The early years sector is inherently unbalanced. On one side are the parents, also the customers in many settings. They want their children to be kept safe, kept happy and to have all their care needs met, by an organisation which takes as little of their salary in fees. Although they are likely to be pleased to know how their child is developing, most parents will select a childcare provider based on how warm, friendly and caring the staff seem, rather than the setting's teaching ability.
On the other side of early years landscape we have society as a whole. Society has, over the last couple of decades, come to recognise that what happens to a child before their fifth birthday will continue to impact them for decades to come. A child who starts primary school already behind in their literacy development, is much more likely to grow up to be an illiterate adult. A child who has a sensory disorder recognised in infancy will be able to develop coping strategies much more readily than one who does not. A child who is over-weight at 3 years old will have a much shorter lifespan than one who is a healthy weight. Quite logically, in recognising how vitally important the early years of a child's life are, government & societys expectations of what the professionals in this sector should achieve have steadily grown.
The problem is that although society wants early years professionals to deliver more than just fun and care, parents can't or don't wish to pay for more than that. Anyone who tries to explain to a working parent that their nursery fees have to increase so that the nursery can pay for a qualified Nursery Teacher to support maths and literacy development will almost certainly be met with derision. So where does this leave us?
It leaves us with half a million hard working early years professionals caught between a rock and a hard place. It leaves people like you pulling out all the stops to make the parents of the children you care for as happy and satisfied as possible, whilst also trying to meet all the expectations of your management, of Ofsted and of what you've been taught "best practice" looks like. It leaves us with a sector where working late, or taking work home is the norm, but high wages are rare. It leaves too many professionals moving away from early years because the stress and pressure of their role has become too much. It leaves us with a workforce who are in serious need of a break.
And that is why we are here. thatnurserylife.com has been developed to provide as much information, support and care for early years professionals like you as possible. To make your day-to-day work that little bit easier, we have a growing library of activity plans you can use for free. To help you make your whole setting as good as possible, we're sharing best practice case studies with useful ideas you can put into action. To support your ongoing development, and to help you gain the new skills your changing role requires, we're publishing CPD articles and guides to explain important concepts. And because we believe every early years professional should be satisfied and appreciated in their role, we're hosting all the best job listings to help you find a new role, when you need to. Over the coming weeks and months we'll be introducing more content, more features, and more ways that we can support you. If you have any ideas, please share them with us!