There is a great deal of concern around recent and forthcoming policy developments in early childhood education and care. The ongoing funding crisis, changes to curriculum frameworks, assessment and regulation, closures of children’s centres and more are preoccupying our thoughts in early years. There is uncertainty, instability and confusion across the sector.
In response to this there are many charities and membership bodies working hard to represent early years practitioners, (see the Early Years Coalition) ensuring policy makers hear other perspectives from practitioners ‘on the ground’ and from research.
In addition to these organisations, some individuals and groups have taken direct action (e.g. March of the Four Year olds against baseline testing, meeting MPs about early entitlement funding) whilst others are standing their ground or challenging decisions at a local level. But some people can’t or don’t feel comfortable, for a range of reasons, with this kind of activism that is public and visible. It’s just too challenging.
But what we all have is experiences. Stories. Voices. And often these go unheard in policy developments. So, in all the noise of these policy shifts, various responses and competing arguments – where and how is your voice heard? How do you stand your ground in the face of unwanted changes? How do you share your values and principles on early education and care?
Keeping Early Years Unique have set up ‘Voices from the Foundations: Life in the Early Years’ as a webpage for you to post or blog anonymously. This platform offers a place for you to write about life in your setting or school from your perspective, and aims to ‘turn up the volume on inaudible voices‘(Clough 2002).
This is a place to share your experiences, voice your concerns and connect with others. Whether you consider yourself an advocate/activist or not, sharing your story is an act of solidarity with other early childhood educators.
As Ishiguro said:
Stories can entertain, sometimes teach or argue a point. But for me the essential thing is that they communicate feelings. That they appeal to what we share as human beings across our borders and divides…But in the end, stories are about one person saying to another: This is the way it feels to me. Can you understand what I’m saying? Does it also feel this way to you? (Ishiguro 2017)
We encourage you to take a few minutes to share your voice – and be part of a movement.
Send your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be part of the change. Be heard. Speak up for EYs. It's time.
Clough, P. (2002) Narratives and Fictions in Education Research. Buckingham: Open University Press.
Ishiguro, K. (2017) My Twentieth Century Evening and Other Small Breakthroughs. New York: Penguin Random House.
I am a teacher. I have been teaching EYs for over 15 years.
There is change ahead always and I know that we are expecting some early years reforms in TWO YEARS time but...
1. Why is the DFE asking me to be an early adopter of the early years reforms?
2. Why is the Local Authority bribing me to sign up and saying I will be exempt from moderation if I do as though that would be a good thing?
3. Why is an Ofsted representative sharing the link for me to join now!?
4. WHY ON EARTH is Ruth Miskin (of RWI phonics programme) emailing me to “get in first’?
Has the world gone mad?
The real questions to ask ourselves are:
1. WHY oh WHY would we risk de-skilling our staff by asking them to teach a different programme of study/curriculum to what we are teaching now OR will be teaching in two years time?!?!?!
2. We will be exempt from moderation only because they will not know HOW to moderate us!?
3. What about the children while we test out more curriculum reforms? Such risk of weaker cohorts since their early adopter curriculum is not supported by guidance, a framework, exemplification or evidence?
Do they think we are daft?
Do you have the answers?