An official report finds very promising results from the ‘Scottish study of early learning and childcare’ particularly with regard to those most in need, the deprived. The above graph reveals that parents from the most deprived areas were commonly very likely to be engaged in working with educators in early learning centres and sometimes more so than other parents. This was, in part, due to the high level of accessibility for these parents with ELCs often a short distance from their homes. See:
For most parents, the ELC setting attended by their child was accessible – almost two-thirds could make the journey within 10 minutes. Whilst settings were less accessible for parents in rural areas, half of these parents were still within 10 minutes’ travel. Parents were routinely engaging with settings. The most common forms of engagement were those perhaps most expected: visiting the child’s room and/or discussing the child’s progress with staff. However, a small number of parents – a little more so amongst those living in more deprived areas – are also engaging in other ways including receiving advice about money and learning useful new skills – each potentially important in achieving greater parenting efficacy. Parents also recognised the benefits of ELC for their children including through supporting their social and educational development.
Use of ELC
In more detail we see:
- Sixty-four percent of parents/carers lived within 10 minutes of their child’s ELC setting and only 1% said it took 30 minutes or longer to make the trip. Parents living in urban areas were more likely than those living in rural areas to live within 10 minutes of their child’s ELC setting (64% compared with 51%)6
- Almost all parents (99%) had engaged in at least one activity at their child’s ELC setting since the child started. Visiting the child’s room (92%) and discussing the child’s progress with a member of staff (84%) were most common. Least common were learning a new skill such as cooking (4%) and receiving help with transport to and from the nursery (3%).
- Parents living in the most deprived 20% of areas were more likely than those living in other areas to report having: stayed and played with their child (60% compared with 55%); talked to someone about how to support their child’s learning at home (42% compared with 38%); and learned a new skill such as cooking (7% compared with 2%).
- Attending ELC was generally recognised as being more beneficial for children than for parents. Parents were most likely to say the main advantage was that it helped with the child’s educational development (58%). Many also mentioned the benefits of socialising with other children (51%). No parent stated there were no advantages to a two-year old child being in nursery.
- Almost all children (99%) had been engaged in some form of home learning activity in the previous seven days. The most common was reciting nursery rhymes or singing songs (64% of children had done this every day).
I’m not sure how Reporting Scotland will be able to draw negative conclusions from this but let’s not doubt their cunning.