View this email in your browser
Dear <<First Name>>

Last month we learned that Scottish children are among the least physically active in the world. This is almost certainly connected with a huge increase in screen-based activity among our youngest children and is likely to have a long-term impact on their physical and mental health and well-being. As this month's guest blogger points out,  it also impacts on education: Ian McGowan of the Movement and Learning Centre explains the significance of active play in cognitive development .  

Upstart News
Blog:  Getting it right before it goes wrong! 
News and views
Forthcoming events
Quote of the month

Upstart News

Early Years Scotland has produced a short film about their event in September when Dr Elizabeth Henderson put the case for Upstart. They've also released a report, with many sensible recommendations about improving transition from nursery to school.  However, these recommendations have been made repeatedly through the years, with little effect. This is why Upstart believes it's  time for radical action: we need a dedicated kindergarten stage 3-7!  

3/11/16 Kate Johnston led a workshop on Upstart at the Children in Scotland annual conference in Cumbernauld. 

12/11/16 Sue Palmer spoke about Upstart at the Growing Up Wild conference in Hamilton. The conference was covered on BBC News and organiser Susan McNeish also wrote us a post about the event.   

17/11/16  Upstart hosted a stimulating ScotEdChat conversation on Twitter.   

24/11/16 Sue Palmer presented the Upstart case at a Holyrood Conference on 'Tackling Child Poverty' in Edinburgh. 

25/11/16 Sue and Kate found the second Common Weal Policy Lab meeting on 'education' disappointing. Discussion centred on secondary students' views about school/discipline and a Scottish government research review of educational initiatives to close the attainment gap, all of which are regularly discussed but fail to address the underlying problems caused by a too-early focus on academic outcomes. We hope to present the Upstart case at the third Policy Lab on 11th January.   

30//11/16  Hilary Long gave a presentation about Upstart at the South Ayrshire branch of Common Weal, in Ayr. 

30/11/16 Questions to John Swinney at a Ministerial Engagement Session in Edinburgh included references to lack of knowledge about child development among the teaching profession; the difficulties parents encounter with deferment; the current crisis in child and adolescent mental health. Upstart was mentioned several times in the ensuing discussion.    

30/11/16 An article about Upstart appeared in Product Magazine.  

We've now completed our responses to consultations on educational governance and expansion of early childcare. Both will be displayed in the News section of the website until the consultations close early in the New Year. If you have any comments/additions please contact us via before 31st December. We also hope many Upstart supporters will send in their own responses.

Blog:  Getting it right before it goes wrong!

By Ian McGowan, Director of the Movement and Learning 

At the Movement and Learning Centre I work with children and adolescents who have a range of learning and behavioural difficulties that adversely affect their lives and schooling. In many cases these difficulties have their roots in early stages of development that may have been missed or not become fully developed. This includes the development of movement, balance and postural control. Should an individual not develop competency in movement, balance and postural control, excessive amounts of mental effort will be required to compensate for this, resulting in less capacity being available to attend to the world surrounding the individual, including schooling, rather than to the body. Read more

News and views 


- We're very pleased to see an Edinburgh woodland nursery among the government trials for Making free childcare more flexible.   
Research from Heriot Watt concludes that improving childcare would be the single most effective action to close the poverty gap. However, as Scottish government adviser Naomi Eisenstadt points out, it must be high-quality childcare. Until this is assured, expansion of ELC would not provide long-term improvement.  

- Scottish statistics suggest 'online bullying is the biggest problem faced by this generation'. Emphasis on social and emotional development for the under-sevens would help develop empathy and more play would develop children's long-term resilience.

- In advance of this year's KS2 test results, Reclaiming Schools and the NUT have published Mismeasurement of Learning: how tests are damaging children and primary education. Please tweet the link to @johnswinney!  
This 'tests fact sheet', sent to us by Professor Terry Wrigley, may also be of interest.
- Another excellent post from the redoubtable Peter Gray on the destruction of The Culture of Childhood.  

- Canada has added a new report to the rapidly growing international pile of research on changing childhoods.   

- 2018 has been designated the Year of Young People in Scotland. Wouldn't it be great to celebrate it by introducing a kindergarten stage for 3-7 year olds?

Forthcoming events

Public lecture on 'Listen Who's Talking', Glasgow 11/1/17

Third Common Weal Policy Lab, Edinburgh 11/1/17  

Children in Scotland workshop on 'Learning through play the Froebel way', Edinburgh 3/2/17

Quote of the month

'The effect of the [English] National Curriculum on infant education has been … to destroy the concept of infancy, to remove it from the vocabulary and the discourse of educational debate, and thus to eliminate any notion that the educational requirements of children 5-7 are in any fundamental sense different from those of 16 year olds.' 
                                  From 'The Death of Infancy' G. Blenkin and A.V. Kelly
                           in Education 3-13(1994)

Despite the Early Level, it seems that having a 3-18 Curriculum for Excellence has done much the same for Scotland. We need radical action to reinstate the concept of 'Early Years' (officially 3 – 8) as a separate and vitally important stage in children's development.  

Have a great Christmas break, when it comes. Here's to a more enlightened attitude to early childhood in 2017!   
Onwards and upwards!

The Upstart team

Copyright © 2016 Upstart Scotland, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp