Having completed a teaching degree in 1979, I've taught in rural and inner city schools, from nursery to adult education, in mainstream and special needs settings. I've watched fads come and go and seen the wheel re-invented.
My own school years took place in the sixties and seventies. We were fed facts and those with good memories and compliant personalities, regurgitates them accurately and were deemed intelligent.
One of my favourite educational philosophers is John Dewey, who was born in 1859 and died in 1952, having witnessed the development of the railways, automobiles, aeroplanes and even space travel, not to mention living through two world wars and the dropping of the atomic bomb. He was a proponent of hands on education and real life learning, believing that the best learning is relevant to our lives and involves social interaction with our community.
Governments focus on the content of learning, set goals and targets for what should be achieved and measuring success and failure, as defined by them, through regular tests. These can lead to tunnel vision as you only see what you are testing for, and they take the teachers' valuable attention away from the exciting process of learning.
Over the years I've come to the conclusion that teachers teach very little. Children have an innate ability and desire to learn and good educators develop the children's skills by providing the right opportunities at the right time.
My own children taught me more about the process of learning than a three year degree and five year's teaching before they were born. Parents are every child's finest and most important educators. that doesn't end when they go to school. Parents are the experts where their child is concerned.
Having spent eight years running a fifty place nursery attached to a school, I believe that the best provision for young children is variety. Rejecting noisy plastic toys in favour of woods no different in outcome to a diet based solely on plastic - the breadth of experience is still narrowed, albeit in a different direction. Outdoor learning can be wonderful but so is the museum down the road.
I'm proud of my daughter's achievements to date with Yummikeys. There's nothing like them on the market and stainless steel is a refreshingly different material from which to make a baby toy. After all breadth of experience is key and Yummikeys provide a very different sensory experience for babies and toddlers.