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To think nursery age children don't need to be "school ready"

(226 Posts)
adsy Thu 03-Apr-14 09:08:11

Beyond being toilet trained, able to put on shoes/coats and recognising very simple numbers and shapes.
Head of OFSTED says that nurseries and childminders are failing children as they are not getting them school ready. he thinks there should be more structured learning for 2 and 3 year olds.
I am a childminder and see my role at that age is to ensure children can sit attentively for a few minutes, can use a knife and fork etc.
As it happens, I do also make sure I do lots of reading/ number games/ colour recognition etc. but I disagree that this should be in a structured environment as he suggests.
He says the good nurseries are those attached to schools, dismissing the thousands of excellent nurseries and childminders around the country.
I think that children already start school very young and if they only start to learn simple arithmetic at 4 yo, then so be it.
2 and 3 yos should be learning through play, the word structured fills me with dread in relation to what are essentially toddlers.

TheBookofRuth Thu 03-Apr-14 09:14:26

It's ridiculous, they're still babies to a large extent and should be allowed to be, not forced to grow up too fast.

I hate, hate, hate what's happening to education in this country. We should be helping children and young people to discover their talents and passions and inspiring a lifelong love of learning, not getting them into the system ASAP and cramming them full of information to be regurgitated on command as if they were fois gras bloody geese!

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Thu 03-Apr-14 09:15:59

Its complete and utter bollocks - have they never heard of experiential learning?

Mintyy Thu 03-Apr-14 09:18:22

Yadnbu. This gives me the utter utter rage! Why won't our stupid government look outwards to Europe and beyond on this issue? It really makes me feel almost despairing, truly.

blueberryupsidedown Thu 03-Apr-14 09:19:26

It's balls isn't it. He doesn't have a clue. He hasn't read the EYFS, he doesn't know what we already do with children, he doesn't know how children develop. We need to know:
- who are the children who start school 'not ready';
- which month they were born in;
- if they come from the social care system;
- if they come from disavantaged families/living below the poverty line
- have a disability/learning difficulty already diagnosed or diagnosed in later years.

I'm also a childminder and there is no way in hell that I will sit down and do formal learning with 2 year olds. I will:
- make mud pies;
- look for worms;
- play with carboard boxes (our main activity today);
- have teddy bear tea parties;
- read lots of books cuddled up on the sofa;
- have lots of discos;
- go out to the park.

End of. If any Ofsted senior manager wants to come to our discos I will send him a personal invitation.

Retropear Thu 03-Apr-14 09:22:24

I'm at a loss to know what has gone wrong to merit the need for all 2 year olds to be in school and all KS1 kids to be fed at school.

Are we all that poor at parenting,how many of us,when did it happen?

ConfusedPixie Thu 03-Apr-14 09:23:03

Yanbu. It makes me so angry and even more determined to home ed my children when I have them. Children need to be children. Why are we trying to put so much pressure on them so young? Other European countries do better than us educationally yet they don't start formal education until later, which is proof in itself that this is so ridiculous.

The cynical pay off me feels that by education ready they mean "able to sit still for long periods in quiet and do as they are told" and that they want more kids in classes from a younger age.

uselessidiot Thu 03-Apr-14 09:23:12

We were talking about this yesterday. The general consensus at work was that young children are being put under unreasonable pressure to achieve targets. This discussion happened in a group many of whom have child development qualifications.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Thu 03-Apr-14 09:23:43

He said, more teacher led learning, not formal learning didn't he? The two things are very different.

All of those things you have listed could be the teacher ledlearning he is looking for, blueberry. Or they could be child led, depending on circumstances.

WaitMonkey Thu 03-Apr-14 09:24:26

Couldn't agree more.

adsy Thu 03-Apr-14 09:26:00

At my last inspection I was told 3 times that the emphasis now is on education of the child and how I am preparing them for school. This was in relation to the 18 month old who was with me that day.

juneau Thu 03-Apr-14 09:27:06

YANBU. Schools don't assume any knowledge of letters/numbers, etc when DC start reception. Of course, its very helpful to them if the DC know how to sit still and listen, and they have to be able to dress/undress themselves, go to the toilet unaided, use a knife and fork, etc, but academic knowledge is what schools are for - not the other stuff. Nursery, IMO, is for playing, crafts, learning social skills, and basic listening - to a story for instance. This new curriculum for pre-schoolers actually concerns me. When DS1 was at nursery they only did writing if they wanted to - no pressure whatsoever - but now DS2's nursery has a 'pre-school academy' with a uniform and a classroom shock I think its wrong!

