Parents called to launch of early education campaign

Meeting at Elgin Library on Thursday at 7pm
Meeting at Elgin Library on Thursday at 7pm

A CAMPAIGN RUNNING under the mantra “Let’s Reclaim Childhood for the Under-7s” is being launched in Moray this week.

The new ‘Upstart Scotland’ initiative is inviting people interested in childhood and early education to a meeting in the Activities Room of Elgin Library on Thursday.

Organised by Polly Cheer, who is convener of the Moray Network, the meeting will be addressed by John Coronochan, who is the founder of the Violence Reduction Unit in Glasgow and an influential champion of the Early Years of Children’s Lives.

Chair of Upstart Scotland is author and former head teacher Sue Palmer, who explained that the event was an opportunity for parents, carers, grandparents, health professionals and anyone else with an interest in early childhood to contribute to the debate.

Sue said: “Scotland has one of the earliest school starting ages in the world and there are now plans for national tests at five.

“Yet all the evidence shows that children today need more time to play, particularly outdoors. In the Nordic countries they start formal learning later, but have a much better educational record than the UK.”

Upstart Scotland is campaigning to have the principles of our Curriculum for Excellence transformed into practice by introducing a kindergarten stage for three to seven year olds based on the Nordic model.

The initiative is supported by many specialists in education, play and children’s health. They maintain that the decline in children’s active, creative play over recent decades has contributed to increases in physical and mental health problems among young people.

A kindergarten approach to early education puts more emphasis on physical, social and emotional development and stresses the importance of outdoor play.

The meeting on Thursday in the Elgin Library is from 7pm until 9pm.