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Fragile consensus on early learning

A new framework for early childhood education, launched this week, emphasises the way in which young children learn as the key issue, rather than specific targets for literacy and numeracy in developing a suitable curriculum.

Early-years organisations came together to produce the document, Quality in Diversity in Early Learning.

It aims for a "shared language" for all early-years practitioners, to consolidate the strengths of diverse approaches and extend understanding of learning. It encourages collaboration with parents and between practitioners.

The document, produced by the Early Childhood Education Forum, an umbrella group, represents a triumph of diplomacy in bringing together a broad coalition of organisations including the Pre-school Learning Alliance.

But it has not been endorsed by the National Campaign for Nursery Education which has declined to sign up because it believes that quality depends on trained teachers and nursery nurses. "We are not campaigning for quality in diversity. We are campaigning for a particular type of provision", said Margaret Edgington, vice-chair of NCNE.

The framework is based on five "foundations for early learning". These are: belonging and connecting; being and becoming; contributing and participating; being active and expressing; and thinking, imagining and understanding Quality in Diversity is available from The National Children's Bureau, pound;9.95 for members and pound;14.95 for non-members, plus pound;3 pamp;p, 8 Wakley St, London EC1V 7QE.

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