June’s blog

June O'Sullivan, LEYF CEO

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We need one early years voice to sing in harmony for good quality childcare.

On Saturday, I read a letter in the Guardian coordinated by Early Education calling on local politicians to protect quality provision for children in their early years.  It reminded us of the longer term benefit Early Years can have for small children and the longer term consequences if politicians don’t heed this and allow the dismantling of local services.

9758001801_58a33d79f0_bIt was good to hear another group of voices share concerns about what is happening in the sector.  It’s only if we co-ordinate and work together that we will have any success at all. The Save Childhood campaign, the ratio campaign, and the #OfstedBigConversation all must be woven onto one big voice. We need a voice with the sheer power of Adele to touch people’s hearts and minds and never be allowed to forget the magic of what they have just heard.


In keeping with the importance of quality and what this means at LEYF, we have released our own The Twoness of Twos report.  Using our action research model we have examined what we think is necessary to ensure quality placements for two year olds.  Written from a practitioner perspective we will use it to shape our strategy, training plans and practice approach for two year olds attending our nurseries. Our key findings are unsurprising. Here is a taster:

  • Two year olds are special and need to have their developmental needs met
  • Two year olds thrive with adults who can tune into them, understand their needs and follow their leads
  • Two year olds need regular small groups where their voices and feelings are acknowledged
  • Staff need training specifically on two year olds, language development, identifying areas for concerns and how to lead two year old spaces
  • Healthy food is a critical element of two year old provision
  • An appropriate learning environment is crucial
  • High staff to child ratio is key to quality
  • We have to really consider assessment and transition of two year olds
  • Home Learning is a two way process and is the essential learning bridge and staff need to become expert pedagogical conversationalists

The report will be available to download from our website and I hope to share it when I speak at upcoming conferences:

  • CAPITA’s Early Years Provision Conference
  • Camden Council – What makes a difference for our 2 year olds?
  • Hackney Council – Learning together at home: Building families confidence to support their children’s development
  • What About the Children Annual Conference – Building the brain. What’s love got to do with it?
  • House Magazine – Improving Quality in Early Years Provision: The Role of Inspection
  • A One Day National Conference – Early Years Inspections (Manchester)
  • York Council – Working with 2 Year olds – Conference for Early Years Practitioners and Childminders

Busy, Busy, Busy!


6 Responses to We need one early years voice to sing in harmony for good quality childcare.

F*ckin’ awesome things here. I am very glad to see your post. Thanks a lot and i am looking forward to contact you. Will you please drop me a mail?

Interestingly I just read the letter to the Guardian and felt a little disappointed by the mixed message. I started to pen a response essentially saying that to achieve consistent excellent
improvements and high quality childcare for our young children we need to speak
with one voice. The groups need to exist in partnership and all stakeholders should
be mindful of the multiple considerations of the larger group, but ultimately
why do we do what we do? Children, we should therefore be on the same page
all of the time.
June you had already done it!!!
Another fantastic blog where do you find the time to write and respond so well so quickly!

I love what I do as a SENCo, working with two years old is HARD work. Training and recognising the hard work of beautiful practitioners across the UK, would make working with two years old more rewarding and enjoyable. Well done to you and your team.

Cant wait to read the report and share with my team

I agree June – we do need ONE clear and strong Voice – or if that is not possible – all the various voices saying the same thing. As an individual involved with Save Childhood Movement, Big Ofsted Conservation, signatory to the Too Much Too Soon Telegraph letter, The Early Education Guardian letter, the Childminders Telegraph letter – not to mention the starting the original ratio petition and the still live ‘Stop, Listen, Consult petition – and all my personal blogs. I am trying in my own small way to connect with everyone and to help others connect.

I am a great believer in ‘Together we can make a difference’

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