LadyintheRadiator Thu 03-Apr-14 09:27:49

This was a of criticism in ofsteds report for my DDs preschool. They visited in December and complained that many children - mostly 3 at the time - weren't ready for school. Fucking barking.

ConfusedPixie Thu 03-Apr-14 09:27:51

I have a lot of respect for childminders and what you do. I grew up with my mum and man childminding and always wanted to do it. Both left when they started putting a lot more emphasis on paperwork and observations. I'm a nanny and loosely follow the eyfs through choice but am happy to know that I don't have to, I don't think I could do childminding now, especially with the changes that they are trying to implement! I would love too when I have my own but the government and often are royally fucking early years around!

adsy Thu 03-Apr-14 09:27:52

Why do you need teacher led learning for toddlers?
this government hates home led learning and I don't understand why.
wouldn't surprise me if they banned childminders and home education altogether.

thebody Thu 03-Apr-14 09:30:56

totally agree.

by all means children should be toilet trained, able to use a knife and fork, able to follow and obey simple instructions, generally dress and undress themselves and be more or less socially cooperative.

that's school ready for a 4 year old. that's bloody ace for a 4 year old.

as a TA in year 1 I see children in the daily grind of numeracy, literacy, CVC words, the grind is endless.

they are 4 ffs.

all research proves we have it wrong in this country so why are we continuing down this path?

rabbitlady Thu 03-Apr-14 09:31:41

do children belong to the state? do we have a duty to make our children whatever a current government requires?

or should education and development be about the child's needs?

i am not against children being socialised. by the time they leave school they need to be ready to work. if they've had the kind of attention a parent who has time, a little money, and an enthusiasm for learning can give them, they start nursery/kindergarten with some knowledge and skills which set them up for learning effectively, so i can see why people might think its a good idea for everyone to experience that.

but babies are babies. toddlers are babies. little tiny children are babies. mothers and babies need each other, not structured learning.

ToysRLuv Thu 03-Apr-14 09:33:12

Absolutely bonkers! Ds is going to be nearly 5 when he goes to school next year, but still over 2 years younger than I was going to first grade in Scandinavia. His nursery (attached to school) teacher thinks it's madness, as well.

Aventurine Thu 03-Apr-14 09:33:12

He's not going to be happy until babies are sitting in rows doing rote learning is he?

MinesAPintOfTea Thu 03-Apr-14 09:34:14

I thought reception was about easing them into teacher-led learning and nursery was about learning to interact in a group and take responsibility for personal care to become more independent?

icclemunchy Thu 03-Apr-14 09:34:16

I was discussing this with my childminder this morning, the closest she gets to 'teaching' the children she has Is counting steps or look at that pretty red flower, what colours this one?

I send me 3yo to try childminder so she can have fun and play with other kids. Not so she can be ready to sit gcse's at 7!! What's so wrong with letting children be children, there's plenty of time for them to learn when they're older

Binkyridesagain Thu 03-Apr-14 09:35:20

They don't want individuals, they want robots who can be programmed to do what they are told.

cory Thu 03-Apr-14 09:35:25

Once they've got all the 3yos lined up and reciting the times table, they'll be angsting about newborn babies not being "nursery ready". And then it will be about foetuses (presumably lower class foetuses, from one parent families) not being "baby ready".

Our excellent and highly trained CM (every certificate in the book, that woman!) got her only less-than-perfect comment from Ofsted because she was not providing enough IT provision for a 3yo. The CM thought (and we all agreed with her) that the 3yo would be better off playing in the sandpit.

ExcuseTypos Thu 03-Apr-14 09:35:46

I think the press are blowing this out of proportion.

I've just heard the head of Ofsted speaking on Radio 4. He actually said school ready was things like being able to go to the toilet, doing up shoes, being able to listen for a while, knowing some colours/numbers, how to hold a pencil/crayon etc.

Just the things you talked about in your OP.

He also said that play was very important but that even 3 year olds need some structured play. I agree with this. That doesn't mean making them sit for an hour practicing writing. It means planning that "mark making" is included for every child, sometime in the day/week.

I think good childminders and nurseries do that anyway. He was specifically talking about some childminders and nurseries who don't do this.

thebody Thu 03-Apr-14 09:36:06

pixie I was a cm and loved my littie setting.

I had wall to wall pictures of the children doing cooking, picnics, gardening, topic work like going to the fire station, playing in the park, swimming, dancing, model making, painting, instruments,you name it we played it.

the Ofsted bloke barely looked at the room or chatted to the mindees.

he asked about learning journals and next steps.

we were actually enjoying the steps we were on.

gave up.

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