It has been reported in a recent study that language checks should become a routine for all toddlers and that speech and language checks should be as regular as those for checking a child's weight and growth.
It is said that without the necessary help, children with undiagnosed speech problems could suffer a life of failure if they go unchecked and unaided. By two years old, children are already destined to failure or success at school.
The review stated that children with problems just slip through the net and that without help they could literally find themselves with greater problems in later school life. Waiting until school age is just too late. By the age of five the problem is just too ingrained and children are likely to never catch up with their fellow school mates. They are more likely to be unemployed in later life and even end up in prison!
Although the screening and helping of children will cost money, it is estimated that for every £1 spent on children with impairments, the return on the investment is actually over £6. It could be costly while the child grows up, but it will effectively negate the cost of dealing with problems in later life.
It was even suggested that better literacy and speech education may have prevented last year's riots, and it was estimated that 90% of the rioters were illiterate.
The revised EYFS framework was published this week, the existing framework, EYFS 2008, remains in place until the end of August, the new framework called EYFS 2012 will be mandated from the 1st September. The revised framework aims to reduce bureaucracy and simplify learning and development requirements, reducing the early learning goals from 69 to 17. The framework concentrates on the three areas of learning deemed the most important:-
- Communication and language
- Personal, social and emotional development
In addition to these 'Prime Areas' there are also four futher 'Specific Areas':-
- Understanding the world
- Expressive arts and design
At ToucanLearn we will revise our system to tie in with EYFS 2012, ready for launch on 1st September. At the same time we will launch some new features to offer new tools to help childcarers implement the EYFS. We're excited about these changes, while we always felt that the EYFS offered a great platform for early learning, we also think that these revisions help to focus on the important parts of learning and will help those who might have struggled with the breadth of coverage of EYFS 2008. We will write more about the revised EYFS framework over the next few months, and keep you informaed of changes coming toToucanLearn.
You can download the new EYFS framework here.
Last summer on a family outing to Buckler's Hard in Hampshire, our children were enthralled by the tale of a ship builders daughter who, 300 years ago, would stand in the window of her cottage, reading a large antique bible. She stood in the window for two reasons, first because 300 years ago, before electricity, it was the lightest place at which to read, but second, her proud parents wanted her to be seen by the whole village, so that they could show off their affluence in society by demonstrating that they were wealthy enough to educate their daughter who, in a time of widespread illiteracy, was able to read. Most likely, the bible was the only book that this family owned.
This week the Evening Standard is running a special report uncovering shockingly low levels of literacy in some parts of London. The stories are desperately sad. In one instance a class was asked to bring in a book from home. One nine-year-old brought in an Argos catalogue saying that it was the only book in his house. At one level we might laugh and think this is an amusing anecdote, but the Standard goes on to state that as many as one in three children are growing up without access to books in the home. This doesn't come about because of a shortage of money - 85% of children have games consoles in their home, and most have televisions and hi-fi's. No, this lack of access to books is the result of parents making certain choices, choices that could have a fundamental effect on the lives of their children.
In this modern day, there is absolutely no excuse for parents not to expose their children to books. Books are more readily available today than at any other point in history. If family's cannot afford books then they can borrow them from libraries or school.
The knock on effect of children not being encouraged to read is that 16% of adults aged 16 - 65 living in London have the reading skills of an 11 year old. 40% of employers in London claim that poor literacy skills has a detrimental effect on their business.
The Education Secretary, Michael Gove, has said that children as young as eleven years old should read about 50 books a year. This would be part of a national drive to improve literacy standards throughout schools in our country. He claimed literary demands put upon children have been too low for so long that they don't expect to read more than they have to. Instead, children should be reading a novel a week!
He said that primary schools should encourage children to read lots of books too in preparation for secondary education. A December report stated that British teenagers rank 25th in an international league table of teenage literacy!
Along with his Coalition Government, he stated that standards had to rise after he discovered that the vast majority of teenagers read only their GCSE core book and no others.
Many pre-school children will be taking comfort from this as so many parents and carers read numerous books to their children each day let alone each week! Starting the enjoyment of reading at an early age - even before the children can read or talk or even understanding the story - is the best start.