‘Organise, Agitate and Educate’ must be our war cry if we are to get Childcare right

The Childcare Review has closed and we now leave it to Lord Sutherland and his committee to analyse the information and recommend a solution for the 30 Hours Government Funded Childcare.

I hope we have all submitted information. We already have a raft of research available from the last ten years from CBI to CEEDA The message has not changed. It’s hard to deliver the best quality childcare in a market place which is skewed by policy and legislation and where low cost is the driving force. It fits neither the Adams nor the Keynesian model. It’s also short sighted because as we know, if we are serious about caring about the future and creating a more equal society the interest of children has to be our priority.

So, while the Peers cogitate, let’s recap the ‘Top Ten’ ultimate essentials for Excellent Childcare:

1. Quality is key. If we don’t provide quality we are wasting our breathe and in some cases doing damage.

2. Understand and can integrate care and education in a way that develops the children’s potential and uses their interests and disposition to support them to thrive.

3. Play is important and not something that you do when you finish your work.

4. Ratios need to stay small ; children need tuned in and available adults who can love them.

5. Children need 15 hours for 36 months. More than that is questionable and less is problematic especially for those vulnerable and disadvantaged children.

6. Staff need to be engaged, motivated and well educated. They need a programme of appropriate CPD and in my humble opinion opportunities to be part of practitioner action research so they are continually questioning, considering and reflecting on their practice and making changes in the light of their findings.

7. The environment is the third teacher so pay attention to it indoors and outdoors

8. Home Learning is the final part of the learning puzzle. Ignore it at your peril.

9. Children are part of a wider community, so it’s best we understand what this is.

10. Early Years is much more than children, it’s about life chances, it’s about health, its about the future. Remember you are a leader for that future.

So, to ensure we do our bit to secure a better future for the next generation let’s act on the words of Susan B Anthony which I spotted at the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC:

‘Organise, agitate and educate must be our war cry’

So, create your own ‘Top Ten’ and join us at the #BIGCHILDCARECONVERSATION on the 19th September at Middlesex University and spend a day talking, thinking and supporting each other to get the public to realise what 30 Hours Funded Childcare needs to mean for their children. Spread the word and sign up – prizes for the best song choices!