Tuesday 15 March 2022

The importance of Pen Green Centre for Children and their Families

Pen Green Centre for Children and their Families is facing the fight of its life. It's vital we all step in with our support. 

You may have seen the news that the centre is facing a huge cut in its funding. Lots of organisations are on the ropes and other Children's Centres have closed down all around the country. The other nursery schools around Pen Green desperately need extra funding, too. 

So, why does Pen Green matter?

Firstly, because Pen Green stands for something very special. We're always hearing about the deficits in children and families - what children can't do, or all about the latest programme to 'fix things'. Pen Green stands for a different tradition. It's about community development: celebrating and building on the strengths of children, their families, and their communities. We need that voice. 

Secondly, because Pen Green is a world-famous centre of excellence. We should be proud that we have this centre in England, that's celebrated all over the world. We should also be under no illusions. If a centre with this history, reputation and strength can be threatened and undermined, no nursery school is safe, anywhere. 

Lastly, beware the argument that's being made. Others need a share of this funding, so it's only fair to cut Pen Green back. That's an argument which opens a dangerous door a bit wider, letting in a very chill wind of hardship and destruction. 

We know how much love and support centres like Pen Green generate in their communities. I wouldn't put a price on that myself. But if you would like the economics, then Nobel Laureate James Heckman can offer plenty of evidence that 'skills developed through quality early childhood education last for a lifetime'. Centres like Pen Green are a great investment

Fight for the other nursery schools and early years providers around Pen Green to get fair funding because they matter, too. Don't pitch them against each other in a zero-sum game. 

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