Last Monday saw me attend a formal event in the staggeringly regal, gilded Music Room in Lancaster House by Buckingham Palace, to celebrate the Early Years education sector, hearing from and meeting some of the best practice providers in the UK.
I felt hugely privileged to be invited as a guest by Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, MP Sam Gyimah to witness his party’s policy in action, to hear from pre school providers from all over the country truly passionate about offering pre-school children education and importantly, pastoral support, nurturing kids all over the UK, laying the foundations for hopefully a long journey of academia for the next generation.
It was lovely to also meet up with fellow bloggers Helen of Actually Mummy and Emily of A Mummy Too at the event, where we chatted, ate and mingled with lots of interesting childcare providers from all walks of life, all incredibly passionate about young children, their huge potential, and offering them the very best future.
Childcare Minister Sam Gyimah started off proceedings-
I wanted to share some of the highlights from his speech here and I must add Sam was clear that much more progress was needed to be made and the difficulties we face as parents and childcare provisions can be tough for most:
‘The importance of childcare is huge in a child’s development and upbringing – that’s why we all have a moral mission to get it right.
As childcare minister, I’ve been privileged to travel all over the country meeting with providers. The consistently high bar they set made me want to put on an event to say ‘thank you’ for the work they are doing.
I am very proud of what we have all achieved during this Parliament to make sure parents can make the best possible childcare choices for their families’
I was amazed to hear that research shows that a pre-schooled child has more chance of getting better exam results and ultimately earning higher wages than those not, according to a study published in September 9 2014.
‘The Effective Pre-School, Primary and Secondary (EPPSE) research shows children who go to pre-school are projected to earn £27,000 more during their career than those who don’t. They are also more likely to get better GCSE results – the equivalent of getting 7 Bs compared to 7 Cs’.
I felt utterly inspired in that room among some of the finest childcare providers this country has to offer, and more so, determined to get Alexander, my youngest child aged 2 1/2, who has struggled to settle at nursery, in to the right early learning environment for him by 3.
I believe a small, intimate environment would be best for him with hopefully carers and educators, just like the ones I met at the event, able to show him the love, care and early education he needs and craves, while I work.
It was also fascinating and fabulous to then hear from true raconteur, 5 Live radio presenter Rachel Burden on her juggle as a working mother of 3, whom like me, is dependant on her mum and nursery for childcare.
Highlights included hearing from the childcare providers themselves-
Isle of Wight childminder Kerry Hiscock of Lugley Bugs Childcare inspired me to get my kids into the countryside more through the week as told of activities the kids in her care enjoy in the nearby forest.
Staffordshire Council’s Matt Bigg had seen a real difference with the childcare allowance for families with 2 year olds.
After the speeches had finished, the canopies eaten, Helen and I met MP Sam Gyimah, a funny, smart, charming man who I was impressed to say, had read all three of our blogs and was quite aware of the importance of bloggers.
I explained how my blogging career is full time but works on my time and terms, and Helen and I had the opportunity to explain how refreshing it is to work in a new world that shares our voices and offers us control of our careers.
It was such an enlightening day and I truly appreciate how diverse my blogging life/career is, no one day is the same, one night sees me reviewing the opera, the next I’m covering fashion previews, going on review holidays, or like last week, attending government functions. I don’t take a second for granted either.
This space here, is where I share my life, the good and sometimes the bad with you, my loyal readers. It’s where my business lies and offers my family and I experiences we will treasure, always.
I’m not here to blog about my political views or encourage anyone to vote one way or another, I just wanted to share how honoured I felt attending this event in the presence of front-line care providers, those who love and live for their jobs, some of whom had worked in childcare for over 30 years or more and those people, men and women I’d met, had a truly profound effect on me, they made me want to be a more patient parent, a better blogger and all-round person. To be kinder to myself and mostly, to appreciate the shared juggle so many of us face as working parents, so reliant on family support (thank you Mum, I couldn’t do this without you) and the many childminders and nursery staff who enable women just like me to work and provide for our families.
As we left, Helen and I stopped and watched the guards changing immediately next to us on the other side of the gate.
Almost in touching distance.
I took a minute to drink it all up. Privileged indeed.
Thanks so much Sam for the day.
All photos c/o and copyright to the Press Office at the Department of Education.
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