As a full-time working mum of a toddler, her nursery is very important for me. I have seen my little one learn, develop socially and emotionally, and I greatly appreciate the effort, involvement and time from nursery staff.
So it was with trepidation that I greeted the news yesterday that the government is planning to improve nursery care standards by raising the child:carer ratio.
Hmmm… Allow me to remain sceptical. I read that sentence again and the logic behind it doesn’t make sense. Yes, the state coffers are rather empty and we need to take measures now to avoid increasing our debt. But how are the carers going to provide the same (or better) quality of care and learning for our little ones,, while looking after more of them?
I can see the rich and famous and our politicians weathering the storm, hiring nannies or driving their offspring to private Montessori nurseries. But for ordinary folks who want to give their children the best possible start in life, this is yet another blow increasing the social divide. Many of us love our careers and have bills to pay, so staying at home is simply not an option. Those first few years in a child’s life are prime territory to maximise their learning and skills, and we shouldn’t settle for second best, least we should face the consequences further down the line.