Developed by the members of the Movement’s Early Years Advisory Group, the manifesto, ‘Putting Children First’, sets out three core elements and 11 key policy points that it says are needed for the development of an appropriate early childhood education and care system (ECEC).
The three key elements the Movement believes that all ECEC systems should be based upon are:
- An integrated, holistic and appropriately financed system
- An evidence-based understanding of the child
- Recognising that a child is a citizen with developmental rights and freedoms
The manifesto, backed by a number of early years organisations, also calls for a much stronger focus on relationships and the importance of family life. It highlights the importance of developmental readiness and confirms the ‘dangers’ of pushing through universal childcare without the appropriate evidence base and significant investment.
Ahead of the 2015 General Election, the Movement is urging all political parties to incorporate elements of ‘Putting Children First’ in their manifestos. Also, to acknowledge the urgent need for a better balance between economic aspirations and child and family well-being.
Wendy Ellyatt, chief executive of Save Childhood Movement, said, ‘We are currently very concerned that universal childcare provision is being pushed through in England without due attention to the vital quality of care that includes developmentally appropriate environments, greatly improved parental support and engagement and the training and empowerment of a skilled workforce.
‘One of the key aims of any ECEC system is to allow every child to flourish and to achieve his or her full potential and we feel there is a real danger that without the necessary quality controls English children will be greatly disadvantaged. With this manifesto we are arguing that the best needs of the child should be at the heart of all future policymaking, that we need to acknowledge and better support the vital importance of family and community life and that there needs to be a national debate about the values that we wish to see nurtured in larger society.’