Motherhood Around the World

Image: Mother and child in Sweden, ready for winter?

Joanna Goddard’s U.S. on-line journal, A Cup of Jo, has been publishing a series of articles in recent years about motherhood and parenting across the world. You can find the collection here.

There are some surprises in store. What has amazed us, reading the collection of articles, is the wide variety of rules and regulations, benefits and opportunities, as well as the universal nature of care for children, expressed in the detail of the articles. The latter not a surprise.

The context for the articles, in our times of benefit cuts, constrained resources and political alienation, is that there exists a variety of models for parenting and parenting support. They depend on the socio-cultural norms of the country under examination. They depend on the economic ‘depth’ of the country too. They all depend on that universality of love that parents offer.

The article we liked the most, 14 Surprising Things About Parenting in Sweden, features parents and child, originally from the USA and Brazil, declaring their experiences of life in Sweden.

Cultural norms in Sweden are different. For example, leaving your child, heavily swaddled, out of doors in the midst of a Nordic winter takes courage. However, parents are given 480 days of paid leave, post arrival of a child, with 90 of them dedicated to the father.

Childcare costs cannot exceed $150 a month, and we got very excited for parents reading about Vabbing – the principle of the state paying salaries when you have to stay off work to care for sick children.

We also liked the Law of Jante, another cultural principle really, that insists ‘…that one individual is not more special than any other, and you’re not to behave as if you are‘. A great pre-cursor for enhancing social equality? Although we recognise that in some acquisitive cultures this lack of focus on success and ‘high performance’ might jar with some parents.

pippi longstocking cover image
Review or pruchase this book from Amazon.co.uk…

As booksellers we were truly delighted to read that Pipi Longstocking and Alfie Atkins are as popular as ever with Swedish children. Who could guess?

Dipping into the article series on the ‘motherhood’ pages of A Cup of Jo is an uplifting experience, particularly in the midst of a grey English winter. It also shows that with all the pressures of parenthood you are not alone and that there is always a different, even better way, to do things too.

Motherhood Around The World – we recommend it.

smpPlainButton


  • News and fresh thinking from SmithMartin Partnership LLP
    We are always happy to explore new partnerships and projects in our core expertise areas - childcare, early years, education, charities, social business, governance, fund raising, literacy, books and web communications to support the work across all sectors.

    Email office@smithmartinpartnership.com for an exploratory review...

  • Institute of Education Research Findings:
    Pre-School Childcare

    Library CH 005Provision and use of Pre-School childcare in Britain.


    Key Research Findings Seminar at Institute of Education, Thomas Coram Research Unit, UCL, London.
    July 24th 2015

    The research was undertaken with the aim of understanding childcare provision and usage in Britain, with the view to contribute to policy development.

    An engaging debate was held at the seminar at UCL, in the midst of the graduation ceremonies. It sparked much conversation and thought about issues of childcare, work force, viability, education and childcare.

    The research titled, ‘Provision and use of Pre-School childcare in Britain’, a secondary analysis of childcare using large-scale national datasets, published on 24th July by the UCL Institute of Education (IOE), warns of the possibility of a shortage in the childcare work force.

    Chairing the seminar was Emeritus Professor of Education, Peter Moss and research summaries were given by Antonia Simon and Charlie Owen, with a panel including Jill Rutter, Family and Childcare Trust, Claire Schofield, National Day Nurseries, and Neil Leitch, Pre school Learning Alliance.

    It appears that in 2015, the sector has developed considerably in some ways but there are glaring inadequacies which are preventing Early Childhood Services moving into a world class provision, a previous goal. Professor Moss indicated that the work force remains poorly paid, access needs improving , and we currently have strong central control with a fragmented system of provision and delivery.

    The research on the work force was led by Antonia Simon and will be available on a new website at beginning of August.

    Key findings were; that the work force is strongly gendered, 98% are female, qualifications have increased but pay is persistently low. It was interesting the educational qualifications of mothers had the most beneficial aspect to enable young children to access good quality childcare, both in amount and type.

    For the majority of parents, the access to different types of childcare, was important, and a combined use of formal and informal provision was the most normal pattern.

    The debate from the attendees and panel raised some fascinating questions and created a consensus that this debate and research would be a very useful if our forward to the DFE.

    The Early Years Sector has had a considerable degree of travel over the last decade and it would seem that there is still much room for development to allow a system which delivers quality provision and universal accessibility, indeed a world class provision.

    ‘We have a system which is creaking at the seams. We need to make changes rather than add on more to a ramshackle approach’. Professor Peter Moss

    Sue Martin FRSA
    Consultant in Early Years Childhood Services
    SmithMartin Partnership LLP


  • News and fresh thinking from SmithMartin Partnership LLP
    We are always happy to explore new partnerships and projects in our core expertise areas - childcare, early years, education, charities, social business, governance, fund raising, literacy, books and web communications to support the work across all sectors.

    Email office@smithmartinpartnership.com for an exploratory review...

