Oh What a Year – We Couldn’t Have Done It Without YOU

Thank you to everyone for your support this year and helping us Stand Up for Early Years by shouting out like Santa about the big structural issues relating to child poverty, child obesity, inclusion and sustainability.

To all of you who supported our campaigns such as Doubling Down – thank you.  It’s good to know that despite the Department of Education’s reluctance to consider doubling the number of funded childcare hours to help improve the learning and development amongst disadvantaged three- and four-year-olds, many of you took a humane response by helping those vulnerable children who were arriving at nursery hungry, anxious and developmentally delayed as a result of lockdowns and the impact of living in poverty (exacerbated by the pandemic).

We were also encouraged by the support we received back in April when we launched the first ever Level 4 qualification (accredited by CACHE) to teach about the principles of sustainability through pedagogy, process and practice and help create Green Champions across Early Years settings.

Many of us know that when it comes to teaching about sustainability in the Early Years, England lags behind our international colleagues. This is why it’s imperative that sustainability is not only taught to Early Years staff but also incorporated into each setting’s pedagogy to address the huge issues that impact on children from poverty to climate change.

Our book, 50 Fantastic Ideas for Sustainability, co-written with Nick Corlett (Sustainability Manager at London Early Years Foundation), reinforced this message to practitioners looking to advocate sustainability into their pedagogy and operational practice. The feedback we received following the publication of the book in June was brilliant and it was great to see many of the ideas for both indoor and outdoor play brought to life.

I also want to thank our guest panel again who made the recent Margaret Horn annual debate in November a lively event. Chaired by TV news journalist and children’s best-selling author, Kate Silverton, along with Paul Lindley (founder of Ella’s Kitchen and Chair of London’s Child Obesity Taskforce), Edna Kissmann (founder and CEO at The Wonder of Me) and Monica Costa (Influencer, Author & Editor of London Mums), we questioned if the Early Years sector was doing enough when it comes to helping young children maintain a healthy weight and tackle childhood obesity?

With more than 1 in 4 children (27.7%) starting school (in reception class) as overweight or obese, the Early Years sector (as food providers) certainly has a role to play. Stay tuned for more on this early next year.

So, to send you off on your Christmas Break with a song in your ear, please join me for a revamp of a well-known children’s favourite (socially distanced) sing along.

When Santa got stuck the chimney he began to shout

You girls and boys won’t get any toys

Cos Covid’s all about

My beard is a mask

Lateral Flow tests are in my sack and

My nose is tickling too!

When Santa got stuck up the chimney

Atchoo, Atchoo, Atchoo!

When Santa got stuck up the chimney

He began to yell

Oh dear oh dear Covid’s up here

And I think it’s mutated again

The guidance says It’s hard to tell

That is all that’s true

When Santa got stuck up the chimney

Atchoo! Atchoo! Atchoo

When Santa got stuck up the chimney

He began to shout

You Early Years are shedding tears

Cos there’s no staff about

Costs are high and funding is low

But the Government hasn’t a clue

When Santa got stuck up the chimney

Atchoo! Atchoo! Atchoo

When Santa got stuck up the chimney

He said we need to fight

For children’s education

That will fully see them right

Share our voice and sing aloud

And keep our message true

When Santa got stuck up the chimney

Atchoo! Atchoo! Atchoo

 

And finally, from EVERYONE at LEYF: We wish you a Merry Christmas. We wish you a Merry Christmas. We wish you a Merry Christmas And a Happy New Year!

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June's Blog