A new year is traditionally a time for looking back at the past and anticipating the future. Some resolutions to do things differently, to let go of bad habits and begin new things.
Looking back to this time last year, I was writing to you about the flawed policy of Baseline Assessment. I continue to worry about the situations in which four-year-old children, their parents and their Reception class teachers find themselves. Baseline Assessment is a terrible waste of time and money and has no place in the early years of learning.
But what has happened in some Januaries of years gone by?
In 1756, the composer Mozart was born in Salzburg, and his musicianship was apparent from his earliest years. He played the violin and the clavia keyboard before he was five, and began composing and playing for royalty around four or five years old. We can only wonder what this little child’s life of musicianship and performing was like. Did he have a childhood to speak of?
In 1916, 100 years ago, the world was in the midst of the First World War, and despite many agreements of peace between nations, we are still far from achieving world peace. At the end of the Second World War the women of Reggio Emilia in Northern Italy sought to create an approach to caring and teaching young children that would lead to peace; now the infant-toddler centres and pre-schools of Reggio Emilia continue to espouse those original aspirations with an approach to pedagogy based on children’s rights and a pedagogy of listening to children.
Looking back we can see a folly of modern Government policy, a child prodigy who has left us with some of the most beautiful music ever made, and a war that this year we continue to reflect on as a century has passed. So what shall we look forward to? What shall be your 2016 resolutions for early childhood? And what, as this new year comes to an end, shall we be able to say we have achieved?
We all need to look back and we must all look forward; what will your goal be for you and the children you work with and for this year? How shall you work towards celebrating achieving that goal when 2016 comes to an end and we reflect on all that has passed in these next 12 months?
I hope this year brings many positive developments and joy in the company of young lives and minds. Happy new year!