YEP Says, February 23: Early years are the most critical for our children’s education

Early years education is key
Early years education is key
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Spotlight on early years provision in Leeds in wake of shock report.

THE education children receive in the earliest years of their lives is vital if they are to go on to fulfil their potential in the years that follow.

It’s why yesterday’s story in the YEP about Leeds being ranked bottom in the country in terms of early years development was so troubling.

The burden of responsibility for preparing children for school must fall on parents – especially when it comes to basics such as using a knife and fork, being able to use a potty or having a decent grasp of language.

Yet it’s right that the help the Government gives in terms of pre-school provision is also being put under the microscope. While other countries boast cheap and well-staffed nurseries, too many here are expensive and fall short of the desired standard.

It certainly doesn’t help that the coalition has cut funding for successful initiatives such as the SureStart children’s centres established under Labour.

It’s why the Child Poverty Action Group is now calling for a “revolution” in pre-school provision to help the thousands of Leeds children forced to play catch-up from the day they arrive at school.

The question is where the money for this will come from. If it is left at the council’s door, then how much can the city really afford in light of budget cuts?

And should taxpayers really be expected to foot the bill for parents’ failure to give their children the grounding they need to start school in decent shape?

Generation game with Lego’s timeless appeal

PARENTS who spent hours over Christmas helping their children press small plastic bricks together may have winced at the thought of going to see The Lego Movie.

Yet the film is winning fans both young and not-so-young for its spectacular showcase of the timeless appeal of the interlocking blocks, which have enchanted the world’s youngsters since 1949.

And Lego’s educational benefits are also enduring. Not only does it help children learn to count, but it also gives them an appreciation of the practical side of life.

All in all, it means these colourful bricks are a great building block for children’s development.

Kim Leadbeater, sister of Jo Cox, speaks about her efforts to keep her sister's values alive and raise money for charity. '2nd March 2016.'Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe

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