Bathing in the energy of the Early Years staffroom

Over the past few weeks, I have had the privilege of listening to and talking with Early Years teachers in 4 different schools, spread across 3 different countries, on 2 different continents, and the experience has been absolutely energising. Long gone should be the days when Early Years is seen as a nice cosy little corner of the school, where children are contained before being released to ‘real’ school, but sadly this severely outdated perception persists in staffrooms across the country – and globe. In reality, however, Early Years teachers can be some of the most adaptable and child-centred teachers a school has the privilege to possess, and their engagement with the lives and all-round development of the children in their care can be amongst the most impressive … and deliciously subversive … in the school …

Why ‘deliciously subversive’?, I hear you ask! Ah, now therein lies the beauty of the Early Years department! Over the many years when they have been slightly overlooked by their colleagues leading the learning of older children and young people, Early Years teachers have perfected the art of identifying who children are, responding to these needs, and quietly fighting for the individualised resources which these children need in order to thrive. Unnoticed in many cases, these Early Years staff have gradually been refining their position on what works in education, and strengthening their voices … and these voices are now coming through louder and clearer than ever before. “We need to challenge the grades culture as children go through school” … “We need to rethink why we are asking children to learn a particular thing or set of things” … “Maths and literacy are not the be-all and end-all of a child’s existence” … “Politicians need to stop interfering in the development and education of children” …

Now, if we listened to – and acted on – the thoughts, experience and vision of these Early Years educators, the shape of our entire education system might be very, very different. In fact, it will be, if they have their way. They brought a smile to my heart – and I look forward to immersing myself again in their energy and wisdom before too long. We have a lot to learn from them.

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: