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Do We Expect Too Much of Nurseries and Pre-Schools?

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do we expect too much from our nurseries
Last week, Ofsted’s chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw said that nurseries are failing to ensure children are ready to learn when they get to primary school. Apparently children are arriving for their first day at school unable to hold a pen, unable to recognise numbers or to use the toilet independently. In the poorest communities, as many as eight in ten children fall into this “unprepared” category.
I was a “people’s panel” guest on BBC Wiltshire last week discussing this. You can listen here (the discussion is at about 01:27)
I went to a Montessori nursery school, where I learned basic letters and numbers before starting school. When I got to school though, I was in a minority – a lot of children had never attended any sort of educational institution before that point, and were all taught the alphabet at the age of 5. Granted, my first school was exceptional in that it had only 30 pupils in the whole building (years 1-4), so we all got an arguably higher standard of education any way, but still – not until we were 5. Very few of us had attended nurseries or pre-schools. Many of the children from that school have gone on to great things, despite not beginning their education until they were 5. They have not been blighted by this terrible neglect faced by most children of the 1980s.
What is this rush with having children in a structured learning environment at younger and younger ages?
And is it really the responsibility of nurseries to teach children these things?
My daughter goes to an absolutely fantastic nursery. The staff are all lovely, the building is lovely, they do such a vast range of activities I can’t keep up with it all. She wanders off happy in the mornings, and chatters all the way home. For World Book Day they had a whole week of activities, including a day where they re-enacted Oh Dear complete with toy animals and hay everywhere.
Do we expect too much of nurseries and pre schools?
Last week, I went to parents’ evening, where her keyworker talked through with me how she was getting on, and we discussed her moving downstairs to the next room when she’s two. She showed me S’s Learning Journey, which I assume is something they have to do for each child. It was lovely to see photos of S playing with her friends, feeding herself, etc. It was nice to see photos of us together from the times I’ve been into nursery for things. It was nice to read little notes from her keyworker saying “S picked up this and played with this and I said this…” What bothered me about it was that this wasn’t just something they’d done as a keepsake for S’s time in nursery; beneath every photo and observational note, there was a list of the observational points the activity covered.
Example:
S was on her way outside to the playground. An adult held on to her hand and began to walk down the stairs. S held on to the banister as well as the adult’s hand and walked all the way down the stairs, two feet to a step. 
– physical development; moving & handling; 22-36 months; Walks up or down stairs holding on to a rail two feet to a step.
Am I the only one who thinks this sort of thing is turning my daughter’s childhood into some sort of clinical experiment?
Staff in nurseries have a tough job; they have to be there before the children arrive, setting up for the day; they have to be chirpy and happy and endlessly patient with a marauding gang of snotty toddlers, to think up endlessly fun activities, to field queries and complaints from over-protective parents. I’ve never asked S’s keyworker how much the average nursery worker gets, but I’m pretty sure they’re not paid the big bucks. Why should they then be pressured to also do mountains of paperwork on top of looking after the children all day?
Don’t get me wrong; it’s nice to look at her Learning Journey and see that she’s had fun, but if I though the nursery weren’t looking after my daughter well, if I thought she wasn’t happy there, no amount of paperwork with EYFS key stages carefully noted down would stop me from removing her.
I judge how good S’s day has been by the smile on her face, the number of bags of dirty clothes I’m handed at home time, and the amount of pen/paint/sand/glitter smeared across her face and into her hair. I can tell she loves it there; I know she’s having a good time. The other day I arrived to pick her up to find one member of staff on the floor with a child on each knee having cuddles, another reading stories, and another watching several children playing in a tent. I couldn’t see S until one of them called her name, and she emerged from a tunnel with a massive grin plastered across her face. That is what I pay nursery fees for; that is how I know my child is well cared for and having a good time.
The staff would tell me if she had any sort of problem with socialising or joining in with activities. They shouldn’t have to try and fit her play into a specific framework set out by a government who really should be looking at those much larger fish they should be frying.
It seems to me that on the one hand, the government are trying to increase class sizes and change the law regarding ratios in nurseries and classrooms; but on the other hand, they’re piling more and more responsibility onto these nurseries.
Furthermore, should it really be the job of the nursery staff to teach my child to use the toilet independently? Is it their responsibility to teach her the alphabet or how to hold a pen? I would count all of those things as my job, and while staff in nurseries help parents with all of these things, it’s not their responsibility. If S leaves nursery to start school unable to use the toilet by herself, it will be me who has failed more than any nursery staff.
What is this fascination with having children shoved into school-like settings at younger ages?
If you look back at the great people of our history, how many of those started school aged 4? And in countries where children generally achieve higher levels of literacy and numeracy, they tend to start school later. What’s so wrong with letting our children play?
What does government think will happen, if my daughter just gets to play and spend time with her friends until she is 5?
I’ve heard plenty of horror stories from friends who are primary school teachers of parents depositing their beloved child in the playground at the start of Reception year, still in a nappy. Or at a point where they probably should still be in a nappy. Whether they’ve attended nurseries or not up to that point, it was the responsibility of the parent to toilet train the child. Perhaps if it was obvious they weren’t succeeding – for whatever reason – more help should have been offered before September rolled around and the poor child had to sit in a classroom of peers who were all perfectly able to go to the toilet without assistance?
Perhaps, in those “poor” areas where children are arriving at schools without basic capabilities, more support should be given to parents early on. Rather than lumber nursery staff with the job of preparing a child for school, why do we not look to the parents to take an active role in teaching their child? Perhaps more funding should be put into the provision of health visitors and suchlike so that children can be visited in the home to see how they get on, and help given to parents to improve where skills are lacking. There are relatively few parents out there who genuinely do not want to help their child to succeed. Many may need extra help with it – but they need help, not someone to do it for them, surely!

Vicky is a mother, a blogger, a podcaster and a social media trainer. She writes about life as a single mother, parenting and lifestyle type things.

175 Comments
  • Machelle

      REPLY

    Great perspective! Yes parents are ultimately responsible for their child's care and education, no matter what their age, not just before age 5! If the government would only let parents just do their job. They can do it better than any school employee. Thanks for sharing.

  • Peggy

      REPLY

    It&#39;s been awhile, my oldest is 30 this year, but as a parent I always thought it was my responsibility to teach my children their letters, numbers, songs, and how to read. By the time both my girls were in kindergarten they knew basic skills and both of them could ready basic books. <br /><br />You can find me on twitter at frazzled2fab :-)

    1. Anonymous

        REPLY

      I potty trained all my children taught them the values of life . I enjoyed that job as that&#39;s why I had children to watch them develop and grow into happy toddlers then teenagers, it was my responsibility something I enjoyed doing and would not have liked the pleasure taken away from me seeing my child talk or walk for the first time so yes its the responsibility of the parent.

  • Emma T

      REPLY

    I am so with you on this (although given N is still pretty much refusing to use the toilet or potty at just over 3, I&#39;d love for someone to do the training for him lol)<br /><br />Like you, I love his learning journals, I love looking at all the photos and reading what he&#39;s been up to. And I love watching him develop through doing all the things he loves doing as well as the activities I

    1. Anonymous

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      My son was 3.5 before he potty trained. He took to it very quickly and goes throgh the night. Good luck.

    2. Anonymous

        REPLY

      My health visitor told me not to worry - you never see a bride go down the aisle in nappies. This made me realise all things happen in their own sweet time. <br />As a nursery practitioner I can assure you we would much rather be making play dough cakes and getting covered in glue that filling in learning journeys but we do it all because we love children. I often take my planning home (not the

    3. Anonymous

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      I completely agree with, what a great perspective on things. My daughter was in nursery at a very young age and had a couple of years off before starting her 3-4yrs nursery. In the couple of years she was off as parents with no help she had learned to use the toilet independently, hold a pen, write most letters, count and start the alphabet ALL before she was few months over 3. Nursery has helped

  • Phoenix preschool

      REPLY

    I visited my son&#39;s school in session. I popped there unexpectedly in the middle of the day. Every parent should do this. They had some structured learning but also a lot of playing which I think is the best way for children to learn.

  • Anonymous

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    Wow great post. I completely agree with what you say and I work in a nursery and have a 4 year old due to start school this September. 10 years or so ago before ofstead and EYFS regulated and dictated structure I worked in a few different child care settings where as child care workers we where allowed to teach preschoolers to write, learn the alphabet, recognising letters and numbers, counting

  • Anonymous

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    As someone who has worked as a TA in a reception class it would be far more useful for children to learn skills like dressing themselves, buckling their shoes and zipping up their coats, if girls are goung to wear tights then teach them how to put them on! As well as more basic skills like toileting and recognising their written name. Most reception teachers I know prefer children not to have

    1. Anonymous

        REPLY

      I couldn&#39;t agree more. This is fantastic.

    2. Anonymous

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      I work in a.nursery with 2_3 year olds and.yes we.do do as.much as.we.can.to.prepare the children.for reception however the.New foundation stage document and.order do.not.want.us to.sit the children.down and.force them to write 。as you say they encourage the.children to learn through play we ensure there is always activitys available for the children to access that encourage pencil.control

    3. Anonymous

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      I work in an extremely busy pre school and try to perform miracles on a daily basis, not only providing care and support for the child and very often the parent, we have to collate evidence in all matter of ways, and ensure the children are having a brilliant day. I am already preaching School readiness&#39;. Self care, independence, listening skills, the list has been a real eye opener for

    4. Anonymous

        REPLY

      As a nursery nurse myself , I could not agree more.

    5. Anonymous

        REPLY

      My pre school tells me my 3 year old son won&#39;t be school ready. Well maybe the government shouldn&#39;t be making him go to school at 4 years 6 weeks old!

    6. Anonymous

        REPLY

      I wouldn&#39;t worry to much as you will find that by the end of the year they all end up on a similar stage of development, not being school ready doesn&#39;t matter too much because reception teachers these days get them up to speed in no time. My sons the exact same age and starts school this September I&#39;ve pushed him at home so he recognises all lowercase letters, numbers and can write

    7. Anonymous

        REPLY

      it is not a competition!! a child learns at his/her own speed! they are not all going to be &#39;rocket scientists&#39;!

  • Anonymous

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    I actually gave up my job in a nursery to be a nanny due to the paperwork involved, it wouldn&#39;t be too bad taking photos and noting down children&#39;s development in their journals if it wasn&#39;t necessary to continually have to link it to the eyfs. But unfortunately due to a minority of bad childcare settings these rules have to be in place to stop the lazy people just being paid to sit

    1. Anonymous

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      I agree that the learning journey paperwork is to create some quality of care at the thousands of nurseries/preschools in the UK, your very lucky to have found one that&#39;s good enough to have such confidence in. Mothers are being encouraged to return to work as quickly as possible and hand over the education of their child to an unrelated person who despite best intentions is not that child&#

    2. Anonymous

        REPLY

      And get paid considerably more.

  • Anonymous

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    As someone who currently works in a pre-school I wholeheartedly agree with what you are saying. I love what I do, but I feel it is one of the most under-valued professions. We too use Learning Stories, we try to make them into a keepsake for the children and familes but they are an observational tool - we have to be able to show that we know where all of our children are developmentally, we

    1. Anonymous

        REPLY

      I completely agree with everything stated here.

    2. Anonymous

        REPLY

      here here!!! :)

    3. Sharon McRoberts

        REPLY

      I have practised this routine from the very first time my daughter and son went into their own rooms. Firstly I came said do not come out your room unless you really need me or for the toilet then I went and got them in the morning (usually around 7:45am) .<br />When older I put in the clock and showed them the time and said the same , do not get up after the 7 but before the 8.<br />My son still

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    This is fantastic. Yes.. teaching those vital skills ultimately lies with the parents. If a child did not attend a setting, it would be solely down to parents and nobody else. Child care settings and parents should work together to achieve those life long skills such as toileting. But I couldn&#39;t agree more, that learning journals should be lovely keep sakes..not a grid that is marked off day

    1. Anonymous

        REPLY

      i completely agree i am a nursery nurse and i am now going into nannying as i want to get involved with the childrens activities and enjoy the time with them rather than always thinking i need to write this down i also do more hours than i get paid for gone are the days when you just maked down a milestone its crazy just how much paperwork we have to do

    2. Jay Brady

        REPLY

      I&#39;m also a nursery nurse and have just finished my level three, I&#39;m only 20 and it can be a very stressful job that&#39;s doesn&#39;t need to be, I love my job and I hate the fact that my time is taken away beacuse we have to comply with the government and compleate the EYFS within their learning journeys; it&#39;s a crazy amount of work. As I work with 4yrs we have the preassure from

  • Anonymous

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    I agree with some aspects of this but there are also upsides to the Preschools following this framework. It enables children with undiagnosed learning/social issues to get help at a much earlier stage which then allows them to get the extra help needed before they start school. What about the children who want to read and write. My youngest started to write at the age of 3 so she would be help

    1. Anonymous

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      I am a nursery nurse and do agree that we can provide the activities so all children can choose to learn not forced, also supporting the family&#39;s that need or want help with potty training, the learning journeys are lovely but a parent once told me it makes them feel stupid reading the eyfs areas an not understanding. We spend so much time writing about the child&#39;s development, additional

    2. Anonymous

        REPLY

      Your daughter would not have been held back if she were playing, if she got pleasure from writing she would have incorporated it in her play. If she didn&#39;t, making her do it could put her off for a long time and damage her self esteem and confidence, which really would hold her back. Through play children learn without realising, they also grow as humans, learning to negotiate relationships,

  • Teri Aldridge

      REPLY

    As someone who was a room leader for babies in a nursery chain I was overwhelmed with the amount of paper work I was expected to do for each child and often took my work home with me. Even though the children left my room at 15 months they had already had their own folder with eyfs targets highlighted and evidenced to show they are meeting their targets. We provided fun activities and had to

    1. Anonymous

        REPLY

      Completely agree!

    2. Anonymous

        REPLY

      i totally agree with this! I was a deputy at an early years setting and on £7.50... I moved from that job due to stress of working long hours at home, with no pay! (which affected my kids home life!) I now work as a nursery nurse on £6.60and dont work extra at home but feel that the time I give the children is not enough because of all the bloody paperwork we have to complete just to make it a

    3. Anonymous

        REPLY

      Most nursery nurses in private or voluntary run nurseries/pre school in my area are on the minimum wage for their age unless they are a team leader, etc. Many nurseries also use apprentices who are on approx £2.60 an hour for upto a 40 hour week. I was a nursery manager until recently and was paid £8.00 an hour. I agree with everything said in the blog.<br /><br />

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    Nursery staff are underpaid, working an incredibly stressful job and are expected to jump through hoops regarding paperwork for Ofsted. As a baby room leader of two years (on £7.12 an hour) I was overwhelmed by the amount of paperwork I had to complete and often took it home to complete. For every eyfs target I had to evidence the child doing it with photographs and written observations (&quot;

  • Jill Erickson

      REPLY

    I love your blog post on this topic! I live over here in the United States but we have many of the same issues. My degree and life work is in early education and children learn best through play! Teachers in preschool classrooms should be encouraging play! Play with a purpose - making the most of teachable moments. What better way to learn colors than to have conversations about the things

    1. Anonymous

        REPLY

      Most definitely. It&#39;s nice to see that the majority of us who work within Early Years all have the same perspective on things.

  • Jill Erickson

      REPLY

    I love your blog post on this topic! I live over here in the United States but we have many of the same issues. My degree and life work is in early education and children learn best through play! Teachers in preschool classrooms should be encouraging play! Play with a purpose - making the most of teachable moments. What better way to learn colors than to have conversations about the things

  • Jill Erickson

      REPLY

    I love your blog post on this topic! I live over here in the United States but we have many of the same issues. My degree and life work is in early education and children learn best through play! Teachers in preschool classrooms should be encouraging play! Play with a purpose - making the most of teachable moments. What better way to learn colors than to have conversations about the things

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    As a childminder and mum of two I totally agree, there is so much pressure from childcare professionals to write reports, learning journey, observations it take the focus away from the carer to be able to play and interact with the child with out an hidden agenda. Yes the learning journals are lovely and I think it&#39;s lovely to be able to show a parent what their child has been doing while

    1. Anonymous

        REPLY

      Ofsted definitely need to look at the way they do things.. I also know that our preschool has been praised for things that another preschool has been criticised for.. There is no consistency which is just ridiculous. If children learn too soon, like you&#39;ve said, they&#39;ll get bored once they reach school. Encourage their learning by all means, if they&#39;re at that level and keen, but

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    completely agree with this post. I used to be a nursery nurse myself and believe you me, we were lucky if we got paid just above minimum wage. It is not our responsibility to teach children there ABC&#39;s even though we did teach children there ABC&#39;s, which we enjoyed doing, it is still the parents responsibility to primarily be the ones who teach their children the basics. We had enough on

    1. Anonymous

        REPLY

      well said!

  • The Common Sense Eccentric

      REPLY

    I have taught in early learning environments and you can tell which students have received more support from their parents. (Support can can vary but the simplest form is having a structured &amp; safe home environment (thereby enabling a child to get toilet trained quickly &amp; have some independence).<br /><br />I think that the writer&#39;s idea of sending health visitors to the home of a

    1. Anonymous

        REPLY

      How to eat properly - actually in my nursery class we always have several children who need to be taught how to bite and chew there food, rather than push it al in their mouth and suck. It doesnt take long to teach them, but blatently they have never been taught this simple skill at home. I too agree it is an excellent idea to send in support to parents who have failed to toilet train their

    2. Anonymous

        REPLY

      we are the new health visitors!! we dont visit the family home (well we offer that in our setting if the parent so wishes!!) but we are now the ones that do the 2 year check and it is a statutory document that WE HAVE TO DO! where is the pay increase for us taking on the role that health visitors no longer do!!?

    3. Anonymous

        REPLY

      Health visitors do certainly exist... Many health visitors now have nursery nurses (aka myself) who work alongside them who regularly make home visits to families who SEEK support around parenting (toilet training included).. Whether parents choose to access help is another story...

  • The Common Sense Eccentric

      REPLY

    I have taught in early learning environments and you can tell which students have received more support from their parents. (Support can can vary but the simplest form is having a structured &amp; safe home environment (thereby enabling a child to get toilet trained quickly &amp; have some independence).<br /><br />I think that the writer&#39;s idea of sending health visitors to the home of a

    1. Anonymous

        REPLY

      Reading your post I&#39;m afraid I can&#39;t get past the fact that you are using the term &#39;student&#39; for these very little children........

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    Hallelujah! As a childminder I am becoming more and more despondent with the ever changing goal posts, we are swamped with paperwork which has to be done in our own time as being one to one it cannot be done during our &quot;work&quot; hours, and there is always more &quot;training&quot; evenings to attend. I did ask at one training evening why parents are not issued with a copy of the EYFS

  • Carla Lucy

      REPLY

    This is a fab and very very true post.<br />I am a parent my self and and qualified nursery nurse and now manager of my own setting.<br />I go d it I intreguing that they are now moaning at nursery staff for NOT teaching children basic skills, letters numbers ect when it was them that said we were not allowed as when children got to reception some could do it and some couldn&#39;t and it was

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    Yes they do.

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    I have been in Early Years Care and Education for many years. I completely agree parents are the child&#39;s main educators and every course and conference or training I attend tells me this. So why is it the government are constantly trying to get practitioners to teach children letters and numbers, early maths and put unachievable targets in place for young children. My role (as I see it) is to

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    I work in a nursery in scotland and we were told we werent aloud to teach the children how to write properly or teacher type activities with them which I dont think is right. Also inspectors or government realise its bad enough with the ratios we already have within settings. We are on basic wages to look after the children and we do the best we can to meet their requirements but it&#39;s hard

    1. Anonymous

        REPLY

      The correct spelling is allowed. Not aloud.

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    I dint go to nersury and am doon ok. Lol. YOLO. HASHTAG.<br /><br />Terribly sorry old fruit. I don&#39;t know what came over me.<br />

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    I&#39;m a childminder and couldnt have said this any better....well done.x<br />

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    I have worked in day nurseries since 2003, back then our job was to look after the children, making sure they were happy, fed and entertained, while their parents were at work, sure there was paperwork, but it was basic things that children pick up anyway like stacking bricks, walking and making friends. I work with 2 year olds now, and there is so much more involved, so much paperwork we don&#39

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    I agree. As a nursery nurse I struggle daily with over 10 key children and all the paperwork involved to meet requirements. When you go off a ratio and there is no time to do paperwork and most of the time this means finishing work to go home and do more work just to catch up and not fall behind it is very tough. I work for a nursery where the paperwork is just unreal.... ofsted say one thing

    1. Anonymous

        REPLY

      I worked in a nursery for a while after my degree and had 7 key children including a child with severe S&amp;L delay and worked 1 to1 with her. We had half an hour lunch and had to take all work home after work and in the holidays. I did not last long as I feel it is totally unfair and felt like slave labour. The children were fantastic, but the workload was unreal. I am now a TA in Reception

  • leigh78

      REPLY

    I work in a nursery part time and love my job and find it rewarding. I am also a Mum of two. Your blog is well put.I don&#39;t have key children but have a special bond with many. I help those staff i cover for planning etc to contribute to their learning journal but feel my job is more important that i meet the childrens needs not the ofsted needs. I do my job to be part of their extended family

  • leigh78

      REPLY

    I work in a nursery part time and love my job and find it rewarding. I am also a Mum of two. Your blog is well put.I don&#39;t have key children but have a special bond with many. I help those staff i cover for planning etc to contribute to their learning journal but feel my job is more important that i meet the childrens needs not the ofsted needs. I do my job to be part of their extended family

  • Michelle Curley

      REPLY

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Michelle Curley

      REPLY

    I&#39;ve been a Manager for years in a nursery and have now got to the point where it&#39;s an impossible job. Ofsted and early years are just piling more and more on nurseries, there is paperwork for paperwork now and it&#39;s ridiculous. It should just be about the children being well looked after and having a great time. The more paperwork staff do the less time they are spending with the

  • Rachel Gadd

      REPLY

    Wow! So many comments and responses, mostly backing up your theories, it seems you&#39;ve hit the nail on the head! I work in Early Years and have done for 25 years, since I was 18. When I started working in nurseries the emphasis was on the safety and general welfare of the child - a child who feels safe and happy will develop and learn. I have seen a huge amount of changes to the expectations

  • Rachel Gadd

      REPLY

    Wow! So many comments and responses, mostly backing up your theories, it seems you&#39;ve hit the nail on the head! I work in Early Years and have done for 25 years, since I was 18. When I started working in nurseries the emphasis was on the safety and general welfare of the child - a child who feels safe and happy will develop and learn. I have seen a huge amount of changes to the expectations

    1. Anonymous

        REPLY

      Thank you - as a preschool nursery nurse I agree entirely with you. (Btw where do you get paid over £7?! £6.50 or less is more likely for level 3 qualified and many years experience)

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    I completely agree with this post. IMPORTANTLY It is not a requirement of our country/government/law for a child to attend a pre-school setting i.e day care/nursery. <br />So there could be many children starting school without any previous learning outside of the home. I have worked in the same setting for over 9 years now and Not only do we have to maintain that the care and safety of the child

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    I am preschool practitioner and I absolutely love my job but we provide small sessions and have to cram so much into them to ensure we are getting the observations we need for learning journeys that the day always feels stressful from the paperwork overload. I completely agree that children do not need all this until they go to school, if children show an interest in such activities then we

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    As an Early Years Practitioner totally agree with all the comments made. There is no time for fun with the children anymore because of the endless amount of paperwork and the minimum ratio is ridiculous. If things continue in this vein there will b many great Practitioners leaving this particular profession.

  • Victoria Ratcliff

      REPLY

    Child care doesn&#39;t pay well but the smiles on the children&#39;s faces make up for it <br />Only necular physics has more legislation than child care says alot really xxx

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    Completely agree with this. The government thinks that it&#39;s ok, they&#39;re getting unemployment down and mums back into jobs but at what detriment to society to future generations who, going on their own expierience of growing up will think well if I don&#39;t do it then someone else will. Parents should be able, supported and encouraged to be with their children.

  • The Flying Sqrl

      REPLY

    Trusting parents to do the right thing does not help those kids with bad parents. The much lauded North European system of starting education later is augmented by such things as free childcare from birth. This means parents who can&#39;t cope, can put their children in the hands of professional caregivers who, like our nursery workers and teachers do a superb job of nurturing children.

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    Why do you go through so much education to just finger paint with a child? I could pay a 16 year old fresh out of school to come to my house to do that and for nearly half the money? This article is actually quite degrading as it is undervalued and underpaid job but why shouldn&#39;t parents expect more when the amount of learning you put yourself through to do your job? And I am a nursery nurse!

    1. Anonymous

        REPLY

      Play=learning. That&#39;s a simple fact which underpins many theories into early years education and is supported by the research.

    2. Anonymous

        REPLY

      Finger painting!!!!! We do alot more than that this article isnt degrading your comment is!!

    3. Anonymous

        REPLY

      This post is degrading ! Not the article ! We do alot more than finger painting!! Also I dont believe in getting a child ready for school. The school should accomodate for a childs individual needs. However if the child is given the right guidance and support from both child care and parents they should have the skills they are ready for to go to school with. I think people put a lot of pressure

    4. Anonymous

        REPLY

      A 16 year old fresh out of school wouldnt want half the money we get!! lol. I dont think the person that wrote it is trying to make us feel degraded but to emphasis that we are worthy of a lot more respect as professionals!! :) I have told both my older children NOT to go into the field of nurseries/preschools as it is CRAP wages and they expect too much from you! I wish I had stayed in

  • sarah power

      REPLY

    i started work as nursery nurse in 2003 until 2006, sadly due to the incredibly bad pay i had to leave for a job in a call centre dealing with sky broadband!!!??!! in 2011 as my partner was able to support me in going back to the job i loved, i returned to childcare and became a preschool teacher. i was completely overwhelmed with how much the paperwork had increased and had to work from home 6-8

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    I totally agree with this. Working as a childminder for the last sixteen years I have seen a huge increase in paperwork and spend hours and hours, in my own time, keeping up to date. My children all have learning journals and scrapbooks showing the work and activities we do. My eldest minded child is now at university studying a degree and she was never subjected to the observations and

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    I so agree with you but could I also point out I&#39;m a childminder who not only does the same job as a nursery with various ages for very little pay but I also do all the same paper work am ofsteded----outstanding last time ,and do all this alone

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    I am a Registered Childminder of 23 years and I totally agree. I can honestly say that I give the children now the same opportunities and activities as I did when I started but I just have a lot more bureaucracy to deal with - none of which has any effect on the children&#39;s well-being or progress, it is just for the Government. Yes the parents love the Learning Journals, but for the photos

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    I work in a school and yes I do agree that we are pushing too soon, but also getting to five and not being able to use the toilet properly isn&#39;t fair on the teacher. At school it isn&#39;t the responsibility of the teacher to change wet or soiled clothes. They should be able to do the basic skills.

  • Gillian Beeby

      REPLY

    Very interesting. I trained as a Montessori teacher, so can appreciate her experience and she must in turn understand that children learn through play, but that play is structured to ensure specific learning. Montessori in particular teaches the &#39;practical&#39; side of life (dressing, cleaning, etc). <br />As a mother I certainly think it is the responsibility of the parent to toilet train

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    I to work in pre-school, and totally agree with all you have said, let them be children , and start their schooling at 5 when most will be ready and then they will fly, Aren&#39;t Parents are suppose to be the main Educators in their children&#39;s lives ?,most children spend more time with their parents/parent than they do will us, its no good putting practices in place if they are not carried

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    I agree 100% with these sentiments. Having nearly 40 years of childcare experience (23 of those in the same nursery) I have spoken to many parents about their children. Although they love looking at learning journeys and how their child is developing, their greatest concerns are &quot;is my child in a safe environment, being cared for and happy?&quot; Everything else is secondary. Let children be

  • Sharon Hunter

      REPLY

    All children need a routine yes I believe in that but they should be allowed to explore their world they live in of which nurseries are very good at but I don&#39;t believe in paperwork there is to much especially if OFSTED say&#39;s one thing and early years say another and if yr setting is a good one the keyperson is always available to talk and they would , also recognise if there was

  • Sharon Hunter

      REPLY

    All children need a routine yes I believe in that but they should be allowed to explore their world they live in of which nurseries are very good at but I don&#39;t believe in paperwork there is to much especially if OFSTED say&#39;s one thing and early years say another and if yr setting is a good one the keyperson is always available to talk and they would , also recognise if there was

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    I used to work in a childcare as an EYP. The saddest thing is, we were so busy doing the paper work during the day, we only managed to interact and play with the children towards the end of the day (when the parents came to collect the children, which worked well as we were making a good impression). We had to &#39;stage&#39; many photos for the learning journeys just to say the child is

  • caz78

      REPLY

    I agree with your post and a great read :-) I think it&#39;s the people in offices that are making changes without knowing what we do already! I&#39;m sure they think what should we add now for practitioners to do. I was a senior nursery nurse in a busy well run nursery and the paper work at home was a joke plus still researching getting new ideas to enhance the children further. The pay should

  • caz78

      REPLY

    I agree with your post and a great read :-) I think it&#39;s the people in offices that are making changes without knowing what we do already! I&#39;m sure they think what should we add now for practitioners to do. I was a senior nursery nurse in a busy well run nursery and the paper work at home was a joke plus still researching getting new ideas to enhance the children further. The pay should

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    I couldnt agree more with this. I work in a very good nursery from 2002 as a nursery assistant and worked all the way up to nursery marager. I left it 2011 to have a family of my ow ans now a full time mum of two. And my god havent times changed when I first started out there was barely no paperwork to do and children were allow to be children and just play now it paper work for this paper work

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    Can I please offer a perspective from a parent&#39;s point of view? I have brought up 4 children, and I have ALWAYS believed in talking and interacting with my children in my care. When .... went to nursery school attached to a main school,I used to read to my .... when parents needed to be with their children in the nursery class before 8.55 when the teacher would be in charge. I am proud of

  • jane

      REPLY

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    The government is failing children, parents and childcare provider&#39;s by charging extortionate amounts for childcare. If it didn&#39;t cost more than the average days wage to send a child to nursery then maybe so much wouldn&#39;t be expected of childcare workers! And it&#39;s not even like the wages of nursery staff reflect the costs! I am a single mother who has to work to afford to live but

  • AngelBean

      REPLY

    Hit the nail on the head! Thanks for this post. I am a mum of two nursery-aged children and I used to work in a nursery too. The nursery was all about Learning Journeys and it stressed the nursery staff out so much. As a mum, I saw things in my son&#39;s Learning Journey that meant nothing to me at all. Things that they had seen him doing which I had seen a hundred times before, but which they

    1. Anonymous

        REPLY

      Great response and hurrah - you made a key point missed by so many - sometimes it&#39;s not the failing of parents or nursery or child - they just aren&#39;t ready to do something!

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    I have conflicting feelings regarding this issue. I am a single parent to a very forward three year old boy who will start school two weeks after he turns four. I am also a practitioner and at University half way through my Teacher Training.<br /><br />As a practitioner myself I believe that education is the responsibility of the parent and that the nursery are there to encourage the child&#39;s

    1. Anonymous

        REPLY

      They are not just left to play . It is all planned play from individual interests of each child. Hence LEARNING through play. The children don&#39;t realise to them it is fun, interesting and exciting. It is down to the person playing alongside them modelling skills and language that helps them learn. They are not left to just play in a nursery

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    I am. Dutch and the British school system is the scariest in Europe. start later with formal learning is better. you expect a builder to put proper. foundations in a building, why not do this with our children... stop rushing everything and stop skipping developing skills

  • Giulia

      REPLY

    I&#39;m sorry but I don&#39;t agree completely. Although it is maybe true (i dont know!) that nursery staff are not paid big bucks, at least in the uk and in ireland, nurseries cost an arm and a leg. The cheapest nursery I have seen around my area charges 55 quid per day. If easter or xmas or st Stevens day or new year day fall on a day the child should have been at nursery, the parent IS

    1. Anonymous

        REPLY

      When you pay nursery fees you are paying for your child&#39;s place [so the nursery is staffed to ratio and your child can attend on the days and times you request]. If this wasn&#39;t done and you were charged on a attendance basis, it would end up being first come first served, so you wouldn&#39;t always be guaranteed a spot for that day and therefore could not guarantee being able to go to

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    I have read the original post and all the subsequent replies and the overwhelming message I can see is that far too much emphasis is being given to paperwork and not enough on interacting with the children. I have just left my job after 8 years. In this time the paper trail has increased to a ridiculous degree. I myself didn&#39;t start school until age 5 and never attended a play school (they

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    I work in a nursery as a nursery assistant and I absolutely love my job! The children I look after are my world and I enjoy each and everyone of them. I&#39;m happy with the paperwork it&#39;s just the fact that i put so much effort in paperwork and follow guidelines to a t and parents don&#39;t take notice to the boring parts of the work. They just want pictures of them playing and they&#39;re

  • jackie

      REPLY

    It is so important that children have those social skills that they will need all through their lives in our society. They are not young for long we need to cherish the young and let them learn through play how to socialize and also emotioally. I have been in childcare for 10 years and can always see the joy and laughter through play that these children get and what a pleasure this is for me

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    Big bucks we wish. Nursery workers get minimum wage

  • Rob Williams

      REPLY

    I totally agree with this, I was under the impression my little boy is very clever he&#39;s not even 4 yet, but he can count to 30, he knows his alphabet, he knows shapes and colours. Most of which he s been taught by me and his dad. Yet attending his parents evening, it was bought to my attention that they are concerned with his attention span. Now I know that he gets bored very easily and he

  • Rob Williams

      REPLY

    I totally agree with this, I was under the impression my little boy is very clever he&#39;s not even 4 yet, but he can count to 30, he knows his alphabet, he knows shapes and colours. Yet attending his parents evening, it was bought to my attention that they are concerned with his attention span. Now I know that he gets bored very easily and he likes to be very independant. The fact that he doesn

  • pendo

      REPLY

    How can you stop a child learning they are sponges, they will pick up on anything that interests them we are just facilitators good and bad, I have been in childcare for the last 40 + years ideas have changed many times but children stay the same far better for a child to feel wanted and loved, know how to dress themselves etc before learning to read and write. Please don&#39;t tell me we are

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    Agree - targets are rubbish.

  • pendo

      REPLY

    You can&#39;t stop children learning they are sponges, we are just facilitators good and bad. I have been in childcare 40+ years and children haven&#39;t changed. They need love and time and social skills learning to share, take turns, begin to dress themselves with the support of a caring adult in order to get on. It&#39;s not nurseries failing children it sometimes starts much earlier led by

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    Could not agree more. I work my backside of doing paper work all day when i realy should be playing with the children and having fun with them. I get £6.36ph.. How is that justified for being a masive part of a childs life and educating them?

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    This article hits the nail on the head! So very true. The eyes seems to have forgotten that children need to play not memories numbers and letter sounds. Nursery staff are expected to do waaaaaay too much paperwork. We would be better off spending that time with the children rather than filling in endless streams of paperwork.

