This week the Princess of Wales delivered a speech on the results of research on early childhood, organised by her Royal Foundation’s Centre for Early Childhood. She said,
“Nurturing skills that enable us to know ourselves, manage our emotions, focus our thoughts, communicate with others, foster positive relationships, and explore the world are just as valuable to our long-term success as reading, writing or arithmetic. These skills are the bedrock, not only for helping children to thrive, but also for restoring, protecting and investing in humankind.”
We strongly support these words. Not only are all these skills valuable, but they are linked. Those of us in early years’ education have experience of children whose social and emotional development was marred by their difficulty acquiring basic reading and writing skills. We have witnessed misery for these children and bewilderment for their parents. The ability to read and write is a social equaliser which contributes to children’s self-esteem and pride in their achievements, enhances their life chances and contributes positively to their wellbeing.
The best of all worlds would be the early nurturing of emotional wellbeing whilst acknowledging the increase in wellbeing which can be achieved by teaching children to read.
Dr Marlynne Grant
Registered Educational Psychologist and committee member of Reading Reform Foundation (RRF UK).