Time to stop pushing KS1 into our reception classes and extend "Early Years" to 7!
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What are the essential skills for life in the 21st century? What do our children really need to know? What do they need to understand? Does the current English system give them this? Unfortunately...it does not.
Our children need communication skills, personal, social and emotional development, physical skills, embedded literacy and maths skills, an understanding of their world and the people in it.
They need characteristics such as resilience, perseverance, creative thinking, the ability to solve problems, think outside the box, independence, risk taking, make connections. They need confidence and the ability to learn from mistakes as they grow in a world which is a challenging place to be...and becoming more so by the day.
The irony of all of the above is that we currently have a curriculum in England that delivers much of the above and more. It is the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum. The only problem is it ends when children leave Reception classes.
For many children, it is ending in the Reception classes due to pressures to be so called "National Curriculum" ready! This notion of moving children towards KS1 during their Reception year was highlighted in OFSTED's recent report into the Reception year: (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/reception-curriculum-in-good-and-outstanding-primary-schools-bold-beginnings).
It was seen as positive that Reception teachers were starting KS1 learning in their Early Years classes in a bid to make children ready for Yr1 expectations, expectations that are developmentally inappropriate! How can this be right? Many of these children are still 4 years old. Every child in reception is entitled to an early years education, not a watered down pale imitation.
Surely its time to stop pushing the flawed and inappropriate KS1 curriculum into our Reception classes and time to push up a curriculum that is tried, tested and proven. A curriculum with relationships, environments and child development at its core. The early years of life do not end at age 4 or 5. They end at 7 or 8..and that is the age when learning should become more formal. This is when most children are developmentally ready for such approaches.
Look abroad at nations like Finland where this is just what happens. Their children are thriving and out performing ours. Our children (and their families and teacher's) are tired, stressed, pressured and fed up. Children as young as 4 are switched off and see learning as boring....
Time to stop the testing our over tested children.
Time to stop making children do things they are not ready for.
Time to make a change for our children, their families and our educational workforce.
Let's stand together to make a change for the future.
WB Yeats stated that: "Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire". It's time to find the matches...
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