2019 promises to be another turbulent and challenging year for the early years sector and the UK as a whole, certainly in both policy and business terms.
On pages 8-10, you can read about what a selection of experts from across the sector would like to happen in 2019 to improve the position for young children, practitioners and early years services – the lack of funding, services and opportunities for children with SEND comes out as a major priority for reform.
While you might feel unable to do much about most of the political problems we face, why not take the opportunity to make this the year you learn some new skills to enhance your practice.
Take storytelling, once a common method of delivering stories that is now in danger of becoming a dying art. We're delighted to publish a five-page special focus, 'All About… Storytelling', by Mary Medlicott in this first issue of 2019.
Mary has spent many years of her life as a professional storyteller, determined to keep the practice of telling tales 'out of our mouth' alive. While reading books to young children will always be a vital component of early years education (perhaps given too much emphasis in the revised early learning goals as they currently stand), storytelling adds a whole new dimension to children's learning, particularly in terms of engagement.
Just look at the photos of Mary working her magic at Effra Nursery School and Children's Centre that accompany the feature. The children's faces and body language show total joy and involvement – what could be better for learning and development?
So why not read Mary's advice and tips in the article (she's just published a new book about early years storytelling too) and start practising? It's sure to make you feel better about the year ahead!