  • Brent Parent Champions

    Mariya collects her Parent Champions certificate - image
    Success!

    Very close to Wembley Stadium is Brent Civic Centre. It really is an impressive council building and hosts a broad array of services, with the focus clearly on community and diversity.

    Wembley library is part of the ground floor and a famous supermarket store is also easily accessible.

    We worked with council officer, Andrea Lagos, and through the Family and Childcare Trust, the Parent Champions programme, to deliver our training and support to those attending the sessions.

    At the end of the second day, Mariya, see above, and fifteen other new Parent Champions received certificates. Proud to be going out into the community to let other parents and families know about a whole range of services that are available for free for families with young children.

    In Brent there is also a focus on Health. A new programme was discussed to help support families when they need health advice, without going straight to A & E. Radhikah Howarth, also with FCT, talked to the Parent Champions about new schemes that will help.

    From the previous training last year there have been a record number of parents contacted and more and more information is now available to support parents and families.

    Image 2

    A great scheme, a great place and Smith Martin Partnership are pleased to deliver the training.

    Sue Martin

    SmithMartin Partnership LLP – working with communities


  • News and fresh thinking from SmithMartin Partnership LLP
    We are always happy to explore new partnerships and projects in our core expertise areas - childcare, early years, education, charities, social business, governance, fund raising, literacy, books and web communications to support the work across all sectors.

    Email office@smithmartinpartnership.com for an exploratory review...

  • Increase in childcare entitlement from 15 – 30 hours per week.

    Image 1Children and Young People Now have published the latest from the government in doubling free universal childcare entitlement.

    The government is to fast-track legislation to double free universal childcare entitlement to 30 hours a week. David Cameron says one of the first things his government will do is legislate to increase childcare provision.


    In a speech in Stockton-on-Tees yesterday Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed that the Conservative Party’s manifesto commitment to expand the free entitlement to early education from 15 hours a week to 30 hours a week, will be included in the Queen’s Speech this month.

    He said: “One of the first things we are going to do is to make sure that we legislate to help with childcare.

    “I think for so many families in our country it’s absolutely essential that they get that help with childcare, so that people who want to work and want to work more hours or longer shifts, or more shifts to bring home more money, are able to do that.” ‘

    SmithMartin Partnership – working to achieve good quality childcare.


  • News and fresh thinking from SmithMartin Partnership LLP
    We are always happy to explore new partnerships and projects in our core expertise areas - childcare, early years, education, charities, social business, governance, fund raising, literacy, books and web communications to support the work across all sectors.

    Email office@smithmartinpartnership.com for an exploratory review...

  • Parent Champions’ Training for Family and Childcare Trust

    IMG 1794

    Parent Champions’ is a volunteering project established by the Family and Childcare Trust and has become hugely successful in the last seven years.

     

    As one of their trainers for the project I have been in Newham on a cold Friday in February at the Little Sheringham Children’s Centre to work with a group of volunteers who will make contact with parents in the community and provide them with the way to find out information.

    ‘Parent volunteers who spend a few hours a week linking with other parents, to tell them about local childcare and other family services. Being parents, they can chat in a more informal way and share information and their own positive experiences about using local services. They meet parents in all sorts of places such as playgrounds, markets, libraries and local play groups. They are supported by the local authority, a children’s centre or a local community organisation.’ Family and Childcare Trust website.

    Based on the premise that ‘ word of mouth’ is a good way to spread information, this project has proved that it does two things really well; one is to let people know what is possible for the their family, and two, to realise potential in the volunteers themselves as they gain in confidence and in skills.

    .IMG 1793

    As I was about to leave the training in Newham, Stephen Timms, the MP for Newham walked in to the centre. A real accolade for Children’s Centres being at the heart of the community

     

    Sue Martin SmithMartin Partnership LLP- Bringing a light into communities.

    Alison McGovern,
    new Shadow Childcare Minister

    Image 7
    Image: Alison McGovern

    Alison McGovern has been appointed as the new shadow childcare minister.

    She replaces Manchester Central MP Lucy Powell, appointed to the shadow early years brief in October 2013, has led Labour’s campaigns over the past year against cuts to children’s centres and the shortage of free childcare places.

    She lists her parliamentary interests as international development, work and pensions, business innovation and skills, health, Treasury, Nigeria, older people’s health services, conditions of employment, supermarkets, and developing countries.

    Most of Alison’s parliamentary business has involved issues on international development and social care for adults, although she has asked questions on school meals, youth unemployment and learning disability education.

    It will be good to have a new perspective on childcare and we look forward to hearing more from Alison.
    See more at: CYP NOW

    SmithMartin Partnership LLP – childcare and early years sector


  • News and fresh thinking from SmithMartin Partnership LLP
    We are always happy to explore new partnerships and projects in our core expertise areas - childcare, early years, education, charities, social business, governance, fund raising, literacy, books and web communications to support the work across all sectors.

