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Viewpoint

Chasing the shadows away on ‘Lighting up Young Brains’

An interesting and sensible report was issued this week by Save the Children, entitled ‘Lighting up Young Brains’.

In this report the authors state one clear and unequivocal priority for Government: For every nursery in England to be led by an early years teacher by 2020.

This is based on previous research (EPPE) and on newly completed research (most notably Goswami’s work on children’s cognitive development). The tone of the report is measured and written in accessible language. There are only 3 sections: Children’s early brain development; the role of parents, the HLE and childcare in supporting brain development; and their priority for government.

My personal view is that is a document that invites discussion, based on research, with a clearly stated recommendation at the end.

However, it has caused an amount of debate on something that is not even contained in the report. For example, the BBC website states that children ‘can be “set back decades” if their brains are not adequately stimulated’ (an interesting time travelling trick if you are only three years old!). There has been much talk about ‘school readiness’ and how having an Early Years Teacher means that children will be sat at desks, completing worksheets, before the age of three.

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