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Uprising about the early years foundation stage becoming legislation. Take the chance to investigate and respond.

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by debbiehep, Nov 30, 2007.

  1. 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....?

     
  2. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Lead commenter

    yes I am confused too

    I believe in good synthetic phonics teaching esp. for those children who struggle with language, it is just playing I spy intellingently for the initial phases ..........with lots of singing and rhythm and rhyme and games and fun and listening and good good stories simply told and makaton and well, anything you got that goes in the pot..........creative playful teaching aimed at each child ....... but believe me, so skilled, and so imaginative, then linking sounds and letters when ready, then, whoosh away they go to read...

    but I agree with Richard, but he is so out of touch with the current culture of challenging primary schools and what is done to them.... where to go forward???
     
  3. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I'm not sure I agree that Richard is out of touch but Margaret Edgington, who is the other spokesperson certainly isn't out of touch. She is very well informed and works with many Early Years settings and practitioners.
     
  4. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Lead commenter

    yes true margaret E is good I rate her, but how do these people have so little say in what happens in our workplaces?
     
  5. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    "believe in good synthetic phonics teaching esp. for those children who struggle with language, it is just playing I spy intellingently for the initial phases ..........with lots of singing and rhythm and rhyme and games and fun and listening and good good stories simply told and makaton and well, anything you got that goes in the pot..........creative playful teaching aimed at each child ....... but believe me, so skilled, and so imaginative, then linking sounds and letters when ready, then, whoosh away they go to read... "


    I don't think anyone would object to phonics the way you work but this isn't what is happening in every classroom (or pre school or childminder) the whole point is the child is getting lost in mountains of paperwork and anxious practitioners.
     
  6. But surely, Msz, it should be the duty of Initial Training providers to give their students the knowledge on how to teach beginning reading? Surely they should consider it to be the bottom line to discuss, demonstrate,teach students about the alphabetic code and how to introduce it to children and the sub-skills that are required?

    It is because teachers have been left floundering in the wilderness, that there is so much panic, lack of understanding, lack of confidence. Are you really blaming the teachers for this great void?

    For 40 years, more or less, there has been a woolly approach to the teaching of reading - pick it up by osmosis - and a little bit of whatever the fashion-of-the-moment has been - and forget about the failing 20%+. In London in the 70s, and 80s, when osmosis-learning and totally child-centred approach was adopted this figure of 20%+ rose alarmingly. That is why governments (both Tory and Labour) panicked and became over-prescriptive.

    Are training colleges so out of control they can deny students the basic knowledge to teach the alphabetic code? If teachers had had that knowledge the whole landscape of primary teaching could be different.
     

  7. I suggest that we revisit our earlier TES online petition and add our own open letter to all the publications.

    We need to find out on what basis Richard and Co. have been able to have their Open Letter published and been able to get their articles in magazines.

    Other people need this same opportunity if there is to be a genuine attempt to find out the views of a wider spectrum of people.

    It may well be, as I have said, that the common ground really amounts to suggesting that the EYFS does not go ahead on a statutory basis.

    I believe from many comments made to me, that many practitioners and parents are simply not extremists. They just want the simple middle ground of provision for their children.

    If parents wanted the Steiner approach to education, they would have sent their children to Steiner schools or emulated this provision in a wider number of settings.
     
  8. To Msz,

    please could you tell me where you got that Steiner Quote from?

    do you know this one

    "The State will tell us how to teach and what results to aim for, and what the State prescribes will be bad.

    Its targets are the worst ones imaginable, yet it expects the best possible results.

    Today's politics work in the direction of regimentation, and it will go even further than this in its attempts to make people conform.

    Human beings will be treated like puppets on strings, and this will be treated as progress in the extreme.

    Institutions like schools will be organised in the most arrogant and unsuitable manner."

    Rudolf Steiner, from an address given on 20.8.1919


     
  9. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    The Steiner quote is from the documents Richard House sent me which are part of the campaign. Part of the concern is that once EYFS becomes statutory next year schools such as Steiner will no longer be able to follow their current ethos but will be compelled to follow EYFS.
     
  10. I have every sympathy with Richard's concerns and can understand them. But he is mixing too many issues here. The issue of the EYFS not becoming statutory is one that I have huge sympathy with and agree.

    But at the heart of the articles and letters I have read thus far from the Open Eye campaign is the mention of synthetic phonics with the implication that this is damaging for learners in the long run. This just won't do and it is just not true. This is a totally separate issue - part of the Reading Wars if you like - and as such should not be mixed with the issue of the EYFS tick-box culture.

    Readers might be interested in the link below. A wonderful story where synthetic phonics teaching is transforming learning on the islands of Carricou and Petite Martinique - and is now spreading to Grenada. This is real heart-warming stuff of how teaching methods for teaching reading make a profound difference.

    To attack synthetic phonics now is nothing short of the greatest tragedy. It has taken decades, indeed centuries, to have reached this point of common sense. And this is to PROTECT our children's futures.

    I don't agree, however, that the most rigorous pace should be dictated from the top. We do have to allow for different settings and contexts.

    http://rrf.org.uk/messageforum/viewtopic.php?t=3192
     
  11. "But surely, Msz, it should be the duty of Initial Training providers to give their students the knowledge on how to teach beginning reading? Surely they should consider it to be the bottom line to discuss, demonstrate,teach students about the alphabetic code and how to introduce it to children and the sub-skills that are required?"

    This certainly wouldnt happen with the NVQ framework or any other childcare based qualification. I know the Government want all settings to have a teacher or similar level in charge but frankley thats going to take time and until then, level 3's are running the show in private and voluntary settings. We are not qualified to teach formal literacy and most dont want to, but we will still be inspected and graded by Ofsted on our 'teaching skills'.
     
  12. cinderella1

    cinderella1 New commenter

    some ITT providers such as universities that offer full time teacher training courses can do this. Unfortunately with SCITT and GTP this is just not poss.

    I actually quite like the EYFS
     
  13. Literacy shouldn't have to be regarded as 'formal' in the pre-school stage. I have every sympathy with this.

    Indeed, what I am trying to spread right now, as you know, is the need for people to feel unpressurised and to do their phonics according to their circumstances - in an appropriate child-friendly way and pace.

    As long as whole language methods don't kick in (which is more like force-feeding children because it involves them being asked to read books that they cannot read and being asked to write when they have not been taught how to write), then what's the urgency?

    This is about decent training - in the right climate - in the first place.
     

  14. I don't think the open eye campaign are especially opposed to synthetic phonics as a teaching method, rather that the act of teaching children to read, and narrowing their experience of the world to the arbitrary and adult world of letters (and numbers) is not appropriate until they are six or seven years old.

    Young children need to time to experience the world's wonders before they become labelled, named and categorised. A leaf for example 'speaks' much more deeply to a child when it has not yet been introduced to the child as a 'leaf'.

    Given enough time to live in this state of wonder, children are able to carry it through all the ensuing years of their education, as a steady burning fuel to their enthusiasm for learning.
     
  15. "rather that the act of teaching children to read, and narrowing their experience of the world to the arbitrary and adult world of letters (and numbers) is not appropriate until they are six or seven years old."

    But who has deemed this?

    This is just an opinion or 'belief'.

    My experience of children is that they love to learn and they love to be taught - and that is long before the age of six or seven.

    I would not like to be responsible for children not being taught or have things explained to them.

    I am just agog at the idea that children are damaged by teaching before six or seven.

    What about the thrill of acquiring a new skill or some new knowledge - how wonderful is that?

    People are in danger of depriving children of their own wonder and awe at what they themselves can do with a little teaching, modelling, explanation and rehearsal.

    My granddaughter is not yet two years old. She is desperate to learn. She learns daily - sometimes minute by minute. To describe her as a sponge is an understatement.

    Do you think we would leave her in a desperate state of wanting to learn by not teaching her and allowing her just to have her own wonderment about the wonders of a leaf?

    Already she loves books. Already she is fascinated by numbers and letters. She is not yet two.

    Do you really think there should be no direct teaching about reading the letters and letter groups until the age of six or seven.

    We are clearly in a different world from those who think it is wrong to teach children directly before the age of six or seven.

