Communication champion seeks more emphasis on PSED

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The review of the Early Years Foundation Stage might consider the option of an increased emphasis on personal, social and emotional development and communication and language, according to Communication Champion Jean Gross.

Ms Gross, who is part of the early years advisory group for the EYFS Review being led by Dame Clare Tickell, spoke at a National Literacy Trust policy meeting on 'Early years and the spending review: the priority areas'.

When the EYFS was launched in 2008, some experts expressed reservations about the principle of equal weighting for the six areas of learning, especially for the birth-to-three age group. This effectively meant that problem-solving, reasoning and numeracy, for example, should be paid the same attention as personal and social development by practitioners working with babies and toddlers.

Ms Gross considered what aspects of the early years should be given priority for funding and gave her views on how this should be achieved. She said attachment and communication were the prime factors, adding that there should be 'more money for supporting parenting than for glossy buildings and daycare'.

Among her recommendations were extending family-nurse partnerships and recognising that children's centres work.

She claimed that policy for children from birth to two has been confined to physical health, with the focus on immunisation, breastfeeding and obesity rather than attachment. The Healthy Child programme could provide developmental checks and follow-ups, she suggested, including looking at parental relationships and depression, interaction, temperament and language development.

The Nationial Literacy Trust is to publish a policy paper drawing on the discussion at the meeting.

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