schemes and now both national minimum wage and national living wage increases without any form of financial support in return. Many settings, and in particular pre-schools face potential closure with the introduction of the new 30hrs Free Childcare policy and most childcare settings would be unable to sustain funding a qualified teacher.
But what does the introduction of a qualified teacher say to the entire childcare profession? It says, you are not qualified enough, you are not good enough and you are not valued enough! The profession is demoralized enough as it is!
What the childcare profession really needs is:
• A complete overhaul of the EYFS with the ability for innovative nurseries to utilize their own programmes such as forest schools and Babyopathy/Nascuropathy
• Childcare to become zero rated for VAT to give an immediate financial support to the profession
• An open and fair review of the FEE funding scheme - the current review is not achieving this
• A review of the childcare qualifications to better educate the existing staff and raise their profile as professionals, as they deserve. A new set of qualifications to entice quality staff in to the profession and a Professional Status Update qualification for existing staff to provide the knowledge and skills necessary to revert the trend of development regression
These are just some of the issues that need addressing in the childcare sector to turn around the constant negative media and reports, but it is a start. The campaign Champagne Nurseries for Lemonade Funding is championing these points too.
View the campaign video at: