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Children should have more time to enjoy play-based learning. When children have the whole world to explore, we childcare workers should be encouraging them to ask questions and try out things for themselves. In this country it seems that no sooner have children learned to walk and talk, that we are telling them they need to sit down and listen. Liz Cooper, Darwen, Lancashire 5 February

This project recognises that: * settings should be constantly resourced and organised in such a way as to offer learning opportunities across all areas of the Foundation Stage curriculum

It is a shame that it has taken the realisation that we need to have a national registration scheme to be highlighted by the Bichard report instigated by the tragic deaths of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman. Let's now hope that the Government and the DfES act quickly before another horrendous tragedy strikes - and it will, unless we tighten up our registration process. Ashanti Dickson, managing director, Nannies Abroad, Winchester 15 July

The only way to judge a childcare setting is for Ofsted to arrive unannounced for inspections. It may be inconvenient for settings, but we have a duty to children in daycare to ensure they are constantly being looked after properly. Claire Calladine, Hucknall, Nottingham 9 September

Nursery nurses definitely deserve more pay. But all the income to run a private day nursery comes solely from the children's parents. The Government wants good quality, affordable childcare. Yet how can anyone running a private nursery afford to pay more and also keep fees low? The answer is to scrap the business rates that nurseries have to pay.

New education secretary Ruth Kelly has been praised for her commitment to family life. The Times said she holds the record for giving birth to the highest number of children while an MP, and the Independent described her as 'juggling nappy changing with...

Intense concentrations of disadvantage and child poverty in some of the UK's major cities are revealed in a new report. Glasgow, London, Liverpool and Manchester have the highest numbers of poor children in the UK, according to a study published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation to mark its centenary.

Ruth Kelly has been named Secretary of State for Education and Skills, following Charles Clarke's move to Home Secretary. Ms Kelly, 36, joined the Cabinet Office in 2004. She started work in the early 1990s as an economics writer on the Guardian before moving to the Bank of England. She became an MP in 1997 and was at the Treasury for three years. At 36, she is the youngest minister ever to serve in Tony Blair's cabinet. She is married with three daughters and a son.

The treatment I have received from colleagues has ranged from being ignored, to conversations stopping as I walked in the room. I have also been handed Unison forms and 'asked' to 'join so that we are all the same', and received comments such as 'I would rather be a picket than a scab'. Name and address supplied 8 April

Young children will love playing with dragons without thinking them scary or real, using these activities from Helen Shelbourne Dragons are the subject of countless ancient myths and legends but are still 'alive' today in many books, films and toys.

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