The Telegraph is reporting that infants could miss out on time to nap during the day after rules requiring nurseries to provide designated periods of relaxation were axed…
Revised guidance issued to childcare providers removes existing provision for children to “relax, play quietly or sleep”, it was revealed.
Nursery leaders warned that the move represented the creeping “schoolification” of the early years.
But the Department for Education dismissed the latest claims, saying that guidance had simply been slimmed down and nurseries did not need to be told to give children time to sleep…
It also follows calls from Elizabeth Truss, the Education Minister, for more children aged two upwards to be accommodated in school-based nurseries.
Early years campaigners have claimed that many infants are being effectively pushed into formal education before they are ready, with an increasing emphasis on basic literacy and numeracy at the expense of giving children time to play and develop naturally.
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, said there were “several amendments that have been made to the guidance that we find concerning”.
But the DfE insisted it was nonsense to suggest that nurseries or childminders would not give infants time to sleep or relax during the day.
A spokesman said: “The new EYFS Framework strips out excessive regulation and prescription – including the requirement that all nurseries should have a designated area where children could sleep.
“Of course childcare professionals should still allow babies and young children to sleep during the day and it is misleading to suggest this is changing. We trust professionals to use their judgement and expertise to meet the needs of every child in their care.
“The updated guidance makes clear that all premises must be suitable for the age of the children being cared for – all providers will be held to account by Ofsted on this.”
…Mr Leitch said: “It could be argued that the removal of the current requirement to ensure provision is made for ‘children who wish to relax, play quietly or sleep’ is yet another indication of the shift towards the creation of a more formal early learning environment – particularly given that this change has come at a time when the government is pushing for more schools to take on two-year-olds
“The sector has been very clear on its opposition to the ongoing schoolification of early years by government and so it is worrying to see a policy change that could open the door to such an approach included in this guidance.”…
Are you concerned that the need to for provision for children to “relax, play quietly or sleep” is no longer explicitly in the EYFS Framework or is it reasonable that just stating that all premises must be suitable for the age of the children being cared for is enough to cover this? Is it a process of simplifying the guidance or is there an agenda for a more formal learning environment? Please give us your reactions in the comments or via Twitter…