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Articles on Early years education

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Processing children into units of human capital as quickly as possible risks the production of ‘damaged goods’. Genius baby via Bartosz Budrewicz/Shutterstock

It’s against human nature to send two-year-olds to school

In order to make young children “school ready”, the English government is now encouraging parents to place their children in school nurseries shortly after their second birthday. But there is evidence…
First day at school? Did you prep for the test? Andrew Milligan/PA Archive

We must scrap new baseline tests for primary school children

From September 2016, within five weeks of starting primary school, all children in England will receive an assessment that will stay on their record. But we have been here before and it didn’t work. The…
Better speech and brighter horizons. John Stillwell/PA Wire

Preschool attendance boosts language in disadvantaged children

All children with early language problems are at increased risk of struggling at school, and having reduced employment opportunities and life chances, but the risk of early language problems is disproportionately…
A digital childhood is no longer unusual. MNStudio/Shutterstock

At what age should we put babies on a digital media diet?

A recent New York Times article points to a glaring inconsistency between the amount of “screen time” toddlers have using tablets, phones and computers – and the advice of many early years specialists…
Better hurry up if you want a place. Reuters/Adrees Latif

New York mayor’s preschool crusade helps better-off families

Rookie New York mayor Bill de Blasio – poster child for America’s insurgent progressives – has promised to rewrite “a tale of two cities” by seeking to narrow gaps between the haves and the have-nots across…
Happy parenting won’t necessarily get you into Oxbridge. Parenting via Goodluz/Shutterstock

Parenting is not the key to tackling inequality

Britain is quickly turning into a nation characterised by an obscene and unsustainable wealth gap, according to a new report on social mobility. Yet behind the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission’s…
Time to go back to work? Toddler via Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

Why free childcare is not helping many mums back to work

Over the last 20 years, early childhood education and childcare for the under-fives has become a major policy priority in the UK. Get more mothers into work, it’s argued, and we can start to close the…
Reggio Emilia gives special rights to children who could be marginalised. Flickr/Emmanuelle Bourgue

Reggio Emilia: how a city in Italy started an education trend

When in 1991 an American newspaper named a preschool in Reggio Emilia, Italy, in the 10 best schools of the world, the early childhood centres in this city gained international attention. So what did this…
Talk to me, Dad. Father and son via sashahaltam/Shutterstock

Talking to your babies could help them do better at school

The rate at which children learn language varies substantially from child to child. Some children show rapid vocabulary growth before they go to school, while others learn so slowly that they can end up…
Dinosaurs are real, believe me. Mother with baby/Shutterstock

Babies can learn about the real world from pictures

Mass media such as books, TV, and the internet are key sources of information, allowing us to increase our knowledge by learning indirectly about things we’ve never directly experienced. Is this true for…
Let’s ignore the policymakers, kid. Wilson X

Focus on attachment in parenting policy is misplaced

A recent report from the Sutton Trust is the latest in a line of recommendations for family policy to focus on promoting secure attachment between parents and their children. What puzzles me is why the…
Do you think your Mum and Dad made the right choice? John Stillwell/PA

What should parents look for when choosing a nursery?

Choosing a good quality nursery is one of the most important decisions any parent will make during the first years of their child’s life. In a recent report, UK school and childcare regulator Ofsted acknowledged…

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