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Liz Truss and aimless toddlers

(227 Posts)
BoffinMum Sun 21-Apr-13 23:22:27

So, Liz Truss reckons toddlers are running around pointlessly in too many nurseries. She says it's due to lack of structure in miseries.

Anyone spotted this happening?

BoffinMum Sun 21-Apr-13 23:22:58

IPhone typo - nurseries.

sillyoldfool Mon 22-Apr-13 00:11:09

Don't toddlers generally spend most their time running around 'pointlessly'?
Mine do, but if you look closely they're experimenting and learning. I don't think toddlers need structure, they need freedom to explore.

Startail Mon 22-Apr-13 00:19:49

DD1 didn't run around aimlessly at nursery, she very purposely climbed things. Trouble was these were tables to raid the main craft store and the junior schools wall bars.

(The teacher was lovely, and very diplomatic. Reading between the lines DD1 was a grade A pain)

WouldBeHarrietVane Mon 22-Apr-13 00:23:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MajaBiene Mon 22-Apr-13 00:26:05

I have experience one pretty poor nursery where the toddlers (under 2s) did indeed run around pointless - playing with toys/bashing each other. Most nurseries have a variety of opportunities for inside/outside play and activities on offer though.

BoffinMum Mon 22-Apr-13 07:57:31

I imagine that's very much the exception than the rule. I am tempted to ask her exactly which nurseries this is, and how many.

Littleturkish Mon 22-Apr-13 08:03:19

Utter nonsense. Does she have French friends who slag down British nurseries?? What an odd comparison to make.

Children go to nursery from as young as 6 weeks- her comments were too general to be taken seriously. She's meant to be the minister of child care and she doesn't even give the impression she knows what she's talking about!

BoffinMum Mon 22-Apr-13 08:18:01

I think she has probably seen two duff ones on a wet day and is generalising from something like that. There are data out there and they don't support what she is arguing. In fact the rest of the world spends a lot of time looking at our nursery provision and liking what's there (apart from the cost).

lljkk Mon 22-Apr-13 08:18:02

The irony is that the govt. solution to this so-called problem will be to insist on even more paperwork to document a lack of aimless wandering; more paperwork = less time for staff to actually sit interacting with the children.


BoffinMum Mon 22-Apr-13 08:19:55

Are we going to call her on this, ask her to give precise details of her evidence for this assertion?

Littleturkish Mon 22-Apr-13 08:20:55

Lljkk exactly!

And she was the one to up the ratios reducing interaction!

BoffinMum Mon 22-Apr-13 08:21:05

Maja, was this a chain nursery or privately run? How big was it, and what was its Ofsted grading?

chocolatecrispies Mon 22-Apr-13 08:36:00

It's not clear from this thread whether you are discussing Childcare for the under-3s so their parents can work, or nursery provision for 3-4 year olds - they are completely different. Maybe the government hasn't noticed?

dribbleface Mon 22-Apr-13 09:50:14

Here she goes again, honestly the woman needs sacking. If she continues there will be no-one left in early years. Has she any idea how young children learn?

MajaBiene Mon 22-Apr-13 10:01:49

Private, satisfactory ofsted, smallish (maybe 40 kids in total).

dribbleface Mon 22-Apr-13 10:07:26

Satisfactory = not meeting the eyfs in one or more areas. Not suprised in that case.

PetiteRaleuse Mon 22-Apr-13 10:08:05

I don't now how things are done in the UK, but I know that in my French nursery it is very structured. Organised play but also classroom type activities, set nap times etc. If you happen to go in during classroom type activities it is spookily quiet. During the play time though sounds like, well, a room full of toddlers. DD1 was in the 18 month to 3yr group (after that they start school)

Can't compare with the UK though as I have never been in a nursery there. As I suspect Truss hasn't been in all that many in both contries either.

dribbleface Mon 22-Apr-13 10:08:10

* surprised

dribbleface Mon 22-Apr-13 10:09:47

Trouble is petite the eyfs would frown on that sort of structure.

PetiteRaleuse Mon 22-Apr-13 10:15:03

Possibly. I quite liked it. There was lots of creativity and art work - when DD left she came back with binders full of tat the stuff. Lots of songs and stories, just in a classroom setting. I think though that the staff:child ratio is different in France - they have more children to look after - so maybe more structure is needed.

kelda Mon 22-Apr-13 10:21:42

I have no experience of UK nurseries.

My children are all going through the Belgium school education system, and it is very structured right from age two and a half. Many children will have attended a creche from a very young age (3 or 4 months) which is also very structured.

That does not mean that they do not play. In fact they spend most of their time playing. They are not expected to learn to read and write until age six.

But from a very young age, they are taught how to listen, how to follow instructions, how to walk along the pavement holding each others hands.

All the nursery school teachers are graduate trained and there is a ratio of about 1/20 or 1/24. There are no teaching assistants although the classes do share a care assistant if a child needs help with the toilet.

It is noticable in Belgium how well behaved school children are. It's common to see large groups of very small children walking along the pavement with just one adult per 20 children or so.

The children are trained from a very young age to do are they are told and to follow the 'pack'. They are expected to go to the toilet when they are told, to sit down and sing when they are told, to line up when they are told. They are taught to be polite. At lunchtime, they are not encouraged to talk while eating. The children play and make crafts, but it is very much the teacher who is in charge. There are long breaktimes and long school holidays.

I am sure that this system would not work for all children, but my children have all coped fine. They have thrived in the structure and have all enjoyed school. A critisism of the system is that it does not encourage individuality. But most children I know attend many out of school activies (or not!) to express their individuality.

If a child has extra needs, there may be special learning support for them - we are in the process of applying for this for my child who has mild SN.

PetiteRaleuse Mon 22-Apr-13 10:23:53

Sounds very similar to France kelda

OneLittleToddleTerror Mon 22-Apr-13 10:25:14

Link to the guardian coverage of this

It seems to be in the daily mail originally.

I probably fail as a parent. I work full time, but my 2yo weekends can pretty much be summed up as "running around with no sense of purpose". Is she supposed to have purpose instead of just playing in the garden or whatever that takes her fancy?

kelda Mon 22-Apr-13 10:28:00

Yes it is. They all come home with tons of amazing craftwork.

I am in awe of the teachers who not only manage to organise and control 23 or 24 two and three year olds (many of whom, like my son, do require extra help), but also manage to help them create some quite complex artwork, singing, theatre, sports.

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