Recently there have been many changes to the Early Years curriculum. The changes have been introduced to ensure that all children ae receiving a good standard of education before they start formal school in the term that they turn 5. All of this seems on the surface to be very sensible and well thought through. Many schools and nurseries have developed their way of meeting all of the standards and understand the need for these changes, even the next set of changes which will be put into place in September. My concern with all of these curriculum changes and the way we (early educators and childcare staff) are expected to do so much recording of children’s progress that the children have less contact with the adults. I really enjoy my role in the school I work in as I can give the child and other children a lot of attention. I play with the children and get to know them as individuals rather than as a report that needs to be written or an observation that needs to be carried out. (I work for the supply service as a TA, and not for the school)
The children in the nurseries and schools are not missing out on anything, there are staff there who will put the welfare of the child before the paperwork, and many who will stay late for no extra money to ensure the environment is prepared for the children. They plan suitable activities to encourage learning and these are adjusted to meet the needs of the children.
With in the childcare industry the staff do all of this and more for minimum wage, yet on the whole the childcare in Britain is the most expensive in Europe. Government wants the staff teams to give the highest quality of care with the best learning experiences possible and yet do not subsidise the industry, the rely on the passion of the individuals to work long hours for minimum wages.
So next time you drop your child off at school or nursery or with the child minder, think for a moment about the work these adults do, how they strive to make the care they give your child as good as they can, them remember that many of these people are on a basic salary, (even a nursery mananger will only be paid around £15000pa). They work long hours to ensure your child is well cared for, and given opportunities to to develop in all areas, they are not just baby sitters who let your children play all day. Every movement of the child has to be recorded, all activities are planned in advance, every activity is reviewed and every meal is recorded. There is a lot more to the work than people realise.