A New Deal for Children and Practitioners? Practitioners Working towards a High Quality Curriculum for Children Under 8
Earlier sections of this book have highlighted some of the tensions in early childhood education that have resulted from the interpreting of the curriculum for children under 8 in a narrow and formal way. This chapter argues that a realization of these tensions provides the opportunity for a new approach to the education of young children which enhances and extends learning opportunities. Such an approach should aim to ensure that a curriculum focus on acquiring subject knowledge, understanding and skill is informed by underpinning aims to provide young children with the full range of learning opportunities suitable for their age. This could be achieved through giving children's emotional and social experiences their due weight as powerful incentives to learning and to the formation of lifelong attitudes and behaviour. To do this, we need a new development in educational thinking which can enable practitioners to tune their provision much more senSitively to the learning needs of individuals and groups of children. We must develop new criteria of quality which relate to real children' s actual experiences, so that practitioners can accurately evaluate and then improve the quality of what children receive in their settings.