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    Private nurseries cost so much due to the untold costs, such as the various insurances you need to run a nursery, rent, maintenance, utility bills, food, resources, all this before you pay the staff . Nursery staff all work hard to maintain ofsted, parents , govening bodies are happy, everyone seems to forget about the basic needs of the children except the people that actually work with them

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    They&#39;re trained and responsible to monitor children&#39;s milestones which can flag up any difficulties. That&#39;s why you pay the cost per hour in a professional setting. That&#39;s what I paid for. However, my daughters Autism was ignored by staff and was finally flagged up by the school. The educational psychologist said that the milestones that were recorded in her journal were way off

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    YES! As both a parent and a Nursery Assistant I agree whole-heartedly with everything you said here!

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    I agree completely with everything here! We live in a culture, though, of blame and the blame is always aimed at the wrong people. Its always &#39;Let that person take the blame&#39;. If you choose to have a child, you accept the responsibility that goes with that and not blame others when you fail your child. My daughter went to a childminder and she thrived. Now at school since September she is

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    I&#39;m retired nursery teacher with 4 grown up children and 6 grandchildren. Early years education should be fun - children learn best through play. Children who are ready to read before they start school will pester you until you teach them - I was one of those and I had one of those! I also had one who could just manage the first initial of his first name. The former has gone on to be

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    Totally agreeing I work as a nursery nurse and between nappies, meal time, activities, books and everything else I never get any time do all this paperwork. every time it changes theirs just more paperwork I love working with the children and messy play but trying to box, group and label each child for everything they do just seems wrong. children should have our full attention instead of

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    I&#39;m currently training to become a nursery nurse and I&#39;ve been in several placements and I&#39;ve seen the amount of paper work each person has to do and it&#39;s alot. People think working with children is all fun and games. I have always wanted to work with children I have loved my 3 years training! Children in nursery don&#39;t want to be sat down and told they have got to learn how to

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    My daughter goes to a private nursery part of the 2 year funding so she gets 15 hours &#39;a week free since september when she started she toilet trained talking more and come homes singing nursery rymes and can count to 20 at 2 years old i think they do a fantastic job wiv her and always look busy when i go to collect her :)

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    https://megaminder.co.uk/welcome.php<br />We offer early year practitioners a FREE secure online environment to make their jobs more efficient, and by doing so, giving them more time to focus on the children in their care and in return they provide the parents of the children insight to their child&#39;s daily activities and being able to demonstrate that they meet the requirements set out by

  • Helen

      REPLY

    I absolutely agree. As a mum of two (2 and 4) I feel like the government no longer trusts me to know what is best for MY children. Instead they are slowly handing out parental responsibility to institutions such as nurseries. I can&#39;t help feeling that we are a short step away from this type of childcare becoming compulsory. The free 15 hours from age 3 certainly goes some way to putting

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    Perhaps instead of asking if nursery children are ready for school, schools should be ready for our children - whatever stage they are at.

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    I totally agree with this post, so much pressure is put on to nursery nurses to teach children all of these life skills which is very unfair!!! Surely Parents should want to be the ones that teach their own children toilet training and numbers, to me I thought that was the whole point of having a child to nurture buy it seems the job of those in the childcare business now who then are being

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    This is so true. I worked in a nursery up until ayear ago and i loved my time with the children but hated all the rediculous paperwork, It would often take half a day of my sat down doing paperwork just to get a weeks worth done, during this time i would be in the room with the children counted into ratio but unable to give them attention as i had to do the paperwork. Surely my time would have

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    I completely agree with you. As a Pre-school Manager working in the field for over 10 years we have had increasing pressures to achieve what many of us consider unrealistic targets with regard to evidencing and documenting children&#39;s learning. Every so often we stop and remind ourselves that these unrealistic targets set by government are only there to satisfy Governments need to control and

    1. Anonymous

        REPLY

      Well said. :)<br />

  • roccy

      REPLY

    My question is if both parents work full time who teaches the child? Don&#39;t parents want to to know what their children will experience/learn/be taught when they are paying someone to deliver this? What do we do about nurseries/crèches/child minders where children&#39;s learning is not encouraged? If parent s spend 20hrs a week teaching and nurseries then spend that time ignoring will mom and

  • roccy

      REPLY

    My question is if both parents work full time who teaches the child? Don&#39;t parents want to to know what their children will experience/learn/be taught when they are paying someone to deliver this? What do we do about nurseries/crèches/child minders where children&#39;s learning is not encouraged? If parent s spend 20hrs a week teaching and nurseries then spend that time ignoring will mom and

    1. Vicky Charles

        REPLY

      My response to this would be: if both parents are too busy working to teach the child, why are they having children in the first place?<br />As I mentioned in my post, those parents who don&#39;t have the wherewithal to help their children should receive the help. <br />And I&#39;d like to see your evidence that if children don&#39;t receive early education they will somehow be less well-off

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    Regarding health visitors helping more, like a previous comment, I am a community nursery nurse within the health visiting team, I carry out 2 year checks everyday where I discuss toilet training (in depth!) I also do home visits everyday offering support when needed. I also have additional training from ERIC who also advise starting the potty training when the child is ready, not what age they

  • schreibs

      REPLY

    From an &quot;Early Years Practitioner&quot;....thank you for those words. Too much time is spent on paperwork and marking off developments on the EYFS framework that we are losing sight of what the children benefit from - learning through play and doing what comes naturally

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    I work in a day nursery as a member of staff in the toddler room, I could not agree more. Working the nursery&#39;s opening hours to cover up for the fact that there are not enough staff in the nursery, then to have a one hour lunch break, very difficult but lovely children, demanding parents who all turn up at the same time making the room even more stressful. Me and the other staff in the room

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    As a nursery practitioner I echo many of your comments. I also think of a phrase I learnt while researching and studying childcare for my qualifications. I think it was from Africa where there is a saying that the child is brought up by the village. In other words we all play our part, parents, grand parents, neighbours, relatives, sisters, brothers, aunts uncles, doctors, etc. etc. I still

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    I also work with children, I wholeheartedly agree. It has turned all children into a herd of cattle and has taken the parent out of the equation. This will eventually have a knock on effect to the whole of education. The children who should have certain monitoring should be the ones who require it through the identification of differences which may not fit into a mould as the government would

  • Sharon Batchelor

      REPLY

    Thank the Lord...Someone speaking sense finally..

  • Sharon Batchelor

      REPLY

    Thank you lord. Someone speaking sense at last. Butt out government and let our kids be kids and let the parents do their job.

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    As a manager of a day nursery I could not agree more, gone are the days of spending the whole day playing with the children, the amount of paper work that has to be crammed into a day is ridiculous the childrens play is now observed to fit into prime and specific areas of learning , for what.... Because the government and Ofsted say we have to. Learning journeys are a fantastic book to look

  • Natalie Bishop

      REPLY

    I have worked in various nurseries,<br />and it has been a real hard challenge.<br />I will never work in a private nursery again.<br />I do thank you for appreciating are role as careers.<br />I was so stress at work with all the responsiabilities they put on us.<br />I am now a waiting for my ofsted check to become a childminder.<br />Thanks for bringing this into the light!!<br /><br />

  • Jo Laybourn

      REPLY

    Great post and oh so true. I think too much emphasis is put on teaching children from a young age and not allowing them to learn through play! Fortunately my two went/go to a fabulous Preschool!

