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Do we need a ‘nappy curriculum’ for our youngest learners?

7:00pm, Monday 13 June 2011, London

Dame Tickell (of Action for Children) reported in April following her review of the early years foundation stage for the government. In the terms of reference for the review, it was stated that children and their families should be at the heart of any early years framework and that professionals should consider how they can best support early learning, particularly in preparation for formal schooling. Most comments about the review have welcomed the proposed reduction in bureaucracy for early years providers but there has been very little questioning of whether we really need an Early Years foundation stage - or ‘Nappy’ - curriculum in the first place. 

Is it really true, as some have argued, that the earliest years in a child’s life are absolutely critical, alongside a loving and stable home?  And what does it mean, in the post-New Labour era, to talk about ‘early learning goals’ for 0-5 year olds? Is there anything good - or bad - about the idea of an early years foundation stage curriculum? And why is there such a concern with the need to prepare children for formal schooling?  Do we need a nappy stage now the nanny state is over?  Is the world of the child really just a stage? - and if it isn’t, what is the the alternative?

The Education Forum discussion format is specifically designed to explore what it is you might have been thinking but were previously unsure about asking, so please join us at this interesting discussion! 


Josephine Hussey, researcher in early childhood studies

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