The role of play is being sidelined in England’s nurseries because of government shifts towards more formal learning, experts say. This is from the BBC…
Nursery teachers and other child carers will no longer need training in how children learn through play under two key qualifications being drawn up…
The Department for Education has been consulting on two new flagship qualifications, the Early Years Educator (EYE) and the Early Years Teacher (EYT), designed to increase the skills of those working with babies and young children. They will be required by nurseries in England from September 2014.
The A-Level-standard EYE qualification says the worker should “deliver children’s early education and development from birth to the age of five” and “have an understanding of how children learn and develop”.
It also requires them to “deliver effective teaching and learning” enabling children to progress and be ready for school.
While the EYT requires the teacher to have a clear understanding of synthetic phonics in the teaching of reading and appropriate strategies in the teaching of early mathematics, there is no mention of theories underpinning structured play.
The Department for Education said: “There is no contradiction between teaching children and play. Good nurseries do both – education and enjoyment go hand-in-hand.”
But the three major bodies representing nurseries, pre-schools and childminders say not mentioning play is a major omission.
Pre-School Learning Alliance chief executive Neil Leitch said: “Learning through play is the cornerstone of good practice in early years because play is how young children learn and make sense of the world.
“The ability of practitioners to support children’s play in this way is an essential skill in promoting children’s development and should be recognised in these qualifications. We are very disappointed that it is not.”
He said the role of the childcare practitioner was to create the right environment for young children to explore and learn in a way which extends their interests at their own pace.
Do you believe the lack of mention of play is a major omission, as the PSLA and others suggest, and if so, in what ways might this cause problems? Please share in the comments below, on Twitter or by using this form