If it’s nearly Christmas, it must be time for the annual round-up of major developments and new research published in the children’s sector during the last year. After all, you might have missed some of these the first time round…

The one thing that all practitioners and students can’t have missed was the introduction of the new EYFS in September. You can get quick links to the new EYFS and supporting documentation from this previous post, while the recent release of the new Profile Handbook and further materials are dealt with here. On a similar note, at the same time a new set of EYPS standards were introduced for those hoping to achieve the status.

The other large story of the year was the Nutbrown Review, which investigated the current system of early education and childcare qualifications. You can read the final report and other supporting documents from this link.

Annual reports from well known organisations are also a handy way of gauging current issues surrounding the sector. Some of the most useful ones from this year include the Childcare and Early Years Providers Survey and the Ofsted Annual Report, while for a more international flavour try UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children 2012 or the OECD’s Education at a Glance.

A few themes seemed to emerge when looking back at publications from the last year: certainly the cost of childcare for families was discussed in a number of reports by different organisations, such as the Resolution Foundation's Counting the Costs of Childcare, CPAG's The Cost of a Child in the Twenty-First Century, and the Family & Parenting Institute's Families on the FrontLine.

Linked to this is the never ending stream of reports into child poverty – just a few that were published this year were Save the Children’s It Shouldn’t Happen Here, CPAG’s Ending Child Poverty by 2020, and UNICEF’s Measuring Child Poverty, which compared the situation in the UK with other developed nations.

Another theme was the growing interest in outdoor play and the benefits which this can have for children. In March the National Trust’s Natural Childhood report made a big contribution to this debate, or you can read this previous post from September which provides links to plenty of the recent research in this area.

And a personal selection of interesting / useful stories and publications from the last year… Back in January the Children’s Society published the Good Childhood Report 2012; in June the Save Childhood movement was launched; also in June the Starting Well: Benchmarking Early Education Across the World report was published; and November saw the publication of Men Working in Childcare, a useful contribution to a topic about which I get a lot of enquiries.

A bit more? For research ideas you could do a lot worse than look at Education on the Web, an excellent research guide from the NFER. Or you could look at this post on Open Access Research for Childhood / Education, which has attracted a lot of site visitors from search engines in recent months. Or you could look at Social Bookmarking: an Essential Tool for Dissertation Students, an article published on Kathy Brodie’s website back in June (you may recognise the author!).

If there’s anything significant from the last 12 months that you think I’ve missed, do leave a comment below to let other site users know about it. If you’re a regular visitor here you’ll know I’m a fan of archive films, so get in the festive spirit by enjoying the short clip below from 1946, which includes sleeping children, toys that come alive, and… oh, just watch it! Merry Christmas…


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