So, there has been a lot of interesting talk and comment the past few weeks and months due to the government's decision to raise the amount of children that any one adult in a childcare setting can be responsible for: for babies this will raise from 3 children per adult to 4 and from 4 children to 6 per adult for 2-3 year old children. There has been a lot of twittering today about this and it lead me to the Education minister's (Elizabeth Truss) speech on "improving teaching practices in early years education and giving more flexibility to nurseries." delivered on the 19th April. What I read shocked me Here's a quote from the press release:
"Teachers can currently teach up to 13 children aged 3 and 4 years. But that ratio falls to 1:8 when teachers are not present. Employing better qualified staff means young children get better quality early education that helps them to prepare for school."
Makes sense doesn't it? Here's my problem with the sentence:
""Teachers can currently teach up to 13 children aged 3 and 4 years. But that ratio falls to 1:8 when teachers are not present. Employing better qualified staff means young children get better quality early education that helps them to prepare for school"
to carry on...
"Eight 2-year-olds were happily able to sit together and watch each other’s behaviour while the teacher led the session. Free flow play, a child-centred approach where individual children choose what to do, is often considered to be a requirement in English settings. This is a myth and there are no reasons why structured teacher-led sessions can’t also be the norm here."
I could pull this apart to my heart's content but here's the bottom line:
I am not a teacher
I never describe myself as a teacher. To me the term 'teacher' means that you have nothing left to learn, that you are just the point of contact for information, you give out knowledge for children to take on and automatically . This is not what I do. The fact is that this term and a more 'structured' approach is being propagated by ministers who are out of touch with current educational research and thinking, who want a quick fix to our education system and don't recognise that the most important years of a child's life are the first few, who still reside in the (real) myth that teachers are better at education than Early Years Practitioners. However they dress up reforms and the rational is immaterial as the rhetoric stays the same.
Please head over to the Pre-school Learning Alliance and show your support on their petition: https://www.pre-school.org.uk/rewindonratios
I want our children to stay free range.