Child experts gather to debate the state of childhood

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The Save Childhood Movement is to officially launch this weekend with a two-day summit exploring the need to protect children from influences that might compromise their health and well-being.

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The Flourish Summit on 27 and 28 April will bring together some of the leading thinkers in learning and child well-being to find ways of tackling the current ‘erosion of childhood.’

Key speakers include: Sally Goddard-Blythe, director of the Institute for Neuro-Physiological Psychology in Chester, Tim Gill, play consultant and author of No Fear: Growing up in a risk averse society, and Sue Palmer, author of Toxic Childhood.

Sally Goddard-Blythe (pictured) will present evidence showing a link between children’s physical development and learning outcomes, language and behaviour. She will argue that early years policy, instead of focusing on the teaching of literacy and numeracy in children under five, should aim to nurture developmental readiness for education.

Behind the summit is the Save Childhood Movement (SCM), a coalition of eminent professionals from across all disciplines concerned with childhood well-being.

Founded by Wendy Ellyatt of the Unique Child Network, Dr Richard House, a lecturer in early childhood from the University of Winchester, and Kim Simpson of the Early Childhood Action Group, the aims of the movement are to identify core problems and start seeking cultural and political solutions.

A concern of the SCM is that a succession of UK Governments have failed to recognise the early years as a vital period in its own right, focusing instead on measurable outcomes and ‘readiness’ for school.

As a result, the movement is calling for the establishment of a new, multi-disciplinary body to advise the Government on the preservation and protection of a child’s natural developmental rights.

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