Category : Viewpoint

Viewpoint

Awe and Wonder in the Rain

When my son was only four, almost five, we saw a shrub full of spiders webs.

It had been raining the night before and every tiny web glistened with bright drops of rain. He was fascinated with this and we stopped for a long time, amazed at the different shapes and patterns that the webs made. We were a little late for registration at school, but it really didn’t matter – he still remembers that day and occasionally he will comment on it if we walk up that stretch of road.

This morning I spotted a spiders web on the fence that reminded me of that encounter and I had to smile.

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Viewpoint

Peer Pressure in the House of Lords

I stumbled across the House of Lords TV feed totally by accident (via Twitter – the power of having social media!). It is a fascinating process to watch and listen to – and very, very encouraging.

The first debate I watched was on the 16th June, which was the second reading of the Childcare Bill (see link below). Lord Nash (the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education) opened up the debate with the Government’s party line, with nothing new or surprising. For example, how a ‘balance’ has to be struck when setting the hourly rate – between fair for providers and ‘value for money for the taxpayer’, how the increase in number of practitioners with NVQ3 will raise quality in settings and how the sector is ‘vibrant’ and growing.

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Articles Viewpoint

A View from the Other Side of the World

I am incredibly delighted and excited to have as my guest blogger this week Rebecca McIntosh, from Brisbane, Australia. We started comparing notes about childcare in England and Australia some time ago – and found some fascinating differences as well as some similarities.

Here Rebecca gives us a history of Australian childcare. It is a surprising story I was totally unaware of and really shows how much childcare philosophy varies around the globe. It is well worth a read and a BIG thank you to Rebecca for sharing this history with us.

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Viewpoint

Men in Childcare, Lancashire Network

I was out with my husband, having coffee, and when we got to the till, there was a little sign. It said “which do you prefer? Girl or boy?” and an arrow from each pointing to two tip jars. For some reason, this really niggled me. Tips according to your gender? Really?

When we sat down with our drinks, I mentioned this to my husband, who said it was a marketing approach. Apparently people will give more often if posed a forced question, presumably because you have to engage with the idea of giving a tip if you think about the question.

However, this simply doesn’t work for me. I will tip according to the level of service I receive, from male or female. If the waiting staff tip a large glass of white wine all over me and into my handbag (and I wasn’t even drinking that night!) but then doesn’t offer even a free coffee as compensation, then there will be no tip.

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Viewpoint

Flexible and responsive planning

It’s been a funny week.

First my youngest son fractured his finger (rugby!) on his writing hand, just before his mock GCSEs start. So we’ve had various A&E, fracture clinic and physiotherapy appointments.

Then my husband’s cough started to sound quite worrying and after a doctor’s assessment we ended up at an emergency clinic at short notice.

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Articles Viewpoint

Public Health England’s 7 Priorities for the Next 5 Years

If you have read my previous post on Sir Michael Marmot, you will know that I’m a big fan of Sir Michael’s research, especially Fair Society, Healthy Lives. I’m also always interested in any plans and proposals  that affect children in this country.

So, I was especially excited to see that Public Health England (PHE) has just produced a report that details their 7 priorities for the next 5 years. These are:

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Articles Viewpoint

Good, Quality Documentation

Simona McKenzie has posed another interesting question for me: “What should good documentation contain as a summary of children’s learning, that is focussed and shows exactly what the learning journey a child has taken?”

My first thought was that there are certain statutory, legal requirements that all childcare professionals need to fulfil. Namely:

The Department for Education’s Statutory Framework (DfE, 2014: 13) calls for on-going (or formative) assessments based on day-to-day observations of the children, without ‘excessive paperwork’ that is ‘limited to that which is absolutely necessary’. This is incredibly vague and open to interpretation, both by practitioners and Ofsted.

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Viewpoint

Social Networking for Childminders

The impact of electronic media simply can’t be ignored these days.”

I first wrote this almost four years ago – and since then the influence of social media has exploded exponentially.

Who would’ve predicted, four years ago, that our charitable donations would be based on a shared photo of a friend on Facebook having ice cold water poured over their head? Or that a single Twitter photo would be retweeted 1.3 MILLION times in less than an hour?

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Articles Viewpoint

Being an OWL

One of the great joys of holiday time is catching up on the shows that you just don’t seem to have time to listen to or watch during the working week.

Thus it was that I managed to finally listen to the series on BBC Radio 4 called The Educators. In it, Sarah Montague interviews ‘the people whose ideas are challenging the future of education’, and where better to start than with Sir Ken Robinson. I’ve written before about Sir Ken’s video made at the TED lectures and how his humour and observations help make the point.

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Viewpoint

EYPS New Standards and Reviews

The new EYPS Standards have been unveiled.

The 39 have been reduced to 8, with subclauses. They can be found here

On the whole, they reflect the previous Standards, but without the confusing overlap and repetition. There is a logical progression (almost Bronfenbrenner-like) through the Standards, culminating in the all important leadership aspect. Most satisfyingly they are NOT just a rehash of the QTS standards!

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