Holistic experiences : celebrating the wonder of early childhood education

Arnott, Lorna (2021) Holistic experiences : celebrating the wonder of early childhood education. International Journal of Early Years Education, 29 (4). pp. 353-357. ISSN 0966-9760 (https://doi.org/10.1080/09669760.2021.2003949)

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Early Childhood Education encompasses sophisticated, yet misunderstood practice. A misguided perception often portrays early childhood as a sector which is primarily focused on care in overly simplistic terms, often overshadowing the place of education and learning. It is this misconception that leads to key challenges in policymaking and enacting high-quality provision. You only need to look to the recent agenda to change staff to student ratios in baby rooms in England (Gaunt 2021), to realise that those outwith practice and the field, fail to perceive the complexity and intricacy associated with educating our youngest citizens. Those within the field know all too well, the multidimensional focus which is required to support young children's learning and development. The different 'selves' emulated by key Early Childhood staff are endless and Rose and Rogers (2012) articulate that at very least practitioners must assume the position of critical reflector, carer, communicator, facilitator, observer, assessor and creator. The varied roles required by staff go some way to articulating the vastly diverse content and contexts within which children learn in the first years of life. It positions Early Childhood Education as something far greater than the narrow focus on care, assumed by so many. The focus also moves far beyond specific curricular agendas or pedagogies. Instead, Early Childhood must be known for its attention to holistic development, supporting the whole child, their families and their communities.