I want a society that sees as its most important task the flourishing of children and that means valuing those who care for children - parents and professionals. The task of bringing up children requires the greatest social efforts of all. It is through our caring practices that we transform children into moral beings. Every conscious human being has been cared for as a child and can see the value in the care they received, why do we undervalue it?
We do at least have statutory nursery education for children now, but I find it rather depressing that many of the facilities which were available to me 35 years ago are now no longer available for our children and their children, like good dental care and one-stop clinics where expectant mothers can meet and also take their new babies. How can this be when, as far as I can see, most people have far more materially than we did. Our priorities are completley skewed (is that the right word?)
Am very concerned that the cuts we've had so far are only the tip of the iceberg and that, as usual, services for under-5s will be in the firing line. Sure Start Children's Centres provide excellent, value for money childcare services. I have signed a number of petitions!
As a grandmother I care deeply about the quality of childcare provided for my grandson while my daughter is working. As a teacher educator I was so impressed with the quality of provision provided for him at her local Sure Start Children's Centre in Coventry. Unfortunately the government has made provision of childcare for the 0-5s a non-statutory obligation and following a review of spending Coventry Council is looking to save money by tendering out this service to private, voluntary or independent providers (PVIs) and only supporting the most disadvantaged families. This is not just happening in Coventry, but all over the country. My daughter is actively campaigning to try and stop this happening. I would like to see Gran'sNet take up this campaign. Why? 1) The foundational ethos of Sure Start is one of social inclusion, only providing services to the most disadvantaged and taking away day care from working parents promotes social exclusion. 2) Segregated nursery care does not help the most disadvantaged – mixed ability settings is proven to benefit ALL children and parents. 3) PVIs may provide these services more cheaply (but this is debateable) but are acknowledged by the Councils own review to be of a poorer quality. 4) PVIs main cost cutting comes by employing less qualified staff and paying over 70% of them the minimum wage for looking after children. If you want to help there are 3 things you can do: 1. Sign the petition http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/covsocc/ 2. Write to your local councillors and MP 3. Respond to this thread with your support and send any stories you have about your experiences of any of the services at Sure Start Children's Centres