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    So what are we all going to do about it?

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    I totally agree with this a leading practitioner of a baby room i am on 6.60 an hour and have to do 8 observations each linking to the eyfs and one long they then have to be writen up to go in the childs profile which means that most of my time at work i am doing paper work instead of playing and looking after the children which is why i went into childcare. There is far too much paper work and

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    I am an owner of a couple of nurseries and couldn&#39;t agree with these comments more..<br /><br />One of the issues as I see them are way too many public sector workers (within Ofsted, Sure Start, CIS or any of the number of departments that put their oar into the mix) trying to justify their positions by &quot;inventing&quot; ever more labour intensive practices that unfortunately has to be

  • Kelly Walter

      REPLY

    Oh how I love this post!! As a child care centre staff member and as a mum myself, I see this from both a workers perspective and a mums and agree with everything! I dont send my child to daycare to get an education before school. That is my responsibility. She was toilet trained at home. She is learning to write at home. She is learning manners at home. A day in the life of a child care

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    As a nursery manager its nice to read that the amount of paperwork early years professionals have to do is being acknowledged. 12 yrs ive worked with children and year by year the paperwork has increased and has impacted massively on staff&#39;s time with the children. Its not about the care anymore, my nursery was inspected by ofsted a few months back and all they wanted to see was paperwork,

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    What a fantastic post as a nursery nurse I agree with what is said.As a mother of 2 I agree even more.My children attend pre school for 3 hours every morning.However the potty training, dressing skills etc all come down to me.It is impossible for nursery staff to do these tasks how can you potty train one child when you have another 7 or 5 children as your key children?<br />However i feel I

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    Have worked in childcare for 17 years + and agree with all previous comments. We are heading in the wrong direction putting to much emphasis on paperwork and targets. One year your being told yo do one thing the next something else we have been told many times not to focus on writing numbers and letters and I quote they will learn that when they go into reception now we&#39;re being told they

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    I am a nursery nurse in a nursery, the amount of paperwork we have to do for each and every child is crazy! When I did my training I thought i was going to be able to enjoy playing with the children and spending time with them but the paperwork is always there and never enough time to do it. As for wages and pay, childcare is poorly paid considering we are looking after people&#39;s children and

  • Amanda Kendle

      REPLY

    SOOOOOO right!<br /><br />Here in Western Australia my son has started school-based kindergarten (half-time) this year (he turned 4 this month). Before that he was in daycare (like your nursery I think) and the reports were similar. Thankfully (to me) his teacher at kindergarten, while having to report on these similar things, makes it very clear that the emphasis is on play at this age. But one

  • Elizabeth P

      REPLY

    I agree so much with your comments. We keep being told that our children are not achieving as well as children from other countries - and then we do the opposite to other countries and start them in formal education earlier and earlier. It is CRAZY. It simply sets up children to fail (or at least be discouraged) from the start.<br />I also notice several comments saying there should be more

  • SEO Belle

      REPLY

    A year ago I completely agreed with you and to some extent I still do. I think we should take responsibility for our children&#39;s development but sometimes if your child is in nursery full time you only have them 2 days so nurseries should take some accountability to prepare them for school, but it is more important for them to be happy and feel safe. <br />Since you wrote this I have had a

  • Sue

      REPLY

    I agree with you wholeheartedly - children don&#39;t need these obsessive observations to prove that they are developing and progressing in their learning. I used to be a Deputy Head and Class Teacher and you should see the data teachers now have to keep. There&#39;s a great quote by Stephen Covey &#39;Reducing your child to a test score is like stealing their identity&#39; http://

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    I like this. It is a very gd point but nursery staff shouldn&#39;t blamed for not teaching a child to toilet train or learn other important stuff in there life. When it come to train a child of toileting you have the with parents and staff. I had to say this coz I work in nusery

  • Lisa (mummascribbles)

      REPLY

    Amazing post, I sm in complete agreement with you. I too judge Zach's day at nursery on the same things as you. Yes it's good if nursery help with things like toilet training and abc's so that it's continuing with what's happening at home but I'm much happier knowing he's just having fun :) Great post as usual Vicky :) #FlashbackFriday Lisa (mummascribbles) recently posted...A horrible parenting situationMy Profile

    1. Vicky Charles

        REPLY

      Exactly. Obviously I don't want her plonked in front of a dvd all day every day while she's there - after all, I'm paying somewhat through the nose for it - but I don't expect them to do my job for me! I'm always surprised and delighted when S has learned something new. For me she's there to learn to socialise and play with others, and to have fun. Thanks for your lovely comment x

  • Tin Box Traveller

      REPLY

    I totally agree that more assistance should be given to parents to take responsibility for their child's early development. The vast majority do a great job but some think it is for some else to do. The Tot loves nursery and is learning loads of the practical every day stuff all the time. She has a learning journal but I don't think staff recording her achievements makes any impact on her at the moment. I can't really comment on anything beyond 23 months, but I'll be interested to see when she and I start to feel the pressure of targets! It's a really interesting and important topic #FlashbackFriday Tin Box Traveller recently posted...Review: Yummy Mummy MaternityMy Profile

    1. Vicky Charles

        REPLY

      Thanks for your comment. I often hear staff at nursery saying "argh, quick, someone get a camera - I need a photo of him doing that for his learning journey!" I know I take a lot of photos of S, but I'm her mum. I hate the idea the staff of a nursery are having to worry about recording certain things in photos just to fulfil some bonkers government framework.

  • Michelle Murray

      REPLY

    I work in a nursery looking after children 2 upwards. since i started i have seen a huge change in the way we record and document what the little ones get up to. In my opinion it has got better as now the documentation does flow like a diary really whereas before it was very much a strict document with lots of highlighting showing what the child could and could not do. I know they come to nursery to learn and develop and the best way i think for them to do that at this young age is through play. playing teaching them alot. sharing, learning to talk, social skills and the showing them having a great time through photos really makes the parents smile. Thanks for linking up #FlashbackFriday Michelle Murray recently posted...What To Buy For Our 15th Valentines Day Together?My Profile

  • Charlotte @ Educating Elsa

      REPLY

    I definitely think children should be allowed to play when they are little instead of being forced to learn from an early age. They will learn so much from playing anyway that it isn't necessary for them to be 'taught' in a school-like environment when they are still little. I encourage Elsa's development in areas that she is interested in (like numbers for example) but I never make her sit with a book and do structured learning. She's only 19 months old! I do think that nurseries have too much responsibility put on them for educating children and bringing them all to a universal standard, but at the same time I think there does need to be a balance especially for those children who are in a nursery full-time from a young age. I will potty train my daughter and teach her the alphabet because I am a SAHM but for those who need to work and put their children in daycare facilities then of course they will need some help. With the best will in the world you can be expected to work all day every day and still be able to toilet train a 2 year old without assistance. In those cases then the nursery needs to be the primary source of 'teaching'. Charlotte @ Educating Elsa recently posted...Parmesan Chicken BitesMy Profile

  • Yet Another Blogging Mummy!!!

