A new conversation has started!


The early childhood education (ECE) arena has always been, and continues to be, an area of ​​intense discussion and debate, says James Hempsall, founder of hey!

Although it is recognized that birth to seven years is a particularly important and dramatically formative period in the development and growth of children, there remains an untapped opportunity to achieve consensus in defining its explicit nature and content.

There is general agreement that all children benefit from a high quality ECE experience, although where this is the focus of debate there is often a lack of clarity, agreement or recognition of what this means in practice. Although a steady stream of government-sponsored and other evidence seems to point to the emergence of agreed precepts of quality, there is a need to unravel the narratives both about what it is and how they are most effectively achieved. The dialogue between politically and nationally sourced ECE policy and everyday practice can unnecessarily compete, and we believe that new positive opportunities for recognition and understanding of how ECE should ‘work’ are to be found. to input.

That’s why we launched hey! this summer (Hempsall’s Early Years) and we have made it our mission to do what we can to help all of our future dreams come true. We aim to:

  • to provide a modern, informed and positive approach to early childhood education, building on its rich history and tradition, and recognizing that our understanding of this is continually evolving for better results.
  • improve quality by incorporating a deep understanding and knowledge of curriculum progression so that early childhood educators have a pedagogical repertoire to optimize learning.
  • creating conditions for learning, with effective observation and assessment, professional interventions and supportive environments.
  • use evidence-based and research-driven approaches to support the most effective and impactful practice. We will make the most of EYFS, enhancing the statutory framework by exploring the influence of international models, pedagogy and curricula, drawn from and nurturing an authentically global perspective recognizing the importance of identity and diversity cultural.

The first thing we did was get 1,600 people online for our free EYFS Reform: One Year Conference on October 6, you can watch it here We also launched our first guidance document: Reshaping the future: realigning, re-energizing and reframing priorities for the practice and delivery of ECE. And to help make it all possible, we’ve created an exciting and dynamic new offering of briefings, CPD and on-site support integrated with our established training, research and consultancy services.

The purpose of this article is to provoke, stimulate and initiate debate and discussion on how the understanding and representation of ECE practice and provision can be fully understood and reshaped. Its aim is to explicitly identify current key priorities that seem to drive current challenges and issues and attempt to realign them from a perspective of responsible and impactful practice, building on what we know and how it is. specifically defined by the current environment.

By invoking this debate and addressing the questions it raises, its aspiration is to inspire educators across the sector to develop a confident, professional approach, and an increased ability to articulate the nature, uniqueness and location critique of ECE across the broader educational continuum in ways that connect with all current and potential stakeholders across policy, policy and practice space.

We believe early childhood is serious business. There needs to be more substantial engagement with the wider education community and society as a whole. And there is an urgent need for the sector to reflect on how we present, engage and articulate the practice, provision and purpose of ECE and reinforce a professional image.

It won’t be easy. To effectively influence and bring about the change we need, we must avoid the pitfall of conflict and come together around the table to build and speak a common language, adopt an informed and tested approach and create sound political decisions in which we can all work. For now, for the future, and for the sake of children and families, and those who are dedicated and committed to working in early years and child care.

  • If you want to know more, Jan Dubiel (hey! program director) and James Hempsall will be “in conversation” on the paper November 10, 2022 from 1-2pm, you can reserve your spot for FREE here or watch the recording which will be shared later.

Dora W. Clawson