Early Childhood Forum

ECF - at the heart of Early Years from birth to 7 years
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If you would like to contact ECF please email your enquiry to: earlychildhoodforum@yahoo.co.uk


The Early Childhood Forum (ECF), brings together national organisations and professional associations in the early childhood sector for all young children from birth to seven. ECF exists to promote inclusion, challenge inequalities, debate issues, celebrate differences and develop consensus to champion high quality experiences for young children and their families.

News & Events

A Sense of Place


The Nature Effect / Oxfordshire Parenting Forum has published a 'Sense of Place' booklet. Working with local grandparents the enquiry group looked at ways to engage children and adults with playing, learning and communicating outdoors. Read the booklet by following the link below:

Download: TNE_grandparents_booklet.01.pdf

Making it REAL (Raising Early Achievement in Literacy)

From the NCB:

Making it REAL sets out to improve the way practitioners work with parents; to hand over knowledge and build confidence through meaningful early literacy activities to support the early home learning environment and ultimately improve literacy and wider outcomes for young children and their families.  Engaging parents in their children's early literacy development has been shown to improve children's outcomes and is a valuable intervention for narrowing the gap between disadvantaged and other children. Further details from: http://www.ncb.org.uk/ecu/making-it-real

How little is enough?


Provision for Outdoor Play in the EYFS
State of the Nation Report

Our Report just released with national charity Learning through Landscapes, suggests that many nurseries, schools and playgroups are struggling with inadequate outdoor space or in some cases have no outside space at all. The report calls for the Government and Ofsted to affirm and strengthen the statutory requirement for children in the EYFS. The report further calls for the Government and Ofsted to provide better guidelines for preschools, schools and nurseries, and to information for parents about what they should expect for their children.

Nearly 400 early years providers from the Early Years Sector responded to the survey initiated by the Early Childhood Forum and the national charity Learning through Landscapes.

The report is a strong call from the Early Years field for more staff training in this area and for help for teachers and childcare workers to engage with parents about the importance of outdoor play for young children’s development. Juno Hollyhock, Chief Executive of Learning through Landscapes said:
“There is plenty of well-documented research about the benefits of play and learning outdoors for young children, including their physical development, which is an area of current concern for public health in the UK. So why are so many children in Early Years settings still not getting enough outdoor time?”

The survey found continued strong support for outdoor play and learning in the early years, with many settings making improvements in their outdoor provision over recent years. But there is also clearly a wide variation in what children are offered in terms of daily outdoor experiences as part of their core early education provision.

Of key concern is that the planned Government expansion of free childcare for working parents over the next few years might also have a further negative impact on the space available for outdoor provision.

Melian Mansfield, chair of ECF said, “We are keen to work with the Government and with Ofsted to ensure that outdoor play and learning is high on the agenda, and that the guidance is clear – particularly as childcare services are expanded. There is strong evidence that time spent learning and playing outdoors in the early years can help prevent obesity, help with mental health and even address rising myopia in early childhood. There is historically a good understanding of the importance of learning outdoors in the UK , which has led with examples of excellent early years practice outdoors in the UK and internationally – but, as this report shows, it is far from being available to all young children here.”

Media Contacts
About the Survey, contact: Annie Davy (report author, ECF) Annie.davy13@gmail.com Tel: 07966 499 830
For LtL contact Juno Hollyhock, CEO jhollyhock@ltl.org.uk Tel 01962 846 258

Download: EYFS_Outdoors_Final_Report.pdf

ECF Early Childhood Forum