I think it is easy to be sucked up in Richard's sentiments without examining the realities and describing the details of what is positive in the early years provision and what is negative - and that includes for the carers/teachers and not just the children. Whilst Richard writes with pretty high-faluting language, he is thin on other types of detail and information. I think there are many teachers and parents who positively dislike all the scrutiny, target-setting and apparent accountability (the tick-box culture) but there are plenty of teachers and parents who want a combination of different types of play opportunities for their children and they want specific teaching and learning opportunities for their children. We have to be very detailed and specific to make sure that we all understand one another and don't just get swept up with romantic aims and government-bashing. What makes me despair, as well, is who and what led to all this detail for early years child-care and education. Who is responsible for the minutiae in the first place? I think we definitely need to join in this wherever we can and put forward all our views and not let these weighty people who obviously have open access to the media and early years journals ride rough-shod over (probably) the majority of people who are just crammed full of common sense and what to be natural with children. If Richard wants to focus on the need for 'play' then he does need to give us his (and the others') definition of it. But is this synthetic phonics bashing or not? Or is it synthetic phonics bashing in the reception but they're OK with it.....WHEN....?