The shared parental leave policy is a step towards helping parents juggle the cost of childcare for the first year of their baby's life. But it still leaves the thorny question of how parents will pay for childcare until their child is eligible for 15 hours of government-funded care as a three-year-old. Will childcare ever become a universal offer like school? Or will it remain market-led where parents bear the brunt of the cost.
We need to have a conversation about what child-friendly means. It involves understanding the adult's role in guiding the child's behaviour, as well as accepting our responsibility to share the task of rearing children. It also means modelling good behaviour ourselves.
In the midst of the Jimmy Savile child abuse scandal last year, a group of early years professionals in London formed the
Why would two-year-olds not thrive in schools? For starters, they are likely to be in nappies, have limited language and may well be drinking from a bottle. Next, they need higher ratios of staff to children as they need access to stable attachments with a key person and sensitive and responsive care from everyone.
I have been working in the early education field for 15 years. I have never met anyone in the field who has not agreed that early learning is founded on play.
I think it's time to get properly offended by the professionalisation of the toddler years. It should not be the government's role to replace our Mini-Mes with a bunch of Mini-Camerons, schooled in the art of jumping through official hoops before they can even use knives and forks.