Journalist and Writer
Hilary Wilce specialising in all aspects of education
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The Quandary - 26 Jun 2008

What is wrong with the Early Years Foundation Stage? I’m a childminder, and haven’t seen anything that bothers me.

Hillary's Advice

Like everyone working with the under-fives, you will have to follow the EYFS from next September, so you are right to be anxious about the criticism of the so-called “nappy curriculum”.
The idea is to bring together playgroups, nurseries, childminding arrangements and reception classes under a common umbrella of care and education that will properly nurture young children.
Optimists hope it will improve standards, help families, and ensure that no child starts school lagging behind. Pessimists say it will force a narrow and formal curriculum on young children who should be left alone to learn through play and exploration.
Those of us with long memories cast our minds back to the early -- impossible -- days of the national curriculum, and hope that in due course all the levels and inspections and observations that the bureaucrats have stuffed into this complicated framework will be slimmed down into something more manageable.
It sounds as if you are a practical person who is unfazed by jargon and can read a complicated page of government guidance on observations and reporting, and decide it simply means scribbling a note that little Milly managed to post the star shape into the star hole today.
Not everyone is so lucky, and it is very bad news that some childminders are chucking in the towel rather than get embroiled in all the terrifying-looking grids and targets of EYFS. After all, no-one works with tiny tots to tick boxes and fill out forms – and it will be criminal if something designed to help young children turns out to do the opposite.