      REPLY

    Great post. No wonder it is so popular. Yes we had the observational notes under photos too when the boys were at nursery I remember #ArchiveDay Yet Another Blogging Mummy!!! recently posted...Objets de Désir Bird Stud Earrings Easter giveawayMy Profile

    1. Vicky Charles

        REPLY

      Thanks! I wrote it because I was cross about the situation, I was really surprised when it ended up being so popular - but I suppose a lot of people feel the same way!

  • Karen Payze

      REPLY

    Great article! In South Africa, which is where I come from, formal schooling starts in year 1 at the age of 6 turning 7. There are nursery schools and preschools but they are not compulsory or formal education and because you have to pay for all education in South Africa (including primary and high school), most parents don't bother unless they are working. Formal schooling finishes at 18 but you can go to a technical college or apprenticeship at 16. Now I know the level of education has dropped significantly there over the last 10 or so years, but the system of starting school was the same for when I was a child. And I turned out fine (well I like to think so anyway ;) ) More pressure on children from a younger age leads to more psychological problems as teenagers, in my humble opinion.

    1. Vicky Charles

        REPLY

      I think you're right. I don't like the way our education system seems to be more about forcing children into labelled boxes, learning how to pass tests rather than genuinely learning things. It doesn't bode well for the future of the country that we're pushing children into education at such a young age, and forcing them to learn the answers to test questions rather than how to think for themselves.

  • carol hedges

      REPLY

    and you read my post about my 1 year old granddaughter having a report with targets? couldn't fault this post!!!!!! Spot on. carol hedges recently posted...A Very Steep Learning Circle (Adventures of L-Plate Gran)My Profile

    1. Vicky Charles

        REPLY

      A WHAT?!?! Surely when you're one year old the only target you have is "make a jolly big mess!"

  • Gretta

      REPLY

    Great post :-) Here in Australia it seems as if there is a never ending push for childcare centres to become more accountable and educative. I can understand that parents are not wanting to pay to put their child in front of a tv (which doesn't happen anyway) but the pressure that childcare should be just like school simply puts unreasonable pressure on the already busy carers and takes away from what is most important for the child - play! As an early childhood teacher my self play is the single most important thing that a child need to do before the get to school age :-) Thanks for hosting #weekendbloghop Gretta recently posted...Meal Planning 101My Profile

    1. Vicky Charles

        REPLY

      Thanks Gretta, I think you're right. It worries me how many parents I see wanting to push nurseries to teach their children the alphabet or telling them they should be helping with all this other stuff. My daughter goes to nursery to socialise and learn to play with others. If she learns numbers or letters along the way, great - but that's not what I'm paying them to do!

  • Lucy Dorrington

      REPLY

    I have to say, this 'unprepared' business does worry me. In my opinion, what should happen (and always used to, as far as I'm aware) is that the EYFS curriculum focuses on social interaction and learning through play. So, the preparation in nurseries, and even Reception class to a degree, should be on learning to listen, share, stand in line, and do things when asked, such as being quiet and standing still. The last two being important for Health and Safety reasons. Children are largely unaware that this is happening, because it is a natural part of playing with others. Yes, toilet training is a big issue, because schools don't have a vast army of staff, so lots of accidents can pose a problem, but I don't think educational learning goals is really an issue at such an early age. There are lots of examples from abroad where children don't start school until they are seven, and we don't see those nations as 'behind' in any way. I am a great believer that children will learn at their own pace, I don't see any need to hijack their early years to facilitate it. Lucy Dorrington recently posted...Win a Doodles Tablet Case!My Profile

    1. Vicky Charles

        REPLY

      Agreed Lucy! I find it bonkers that the government seem to think the answer is to just shove kids into schools earlier.

  • Clare's Little Tots

      REPLY

    I strongly agree with everything you said and I'm a childminder. I have to also meet the regulations set out in the EYFS and subject to the same ofsted grading criteria as nurseries. There's is an overwhelming amount of evidence that supports a later school start and as all they learn so much through play at a young age but this does mean that children from poorer backgrounds who don't access childcare are already massively behind by the time they start school. The free 15hrs for elegible 2 year olds helps take steps to prevent this but there is still a lot that is the parents responsibility. I teach children things such as personal hygiene, eating healthy, turn taking and getting outside and running about but if it isn't followed up by parents at home then there's no more I can do. The amount of paperwork is obscene that we have to complete and I hate the fact it's almost like a tick list checking off what each child cAn do. It's. Part of the job we all hate but unfortunately have to do it. I believe the parents of the children I care for pay me to look after their child and make sure they have lots of fun. Not complete endless amounts of reports!! Great article :-)

    1. Vicky Charles

        REPLY

      Thanks Clare, I think you're right - parents pay for childcare so that their children are happy and safe, having fun playing with friends and making a mess - not fitting into a government-proscribed box!

  • Natasha

      REPLY

    I totally agree with your thoughts about those books they give you. At S's last nursery, they gave me one of those books which I've never really looked through since then (a year ago) and often I saw the teachers sitting and filling them out during the day (surely that time should go towards the kids). As you said, if my kids happy then I don't need a book saying S ran over to xyz when she called him and he was very happy, etc. Natasha recently posted...#HappyQuacks Linky Wk 1My Profile

  • Danny Burr

      REPLY

    As a Child Development professional, i agree 100% with your assessment. Today, i refused to sit for at least an hour and "document" the exact points your brought up. Social interaction, fine motor, gross motor, letter recongition, and on and on. I am good at my profession. I engage children in activities few other teachers do which i bribg from my experience in both the trades and as a child of the 70's. I bring risk. To see a 3 yo hammer a nail in the first time, or to finally climb "grandfather tree" after sliding doen it a dozen times is the development i offer. But not very often. I am expected to write a paragraph a day for 9 children, supervise and mediate interactions, provide activities, am responsible solely for a Reggio inspired art program, and the thousand other duties a preschool teacher does for the higher than average wage of $17 an hour. I get 2 hours a week prep time. Not enough tine so much prep is done whike with the kids. IT IS STEALING FROM THE CHILDREN and short-changing th3 families who pay nearly $2000 a month fir a quality program. In 9 months i will leave this. I am opening my own Forest School. There will be documentation, when needed. And my children will have me there 100%. If your child is in a traditiinal preschool and you are impressed by the amount of detailed documentation, you are beibg ripped off. Its a show and a lie.

Pingbacks

  • Does Every Nursery Need a Qualified Teacher? - Single Mother Ahoy!

      REPLY

    […] Secondly, I find it incredibly insulting to people already working in nurseries and doing an amazing job, to say “well you’re not quite up to scratch, and you need a real teacher in here to help you.” I am aware that I seem to have hit something of a jackpot when choosing my child’s nursery, and I’ve heard some horror stories about others – but I don’t think insulting the abilities of existing staff is the way to improve any situation. Why not invest heavily in the people who have already decided to work in nurseries? Why not give them a better salary, better training, better working environment, less pointless paperwork to fill in on their breaks and in evenings? […]

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