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Members' Business — S6M-12369 Fulton MacGregor: Fostering a Discussion on a Kindergarten Stage in Scotland

Thursday 13 June 2024 12:51 PM


That the Parliament acknowledges the body of international evidence on the reported benefits of play-based early years education; believes that active, social play is a natural learning drive that helps develop physical fitness, social skills, cognitive capacities and personal qualities; understands that Scotland and the rest of the UK are outliers in Europe in starting formal education at four or five years of age; considers that, since the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) comparisons began, countries with later school starting ages have performed better than those with earlier starts; understands that the UN defines early childhood as being from birth to eight years of age, and that Scottish research has established that there are significant differences in children’s levels of development at age five; commends the work of organisations such as Upstart Scotland in promoting the needs of children in early years education based on relationship-centred, child-led, play-based environments, with a greater focus on outdoor learning; notes the belief that a universal play-based kindergarten stage, with a raised formal school starting age, could contribute to closing the attainment gap and be a significant anti-poverty measure, and that it would help provide a true level playing field for all of Scotland’s children, including those in the Coatbridge and Chryston constituency, giving every child time to develop the skills and capacities that underpin educational success, improving long-term outcomes and giving every child the best start in life, and further notes the belief that there is a need for a national conversation on early years education to consider a later school starting age preceded by a relationship-centred, play-based kindergarten stage to support optimal development during early childhood and ensure secure foundations, and that such a conversation should be open to all who wish to contribute, including early years practitioners, parents, teachers, academics and children, as well as policy makers.

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