Channel 4 gave us a glimpse into the lives of little ones this week, when they uncovered The Secret Life of 4 Year Olds. The programme showed children as they made friends, argued, shared, stood up for themselves and found their own places in the social group.
As the mother of a four year old myself, I’ve often wondered what the world looks like from my son’s perspective – how fun it would be to see him in his classroom, what he gets up to, what he says and how he interacts with others when I’m not around. As adults, we only ever get little snippets into their world, and even then I often question how much of what he’s telling me actually did happen.
But having watched the documentary, I think I’m happier not knowing. As a researcher, it is fascinating to see how children learn as a result of their experiences, but up close and personal, children can be quite mean to one another. Words and actions that would probably upset me for a week are easily forgotten by them, and they quickly move on to the next challenge. Learning from friends and learning how to be a friend is really important, which is why I will leave my son to develop in his own world, in secret.
A large number of pre-school children regularly attend a childcare setting, away from their
parents. Two out of three 0-4 year olds do so (66%), rising to 91% among the oldest children (3-4).
All 3-4 year olds in England are entitled to 570 hours of free early education or childcare a year – this is often taken as 15 hours each week, for 38 weeks of the year (term times). Some 2 year olds are also eligible.
From the CHILDWISE MONITOR PRE-SCHOOL REPORT 2014 - available now