Promoting Children's Learning from Birth to Five: Developing the New Early Years Professional

Promoting Children's Learning from Birth to Five: Developing the New Early Years Professional

Promoting Children's Learning from Birth to Five: Developing the New Early Years Professional

Promoting Children's Learning from Birth to Five: Developing the New Early Years Professional

Synopsis

• What sort of literacy and numeracy curriculum experiences are best suited to the needs of very young children?
• How can early years professionals bridge the current divisions between education and care to provide an approach to young children's learning which draws on the strengths of both traditions?• How can these professionals be supported as they develop new practices which focus on young children as learners?• What strategies are most effective in involving parents with their children's development in literacy and mathematical thinking?Drawing upon research carried out in a range of early years settings, Angela Anning and Anne Edwards seek to address these questions. The emphasis throughout is upon enhancing the quality of children's learning and providing support for the practitioners who work with them. The complexity of addressing the various cognitive, social, physical and emotional learning needs of young children is discussed and practical strategies to develop children's learning are explored with a particular focus on communication and mathematical thinking. Published at a time of dramatic change in pre-school provision in the UK, the book will both inform and reassure early childhood professionals. It will be important reading for managers, administrators and all professionals working in early years and family services and an accessible text for those studying for childcare and education and teaching qualifications.

Excerpt

In an attempt to coordinate and improve a legacy of disparate and under-funded services for children (Pugh 2001) the Labour government has introduced a raft of reforms. As we enter a historic third term of a Labour government in England, the field of early childhood services is benefiting from an unprecedented flow of money and attention. However the agenda has widened to include all children, not just young children, within the remit of reform. In government documentation childhood encompasses children in pre-school, primary and secondary school phases.

Local authorities are charged with developing Children and Young Peoples' plans by 2006 and establishing Children Trusts or similar arrangements for allocating funding streams to all services for children by 2008. Each local authority will appoint a Director of Children's Services. There will be a unified inspection system for all children's services. The radical agenda for reform is set out in Every Child Matters: Change for Children (www.dfes.gov.uk.everychildmatters).

There are five key principles embedded in outcomes for all children central to the Children Act 2004: being healthy, protection from harm and neglect, enjoying and achieving, making a positive contribution and economic well-being (www.dfes.gov.uk). These five principles are becoming the new mantra in the children policy area in England.

A national Childcare Strategy (DfEE 1998a) has a target of developing 100,000 new childcare places for 2008 and a Ten Year Strategy for Childcare (DfES 2005) is promising an out-of-school childcare place for all 3 to 14year-olds from 8 to 6 o'clock every weekday by 2010. Neighbourhood Nurseries for under-5s are funded by public/private initiatives in areas of poverty to provide childcare to release parents for training/work.

There is a universal part-time pre-school education entitlement for all 3- and 4-year-olds whose parents wish to take it up, with a statutory Foundation Stage Curriculum (DfEE/QCA 2000) for 3- to 5-year-olds in any setting claiming to offer pre-school education. There is also a framework to support the learning of birth to 3-year-olds, Birth to Three Matters (DfES 2002). These are likely to be combined into one curriculum framework for birth to 5-year-olds.

Every local authority is required to appoint an officer responsible for coordinating services for children. The focus is to be on multi-agency . . .

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