Revoke the high pressure EYFS reforms. Young children need real learning not rote learning
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What do we want for our young children’s early education in England? What would you want for your own child?
- An early education that prioritises children’s emotional wellbeing, resilience and motivation to learn alongside their knowledge and skills?
- An early education that ensures children learn the foundations of reading, writing and mathematics, through fostering joy, real engagement and deep learning in these areas?
- An early education that values and encourages the creativity and divergent thinking that abounds in children of this age?
- An early education that respects each child as a unique, competent individual; that recognises and celebrates their cultural heritage and, regardless of their socio-economic status or special need, builds upon the knowledge and passions they bring from their homes and communities?
- An early education that ensures learning is made truly memorable, applicable and transferable, that gives children foundations for life rather than merely preparing them to pass tests in their future education?
These things are realistic aims. They are all based on international evidence around what really matters for young children's learning. The EYFS reforms provided the perfect opportunity to ensure that all these things were firmly embedded to give our children the very best start to their education.
Instead this opportunity has been squandered. The new EYFS framework pays only lip service to all of the things mentioned.
It presents goals that children must achieve by the end of Reception year. Some of these are developmentally inappropriate, unevidenced by research and focus on memorisation of facts and the ability to perform tasks. The lack of emphasis on meaning and real experience means learning may be shallow and easily forgotten, rather than deeply embedded.
Children of 4 and 5 will be deemed as failing if they don’t achieve these goals.
- We are about to have an EYFS framework which judges children on their ability to automatically recall abstract mathematical facts and prioritises correct handwriting and spelling, to the detriment of children developing their own ideas and sense of purpose for writing.
- We are about to have an EYFS framework which requires compliance from children rather than genuinely supporting the development of self-regulation skills.
- We are about to have an EYFS framework which emphasises learning from books more than real world experiences, and risks limiting the creativity of children by focussing on performance above imagination and self-expression.
- We are about to have an EYFS framework which no longer places a requirement to report on the ‘how’ of children’s learning, their play, exploration. motivation, and thinking skills, but only on whether children have achieved arbitrary goals or not.
- We are about to have an EYFS framework that excludes the voices of Black children. These reforms sew more seeds for a future generation that pays no dues to a community who have paid with their lives to contribute to today's Britain.
- We are about to have an EYFS framework which could give some children, especially those most at risk of educational disadvantage, a stressful, negative early education experience instead of a joyful, playful and successful one.
We believe that all young children in England should be entitled to an early years education that builds upon their fascinations in and knowledge of the world around them, feeds their minds and bodies in a challenging and appropriate way and gives them the foundations they need to go on to be successful in their future learning and lives.
We believe that the new EYFS reforms are likely to hinder, rather than help this and risk widening the achievement gap further.
We believe these reforms are wrong, and are coming at a time of great turmoil, likely to add to the stress of children and their educators.
We believe that now, more than ever, children deserve to have priority placed on their mental health and on the things that research shows really matter.
So what do we think you want for your children?
We think you would like them to have an early education rooted in the most recent developmental research, that nurtures their wellbeing and resilience, fosters joy, motivation, creativity, and great learning,
An early education that celebrates the uniqueness of every child, including their ethnicity and multi-cultural heritage.
If you agree then join us in making your views known. Sign our petition requesting that these reforms are revoked. If you are a school or setting then refuse to become an early adopter of this framework.
Join us in making a stand, not just for your child but for all children.
Say no to these reforms.
Say no to teaching our children the wrong things at the wrong time.
Say yes to nurturing wellbeing, motivation and learning in our unique children.
Lets’ think about the future and get early education right from the start.
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