Earlier this month, June O’Sullivan, chief executive of the London Early Years Foundation, came up with the idea of making International Children’s Day the sector’s day to take over the early years debate in protest over the Government’s planned reforms for nurseries and childminders. She said that the minister for education and childcare’s ‘ill-informed and contradictory facts’ begged the sector to tell its story.
All of LEYF’S 23 nurseries are hosting individual picnics on 1 June, open to parents, children, staff and local childminders to 'celebrate and highlight the sector's worth'.
The social enterprise has produced a downloadable Summer Picnic event resource pack to help other providers to organise their own picnics or similar events.
Ms O’Sullivan said, ‘Early years staff are unwilling to remain downtrodden and ignored when we contribute significantly to supporting the national economy and to the well-being of children. We need to highlight these issues and make our voices heard.’
The Old Station Nursery Group is holding a number of drop-in picnics at five of its settings in Filkins, Faringdon and Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire, Newark, and Innsworth, Gloucestershire, on Friday (31 May), the day before International Children’s Day.
All parents, children and nursery staff are invited to the drop-in picnics.
Sarah Steel, managing director of the Old Station Nursery, said, ‘There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the proposed changes to childcare ratios, but parents and those working in the field aren’t always in a position to talk about it with their peers and have their views heard.
‘These picnics are about giving people the chance to have their say on something which could impact both their working and family life.
‘We want to show exactly what goes into caring for children, which is why we’re hosting our events at our settings. It’s also a chance to show the Government why its important that we don’t make swift changes to an established and well thought of system without first consulting the sector involved.’
A Twitter debate is also taking place on 1 June, which the early years sector is invited to join through the hashtags #reclaimearlyyears and #1stjune.
- For more information visit: http://www.leyf.org.uk/blog/sing-along-to-bob-marley-as-you-prepare-for-international-childrens-day-on-1st-june/
- For the latest news, analysis and comment on the Truss reforms read Nursery World's Big Issue: More Great Childcare.