Sound argument for quiet time

19th May 2006 at 01:00
You report that in the draft early-years foundation stage curriculum, it states that children need quiet time to relax ("Quiet time included in 'nappy curriculum'", TES, May 5). Are early-years professionals really surprised by this?

I have worked in early years for almost 30 years, and whether it's full-day care or two-and-a-half-hour sessions, children have always benefited from relaxation and recharging their batteries. Just like the adults who are working with them.

As part of North Tyneside's quality assurance scheme, originally developed in 2000, day care centres must plan for relaxation and provide children with a "comfort zone". I believe this is essential to the child's holistic development, and without it children become frustrated and less involved in other activities.

Under-3s have access to comfort zones all day, whereas three and four-year-olds generally use the zone from 7.30-9am, lunch time and 3.30-6pm in term time.

During holiday periods there's a different curriculum and the comfort zones are available to all children at any time of the day.

I welcome quiet time in the curriculum and feel there are enormous benefits to professionals. Learning in the comfort zone is likely to be just as extensive and valuable as that in a more formal environment.

I would also like to suggest that the term "nappy curriculum" undervalues the contribution of very young children and the expertise required to enable such a curriculum. Please make a stand and refer to the early-years, foundation stage, as you would for other age groups.

Katie Watson

Riverside Centre

Minton Lane, North Shields

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