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Viewpoint

A Teacher by Any Other Name

I’ve just seen the most marvellous quote tweeted:

“All adults who come in to contact with children contribute to children’s education and are teachers whether or not they are called by that name.” Tweeted by Linda R at Beyondplaydough.

Coincidentally, I commented today on a forum about Teachers and Early Years Professional Status (EYPS), so this was already on my mind. The discussion had meandered into the treacherous waters of EYPS versus teachers. Teacher status is well recognised by parents and carers. They understand that teachers have usually gone to University and have had specialist training in effective teaching. Few parents and carers understand that the EYP Status is also post graduate and covers the full age range Birth to 5 years.

The reason for this could be that the EYP Status is still new, particularly compared to teaching.

It could be that EYPS hasn’t been advertised well enough by the government and CWDC.

It could be that parents and carers just want their young child to be happy and cared for by someone who loves and cherishes their child, as they would do themselves, whatever their qualification or Status.

And really that is the reason why the tweet made me smile. From the child’s point of view, they don’t care. Children are natural learners, investigators, scientists and explorers. That’s why babies love peek-a-boo games, why toddlers love to hear the same story over and over again and why pre-schoolers are fascinated with mini-beasts. Children just enjoy having adults who are interested in them, who are willing to engage whole heartedly in their play and have new experiences to share with enthusiasm.

The important thing for the adults is that they are aware that they are being teachers – like it or not! When a practitioner refuses to touch a worm, when the adults wont go out in the rain, when the children aren’t allowed to choose their favourite story – what is that ‘teaching’ the children?

On the other hand, there are those adults who will spend hours picking up the toy and putting it back on baby’s high chair, crawl into a den to read the story or spend time hearing both sides of the dispute between friends.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big, big advocate of EYPS and a graduate led early years workforce, whether that is called Teacher, Pedagogue or Directoress.

However, I’m also a big fan of young children being surrounded by interested, loving, caring, enthusiastic ‘teachers’, whatever their name is.

What do you think? Leave a comment below to share your view.
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Image by Pinkstock photos

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