    I can see that some people with these different beliefs and philosophies would want to fight to 'protect' the children - but other people (like myself) think it is positively wrong and cruel not to teach these children directly.

    But I do agree that teachers should be able to work in a climate which is pressure-free and where they themselves can be creative along with those in their care.

    Unfortunately, a free-for-all results in some children making no progress and some teachers resting on their laurels.

    There is a middle ground to be had. I don't really know but I imagine that most people - parents and teachers - are somewhere in that middle ground.

    They uphold the need of children to play, learn through play, rehearse through play, and to be creative through play - but they also understand that there is nothing wrong with directly teaching children during times when the children are 'still' in order to focus, discuss, listen, question, concentrate, practice and learn.
     

  16. This is far from an opinion or belief.

    I, along with many others, work in a setting where this principle is at the core of pedagogical practice.

    Young children learn best through imitation of the examples they see around them. They are much more influenced by what people do, than by what they say.

    In our kindergarten (which takes children between 3 and 6) there is an emphasis on creative play and the children are provided with simple natural toys to facilitate this. The adults in the room will be busily engaged with a certain activity such as baking bread, or sewing. Children are naturally acttracted to activity, and are welcome to join if and when they please. Little instruction is needed to assist them, since simply watching the adult work speaks much more deeply to them, and they soon pick up the essence of the activity, with indeed a great sense of wonder at what they have acheived.Yet this wonder is enhanced because they were not told to do it, it arose from within themselves.

    When you say your grandaughter is like a sponge (which indeed all young children are), it is simply the act of imitating which most deeply satisfies this quality. She has seen others around her reading books and magazines and wants to do the same. But pretending to do this is what is truly satisfying for her, she does not need it explained....yet. A child's play and an adult's work/activity satisfy the same needs but the nature of them is different.

    I wouldn't deny for a second that children love to learn, but I believe wholeheartedly, and through experience, that this quality is kept alive when the young child's sense of wonder is also allowed to be kept alive.

    If a young child was to bring me a leaf and show it to me, I would find it much more important to share that child's appreciation of the leaf by looking at it for a moment with him, and smiling, than to to tell him 'that is called a leaf'.

    This retained sense of wonder is also the essence of the child's play. The unnamed leaf caters for the child's playful needs infinitely. The leaf may be a birthday card, a five pound note, or a fairy's bed. Yet the more information about the leaf is given to the child as supposed scientific 'fact', the more the imaginative forces are encroached upon.

    Too much instruction and direction awaken the child's intellect early. This restricts the necessary time the child has to develop emotional intelligence and creativity, and invites faculties which the child is not yet equipped to deal with such as self awareness (and thus self-consciousness), the possibilty of failure (and thus damaged self-esteem) and judgement.

    The intellect is a totally valid and human quality and must be awoken, but at the right time. Without the above qualities it is in danger of becoming dry and lacking sentiment.

     
  17. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I agree with Anna I don't see anything that directly refers to synthetic phonics in the campaign literature.......maybe I'm missing something?

    Todays Daily Mail

    "The 114-page curriculum sets out 69 "early learning goals" that every child should reach by the end of their first year of primary school.

    .......................

    Toddlers should be able to "rub a rusk around their feeding tray" to show that they are interested in making marks.

    More controversially they will have to show they "enjoy babbling". "
     
  18. My G*d! How are you supposed to encourage a love of babbling?

    (Sorry, frivolous and off topic :-( )
     
  19. "If a young child was to bring me a leaf and show it to me, I would find it much more important to share that child's appreciation of the leaf by looking at it for a moment with him, and smiling, than to to tell him 'that is called a leaf'."

    Annaletts - this is your preference - and it is your belief that this is best for children in your care. So be it.

    But I would prefer to tell the child it is a leaf and to tell the child much more.

    The information I might tell a child about a leaf would not kill the wonderment for that leaf - it would add to the awe and wonder as nature is truly an amazing thing.

    You clearly do have a belief system - a philosophical approach to nurturing children.

    Why is your understanding of nurturing children any more valid than mine?

    It isn't.
     
  20. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Anna do you work in a Steiner setting?
     

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