Sing-along to Bob Marley as you prepare for International Children’s Day on 1st June

Thank you all who responded to my blog ‘Colleagues, it’s time we finally took control’ calling us to stand up together and Reclaim Early Years from the toxic grip of our politicians. I was overwhelmed by the response.

The Government plans to loosen the ratios of adults to children as well as various changes including reducing quality support measures – it convinced me that our sector needs to find its voice, take over the Early Years debate, and communicate our concerns to the public.

I have come to the conclusion that politics is too serious a matter to be left to the politicians.

Charles de Gaulle

Let me paraphrase these words of wisdom and state:

Early Years is far too important to be left to politicians.

I have no sense as to how the ratio and childminding agencies will pan out. Our Minister has ignored us. I was asked to speak on BBC Newsnight, and they simply could not find a supporter of the proposed changes to ratios.

Just the week before, I had a fairly ferocious encounter with some political advisers who said (rather menacingly) that the support existed, only the advocates in question were too afraid to speak it publicly. Meanwhile, Mr Gove on the Andrew Marr Show said that Barnardos are big supporters. Quite clearly this is all little more than posturing, so I suggest we hold our nerve and not take our foot off the pedal.

In my view, the 1st of June needs to be a day about families, staff and children working together to provide a great experience for all small children, but especially those from poorer families. Parents are voters and getting them to understand the key issues is far more important. You might like to use this cartoon to illustrate your point.

Matt Childcare Plan cartoon from The Telegraph

Another brilliant way to put your fears across to parents is by showing them the below clip, as Homer Simpson takes Maggie to nursery.

So here is our plan

LEYF nurseries are hosting individual picnics from 1-3pm on Saturday, 1st June. Some are having the picnic in their nurseries, others in the local parks and others are joining up together. Local childminders would be very welcome to join us!

If we could encourage other providers to hold similar picnics across the UK at the same time, I think this would be a great way to celebrate and highlight our worth. But remember, we have to keep it ALL ABOUT THE CHILDREN.

Whether you can celebrate in the same way or not, you can still help by contacting your local press, writing to your MPs and local councillors – or even by lobbying a Lord.

On our website you will now find links to a basic but hopefully useful Summer Picnic event resource pack which you can freely download, customise, print and distribute as you wish. We are hoping to add extra resources soon, so please keep checking back  for more.

Whatever you do – and of course it’s entirely up to you – please do get a voice. Get parents on side. Spread the word. Make this a day to remember. And just imagine what will happen if we fail. In the words of Bob Marley…

Get Up, Stand Up, stand up for your right
Get Up, Stand Up, stand up for your right
Get Up, Stand Up, stand up for your right
Get Up, Stand Up, don’t give up the fight