Disquiet about the proposals to reform the Early Learning Goals for the EYFS, now being piloted in 24 schools, is beginning to seep into the articles we run, written by leading experts in the sector.
In this issue, Dr Lala Manners begins a short series on physical development training (pages 30-31) with a look at how terminology informs priorities and practice. In her view, the existing goals have never been fit for purpose as a meaningful way of assessment, but the draft physical development goals will create even more problems especially as Health and Self Care have been split off from ‘gross motor skills and fine motor skills’.
There are serious consequences, she argues, for how practitioners understand physical development and how to support it in a setting.
Then there is the complete removal of digital technology (and indeed, other technologies) from the revised ELGs, as Professor Elizabeth Wood, head of the School of Education at the University of Sheffield, points out in All About… converged play, pages 15-18.
Professor Wood and her colleagues are at the forefront of research into ‘converged’ or ‘connected’ play, proposing that there is no distinction between digital and traditional play, an approach that can extend rather than restrict playing and learning.
This is a vital topic, and one that Professor Wood and Dr Liz Chesworth will be exploring in depth in our Nursery World Show masterclass ‘Playing and creating in a digital world’ on 2 February.
There are similar concerns about the revised goals for other Areas of Learning. Surely this needs to be tackled sooner rather than later, as the pilots are due to run for an academic year.
The planned revisions should be revisited and revised, drawing on the early years sector’s expertise, as a matter of urgency.