Luiza FredericoDesign Strategy & Innovation MA
Design and the Promotion of Emotional Literacy
London's pre-school education
We are living through a financial crisis in a multi-cultural society; with high living costs, poverty, low educational outcomes and anti- social behaviour. Soaring childcare costs are preventing parents from going to work. Children's experiences and development during their early years influence their basic learning, educational attainment, economic participation and health. There is, however, more emphasis (through Ofsted and the Early Years Foundation Stage in the UK) on academic development in early education than in emotional development which is considered a strong foundation for preparing children for school and life. The Department for Education's recent review on the Early Years education programme shows that social and emotional aspects of education should be emphasised. A lack of emotional development in early education can lead to anti-social behaviour and poor communication skills. This must be addressed in order to prepare children for a multi-cultural environment in an industrialised society. Antidote opines: 'Our school system was designed for a society that was relationship rich and information poor. To thrive in the very different circumstances of today, we need to develop schools that will nurture people's capacity to connect with each other'. Children would benefit from socio-emotional development from role models both at home and in early education. Childcare staff could build a strong relationship with both parents and the community to help increase inclusivity and support in the children's environment. Parents would have the oppotunity to participate within their child's education with the support of the healthcare provider. The community would have the ability to donate or be voluntarily engaged in local early years services, in activities such as sports, drama or arts and crafts. The government would benefit from greater community and local support which would put less pressure on public services. The return on public investment in high quality early years education can include a reduction of social problems and inequality and an increase in productivity and GDP growth. Design research methods such as ethnographic research, interviews and creative focus groups will allow for great insight into the early education programmes and collaboration from the most relevant people in this industry. Potential outcomes for this project include the changing perspectives of emotional literacy, children having the increased ability to manage and express emotions in a social context, environments and activities that promote the development of socio-emotional skills in children; and the increased involvement of both parents and the community providing support and creating a strong community bond.