Join BrewEY and build the early years grassroots movement

Friday, October 11, 2019

The grassroots movement is when the ordinary people get together and use collective action from the local level to affect change at the local, regional, national or international level.

In the early years, we are marginalised within the education establishment. To get real engagement we need to build and use a collective power to make the changes needed to ensure that all children have access to high quality early years education.

The Ofsted Big Conversation #OBC is a grassroots movement to improve the relationship with Ofsted by re-balancing the power dynamic. The idea, once sown, was taken up across the country by members of the early years sector, many of whom confessed to me that they had never got involved in anything "like that before". But it has made a difference and we have seen a much better relationship emerging. It's alive and kicking - just this weekend, the inimitable Jennie Johnson and Jo Kinloch organised the #NWOBC in Bolton and 715 people attended.

Of course they made a good decision by inviting the very lively Alice Sharp to bring a rallying call.

The latest strand of the early years grassroots movement started in Twickenham when Simona McKenzie organised the first two #BrewEY meetings. I had the pleasure of speaking at the first one and it was a very comfortable experience. I had to come because it was held at the Alexader Pope pub; a poet I know a lot about because my husband wrote a book about him for pleasure!

Simona created the BrewEY from the original BrewED set up by Daryn Egan-Simon and Ed Finch. They wanted small meetings of educators meeting other educators to talk about education over a drink. (This is different to drowning your sorrows after a terrible day in education). They are low key events which can be easily replicated.

Simona has been on to me not just to attend but to organise a BrewEY.  So, Dawn Nasser and I have organised one for everyone in South London. We want to talk about pedagogy. What does this mean? What is the difference between pedagogies; for example the LEYF social pedagogy and the Montessori model? How does a forest school develop its own pedagogy? What are the central tenets of pedagogy? Of course, what we hope is to broaden the conversation and talk about all things early years that are a challenge and a joy at the moment.

The ultimate goal is that we all leave having enjoyed tea and cake and  lots of chat. We are also inviting those early years bods who fancy becoming a mixologist. Yes, because it's a Sunday afternoon we will offer cocktails. We think its time for a pedagogy cocktail? Move over Pina Colada.

June O'Sullivan is chief executive of London Early Years Foundation. This blog first appeared on the LEYF website