The Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship welcomes the review of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
Following the announcement on Tuesday 6th July that there will be a review of the Early Years’ Foundation Stage, the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship is looking forward to contributing to it. As a reply to the governments intended focus on ‘getting children ready for education’, we will respond on the importance of regarding the early years as a distinct and important phase of a child’s life, rather than simply a pre-curser to school.
We support the themes and principles of the EYFS, and hope it will continue to provide a play-based approach to children’s learning and development. However, we have found that the statutory nature of the Assessment regulations and Learning and Development requirements have conflicted with many of the well established principles of Steiner early childhood education. This has resulted in a complicated and bureaucratic exemptions process for Steiner teachers and parents. Further, the requirement to assess against the numerous points in the EYFS profile at age 5 holds no value as our children generally remain in the kindergarten until their seventh year when they begin their first introduction to formal learning, in line with many other countries with highly successful education systems throughout the world.
As our schools have to apply for the second round of exemptions in 2011, we hope that a mechanism can be put in place to allow for the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship to make a collective application on behalf of all our settings. We also hope that issues related to the new-style funding formula will be resolved in a way that allows practitioners to continue their vital work for young children.