What Rumbold said about the curriculum

Tes Editorial

Angela Rumbold's report on under-fives education was snubbed by the Government in 1991. Now it has been rehabilitated.

Young children as learners: * Although all children follow sequential patterns of development, every child is unique; * All children have competencies which need to be brought out and built upon; * Children's learning should be embedded in what is familiar; * Play is an essential and rich part of the learning process; * Learning should be a pleasurable and rewarding experience; * Learning should be primarily first-hand, experiential and active. n Children need opportunities and space to explore and discover; * Young children are social beings and learning should take place in a social context;

* Talk is central to the learning process. It should be reciprocal and often initiated and led by the child; * Independence and autonomy needs to be promoted. Self-discipline should be encouraged; * Children should take responsibility for their learning; * Children need the security of a daily routine which works for them; * There should be opportunities to explore the unexpected and opportunities for sustained engagement in an activity.

The content of learning: * Young children need a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum; * Young children's development should be viewed as a whole and the curriculum should reflect an understanding of this; * Observation-based assessment is vital in planning an appropriate curriculum for every child; * The process of learning is as important as the content and needs careful consideration in curriculum planning; * Children need certain skills and concepts in order to make sense of, and apply, their knowledge and understanding;

* Positive attitudes to learning should be developed; * Much knowledge can and should be presented in an integrated, cross-curricular way; * There should be continuity and progression and a co-ordinated approach to planning; The context of learning: * For young children, every setting is a source of learning, the home is a particularly powerful learning environment; * The content and setting of learning should aim to reflect the child's social and cultural background; * The child should feel valued and positive feelings about self should be promoted which acknowledge the value of each child's cultural and religious life;

* The teaching environment should be open and accessible; * A variety of learning situations is important; * Certain facilities are essential: access to an outdoor play area, adjacent toilets, space; * Young children need equipment that is appropriate and promotes their learning; * The learning environment should be "user-friendly", secure, comfortable and stimulating; * A child's growing social competence needs support; * Collaboration with parents in a child's learning is essential; * All those involved in the learning process should be viewed as partners, and should collaborate in planning the curriculum; * The role of the adult is highly significant in the learning process. A favourable ratio of adults to children is critical; * All educators should recognise that their values, beliefs and attitudes may differ from those of the children they are educating. They need to be open-minded, evaluative, reflective and responsive.

The Rumbold Report also elaborates on the nine areas of experience and learning set out by HM Inspectorate for under-fives: linguistic, aesthetic and creative, human and social, mathematical, moral, physical, scientific, technological and spiritual.

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