Ofsted says “Nurseries not preparing children”

I have been bombarded by parents and friends today commenting on the news reports today that Ofsted are stating “nurseries are not preparing children are ready to learn when they go to school”.

I have so many opinions on this I do not know where to start!

First of all, I have been saying it for years – children should not be starting formal school until they are 6, not 5 and certainly NOT 2yrs old! Instead of looking at the real reasons why our school systems are failing increasingly each year and addressing it, government simply pull children in to school settings at a younger and younger age! It is wrong and needs to be addressed!

Another of my constant ramblings – “child development is regressing”, why you may ask? Let me tell you…..

Parents are not being given the correct knowledge and information by government or local authority services (Midwives, Health Visitors etc) in order to encourage their baby’s development; delaying weaning until 6 months old has caused huge speech delays and subsequent physical delays (this leads to cognitive – language, calculating, reasoning, problem solving and decision making etc. delays too), the “car seat culture” with babies and young children spending too much time in car seats and pushchairs is causing a big delay in physical development. By the age of two therefore, we are already seeing delays of up to 6-9 months, by the time children leave us to go to school this can be a delay of about 18months compared to children’s achievements 15 years ago!

In my nurseries we are constantly fighting local authority requirements of how we should or should not encourage child development and I completely lay the blame of child regression on the constant changes that have been made to developmental advice and legislation changes over the last decade! However, when I attended The Baby Show at Excel London recently and saw the development of children that do not attend my nurseries I was completely shocked at just how far development is delayed in so many children.

It is a fact of today’s society that many families have both parents working and so yes, the development of a great number of those children falls to the childcare sector. However, that is only as good as the government’s required programme, or should be. Unless, like me you are prepared to stand up and say NO and do what is right for the children in our care and use our own developmental programmes.

But what of the children of “stay at home mums”? The comments made by the Ofsted representative (I didn’t get her name as I was brushing my teeth!), inferred that children from poorer families were under achieving compared to those from affluent backgrounds. I nearly choked on my toothpaste!

Children do not need money to develop! They need guidance and nurturing, they need to play freely in nature (their garden or any green space will do!) they need to be encouraged, inspired and engaged to explore and experiment in the world around them. In fact, children of any age don’t actually need ANY expensive equipment to learn – and in particular to under 5 year olds, nature provides everything they need to develop and learn!

So, for goodness sake scrap the atrocious thoughts of 2 year olds in school, move the age of school admission to 6 years old and put in place a programme of support and knowledge to all parents with children under 5 years old and review the standards of achievement and development of the government’s own programmes – they are the cause of child development regression!

In the absence of government doing this, I have at least the satisfaction that the children in my care are being encouraged and are achieving increasing standards and in addition, in order to spread this knowledge far and wide to any parent that may need it, I have written a parenting book to be published by Panoma Press in September!

Please do let me know your thoughts too!