#StandUpForEarlyYears: Lockdown has boosted parents' respect for early years staff, says Montessori poll

Annette Rawstrone
Tuesday, May 12, 2020

More than three quarters (77 per cent) of parents have an increased respect for nursery staff and teachers following over a month at home with their children, research by the Montessori Group has found.

Leonor Stjepic, CEO of Montessori Group UK
Leonor Stjepic, CEO of Montessori Group UK

Half of the 1,000 parents of children aged three to 11 years old questioned also admitted to previously under-appreciating how hard nursery staff and teachers work.

Lockdown has given some parents the opportunity to assess what is important to their child’s development and question the current education system. The report found that a renewed focus on life skills has prompted 73 per cent of parents to think school should dedicate more time to developing practical skills such as cooking.

The Montessori Group says it is important to ensure that what is learned from the current lockdown is reflected in educational reform, increased support for the early years workforce, and small changes to families’ daily lives. 

For parents asked about their child’s development, and what skills they value the most, kindness (68 per cent), confidence (67 per cent) and communication skills (49 per cent) were valued far more than maths (20 per cent) and science (5 per cent) skills. This has led parents to consider educational change:

  • 87 per cent of parents believe that the current education system needs updating to focus more on soft skills such as creativity, resilience, independence and leadership
  • 78 per cent of parents think the pressures of the current education system, including testing from a young age, can have a negative impact on children.

Eighty five per cent of parents reported admiring and being proud of how their child has adapted to lockdown. The majority (88 per cent) of parents questioned also recognised that their child was still developing and learning at home. Findings include:

  • 65 per cent of parents were inspired by their child’s attitude to life and learning
  • 48 per cent had found out something new about their child’s personality
  • 46 per cent think their child is more responsive to learning with less routine and pressure
  • 69 per cent believe children should have more time for play at school.

Despite the positive findings, 57 per cent of parents admitted to feeling guilty that they are not home schooling ‘right’ and 54 per cent are afraid that they are failing their child. More than half (54 per cent) of parents recognise that the added pressure comes from themselves, while 34 per cent think it derives from social media, rather than teachers or other parents. 

CEO of Montessori Group UK Leonor Stjepic said, ‘We hope these findings reassure parents and help them understand that what they are doing for their children is enough. What we are going through is already difficult, and added guilt and pressure about their children’s learning is not needed.'

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