Dr Pat Beckley, Senior Lecturer in Primary at Bishop Grosseteste University (BGU), was invited to speak and participate in a meeting at the Hallam Centre in London, organised by Inside Government, to discuss issues involved in raising standards of Early Years provision and care.

Dr Beckley presented key findings of the book she has recently edited, Philosophy and Practice of Outstanding Early Years Provision and Supporting Vulnerable Children in the Early Years. The presentation highlighted the importance of working in partnership with all those involved in the care and education of young children, including parents, carers and the professionals around the child, to create a holistic approach for each child.

The presented findings raised how particularly important this holistic approach could prove in changing circumstances, where challenges for parents, carers and young children who are vulnerable present themselves. Comparisons of learning and development in differing cultural contexts and approaches were raised along with why similar key factors in settings, such as knowledgeable practitioners and leaders with a shared vision, promoted successful outcomes for children. Settings in different contexts in England were used as examples to illustrate the outstanding pedagogy and practice observed.

The philosophy that guided the settings was considered and how this had evolved through collaboration with a range of stakeholders. Photographic examples of how this was implemented in practice were shared, such as through creativity, bought and natural resources, exploration, investigation, indoor/outdoor learning and areas supporting time for children’s thinking. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (1943) was used as a reference guide for settings and how the unique philosophical ethos of each setting would strengthen responses when striving to raise standards. The complexity and commitment of the role of the practitioners working in early years was emphasised.

The subsequent discussions following the presentations were lively and raised concerns about workload, training, valuing Early Years practitioners and funding issues. Dr Beckley explained why these areas are so important:

“The birth-eight age phase represents a crucial stage in young children’s development, influencing individual wellbeing and life chances. It is vitally important that informed decisions on issues are made to promote and enhance the early years’ sector and those who work in it, to give all children worthwhile experiences as a foundation for their lives”

Chairing the meeting was Professor Leon Feinstein, Director of Evidence, Children’s Commissioner for England and participants included Ruth George, member, APPG Childcare and Early Education and Jonathan Broadberry, Head of Policy and External Relations, National Day Nurseries Association.

If you’re interested in a future in Early Years provision or Teaching there are few institutions that can provide a better experience than BGU. You can find information on our range of education based courses on our website, or by contacting our Enquiries Team.

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