Enjoying working again with the Early Years sector

Long ShadowsRegular readers of my blog will know - from my blogs and also social media - how much I enjoy the variety of my work.  In the last few months, I have been ‘back to my roots’ working directly with a couple of early years settings, as well as with two Early Years Teams in Local Authorities.  We have undertaken different sorts of work including work with staff on boundaries and how to work effectively with parents.  The Working with Parents certification has been useful in this work.

With Early Years Teams we have been focussing on the need for the importance of those early years to be recognised at all levels in the Local Authority. 

A couple of reports have helped with this work. 

The first is: ‘Casting Long Shadows’. This is a follow-on report looking at the impact of the pandemic on children and families.  Some of the areas which really struck me were the references to:

  • Increased parental mental health problems
  • Increased risk of harm and abuse to young children
  • Reduced social networks for parents and children
  • Increased numbers of children living in poverty
  • Impact on communication skills.

It was sobering to see how this report reflected the experiences within the two local authorities which I have been working with. 

At about the same time, a useful update came out from Ofsted. This reiterates the importance of early years and the importance of high-quality early years education.

‘A high-quality early years education is vitally important. Children attend early years provision at a crucial developmental point in their lives. The education and care that they receive affects not only future educational attainment but also their future health and happiness.’

This report is one of a  series of subject-based curriculum research reviews whose aim is  support early years practitioners to raise the quality of early years education.

This review considers:

  • The early years context for children aged from birth to 4 years
  • Staffing in the early years sector
  • The principles behind the early years research review series
  • Early years curriculum and pedagogy.

If you have not read it yet, I would commend it to you.  Alongside theory there are practical ideas and examples of ‘what works’.

In summary I am reminded of the words of Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order: ‘Give me a child until he is 7, and I will give you the adult.’

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