    Email office@smithmartinpartnership.com for an exploratory review...

  • 2 year olds… Are we ready?

    1Free Entitlement for 2 Year Olds

    From September 2014 the number of 2 year old children being able to access funded places increases to 40% , reaching out to those who are most in need. They will be able to access up to 570 hours over the course of the year of free early education and care.

    Much is talked about ‘school readiness’ and there is a growing feeling which wonders if schools are ready for 2 year olds?

    Our partnership offers support and guidance to providers. Our professionalism in Early Years can bring a pragmatic perspective and creative pedagogic approach to 2 year olds.

    There is a large amount of research, including the EPPE project which identifies the importance of quality education and care at an early age. This is the parameter on which this project is founded, and the intention for children is to help ‘narrow the gap’ between the more and less advantaged children in our society.

    Children will receive more support on social skills, communication and speech development and in areas of personal, social and emotional care and learning, which will forge strong foundations for future learning.

    SmithMartin - community and education project development...
    Contact direct – suemartin@smithmartinpartnership.com.


  • News and fresh thinking from SmithMartin Partnership LLP
    We are always happy to explore new partnerships and projects in our core expertise areas - childcare, early years, education, charities, social business, governance, fund raising, literacy, books and web communications to support the work across all sectors.

    Email office@smithmartinpartnership.com for an exploratory review...

  • Free childcare offer for 2 year olds

    playFamily and Childcare Trust has released details from recent research which shows that thousands of two year olds in England may be missing out in the free entitlement to childcare.

    The programme to give 40 per cent of England’s most deprived children high quality early education by September 2014 has not met its target. While 74 per cent of these children have been placed in nurseries and with childminders, there are big differences between local authorities in the proportions of children receiving free early education.

    In London just 51 per cent of eligible children had been placed by November 2013. There are 37 local authorities where less than 60 per cent of eligible two-year-olds had been placed by November 2014, of which 25 were in London.

    Anand Shukla, chief executive at the Family and Childcare Trust said: “This flagship policy is vital to the long-term outcomes of England’s most disadvantaged two-year-olds and to close the attainment gap between more advantaged and disadvantaged children.

    “We know this is a challenging ask but local authorities must deliver on this policy. They need to make sure that local children’s centres are fully utilised and funded to provide the necessary places for the two-year-olds who are missing out. They also need to take advantage of the time-limited offer of grants and other support available to them from central government to expand provision.”

    Much work to be done to ensure that parents can access childcare for two year olds, and have a reasonable choice giving quality childcare.

    Sue Martin

    SmithMartin Partnership LLP – working with the Early Years Agenda

    Enhanced by Zemanta

  • News and fresh thinking from SmithMartin Partnership LLP
    We are always happy to explore new partnerships and projects in our core expertise areas - childcare, early years, education, charities, social business, governance, fund raising, literacy, books and web communications to support the work across all sectors.

    Email office@smithmartinpartnership.com for an exploratory review...

  • Happy Christmas

    Chr card 2013


  • News and fresh thinking from SmithMartin Partnership LLP
    We are always happy to explore new partnerships and projects in our core expertise areas - childcare, early years, education, charities, social business, governance, fund raising, literacy, books and web communications to support the work across all sectors.

    Email office@smithmartinpartnership.com for an exploratory review...

  • Child Rights Partners

    Image 2‘Children and young people are to be involved in designing and delivering services aimed at them through a partnership between Unicef UK and six local authorities.’

    Children and Young People Now, reported this initiative between Unicef and six councils across England. A ray of light for young people and a way to enable their voice to be heard.

    The Child Rights Partners project aims to put child rights at the heart of public services and will prioritise improving services for the most vulnerable children, including those living in care, living in poverty and young people affected by drug and alcohol misuse.

    Over three years, the six councils spread across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will work with young people to tackle different problems.

    These include:

    • Tower Hamlets will involve young people in designing substance misuse services
    • Derry will focus on arts, sports and positive play
    • Glasgow will focus on two service areas: developing a rights-based approach to services for care-leavers and early years
    • Leeds will improve service provision for looked-after children, ensuring that their entire journey through the social care system is rights-based.
    • Neath and Port Talbot will focus on vulnerable families where the parents have drugs and alcohol, domestic violence and mental health issues.
    • Newcastle will adopt a rights-based approach to tackling child poverty.

    David Bull, executive director of Unicef UK, said: “Public services have sometimes failed children and young people by not listening to their opinions and needs, so we welcome the opportunity to work in partnership with these pioneering local authorities.’

    Article taken from Children and Young People Now 20.11.13

    Sue Martin

    SmithMartin Partnership LLP – bringing communities together.

    Enhanced by Zemanta

  • News and fresh thinking from SmithMartin Partnership LLP
    We are always happy to explore new partnerships and projects in our core expertise areas - childcare, early years, education, charities, social business, governance, fund raising, literacy, books and web communications to support the work across all sectors.

    Email office@smithmartinpartnership.com for an exploratory review...