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Dear <<First Name>>
Welcome to Upstart – a campaign to introduce a kindergarten stage for children aged three to seven. We're a group of parents, early years practitioners, primary teachers and other professionals concerned about the health and well­being of Scotland's youngest citizens. You can find out more about us on our website:

Scroll down to read our first newsletter.

Off to school ...

Next week, thousands of Scottish four- and five-year-olds will turn overnight into 'Primary Ones'. All long-term research (including a study published last month) shows that support for their social and emotional development is far more important at this stage than rushing them into early academic achievement. Yet Scotland’s priority for P1 and P2 children in the coming year isn't social and emotional development. It's the three Rs.  

Upstart meets the Minister

On 28th July, Sue Palmer and Katrina Sher of Upstart visited Angela Constance, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, to point out that Curriculum for Excellence and other Scottish policy documents support an emphasis on health and well-being in the early years, while the Read Write Count campaign for P1 to P3 is likely to exacerbate the current drive for early formal learning. You can watch an adapted version of the presentation to the Minister here: 'Big Picture, Small Children: health, well-being … and literacy'.

Ms Constance acknowledged the strength of the research evidence but said the Scottish government must respond to public concerns about basic skills. So Upstart's first aim must be to change public perceptions about what effective educational provision for the under-sevens looks like, stressing the central significance of play.

The importance of play in children's overall development was the theme of a presentation, Play and Policy in Scotland, to a day care conference in Edinburgh by Marguerite Hunter Blair (CEO of Play Scotland). Marguerite is one of Upstart's earliest supporters.

The High/Scope Perry Project was a long-term study of the effect of different styles of pre-school education on disadvantaged children's lives. We recently found some rare video footage about this study, featuring the major researcher, David Weikhart. You can view it here
At an Upstart meeting Edinburgh last month, it was agreed to spend several months building up support around Scotland before a public launch of the campaign in 2016. The next meeting will be in Glasgow and we need to hold meetings in as many  areas of Scotland as possible.  If you can help us set one up where you are, please contact

The provisional date of a meeting for the Glasgow area is September 21
st. To be kept informed, please contact
Far too many of this month's new intake of Primary Ones are simply not ready for formal education. They need time, space and sensitive adult support to develop the social and personal qualities that help children thrive, at school and throughout life. And all Scottish four- and five-year-olds need more time to play!

If you agree with Upstart's aims, please help us spread the word by forwarding this Newsletter on to any friends, colleagues and networks that might be interested.

Onwards and upwards!   

The Upstart Team

Copyright © 2015 Upstart Scotland, All rights reserved.

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