A London council is using toddlers’ drawings to assess nurseries, reports the Telegraph.
Children are being asked to draw how they feel when at nursery and the artwork is then sent to experts to be analysed. It is part of a drive to consult the end users and beneficiaries of services – in this case, it is nursery-aged children.
Some parents question the value of the approach, including Gavin Ames, a schoolteacher and dad to 3-year-old Freddie. Gavin received a letter from Freddie’s nursery about the ‘Childcare Sufficiency Assessment’.
“To ask 3-year-olds to draw how they feel while in a particular place does seem to be a rather abstract concept for someone who can struggle with counting to 10,” said dad Gavin.
“His artistic style may kindly be described as ‘scribbling.’ I imagined my son making some incisive points as part of a focus group helping the nursery to improve its provision of sandpit toys and suggesting safer practices for all glue-related activities.
“All I could see was the taxpayers’ meter running while all this nonsense went on,” Gavin commented.
Local authorities need to carry out a childcare sufficiency assessment every three years. Legislation bought in under the Childcare Act 2006 requires them to consult service users.
So far, 82 pictures have been submitted, and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead said it was a voluntary exercise with minimal costs.
“Children aged 3 and 4 are highly capable of expressing valid, well-constructed views and opinions and they are able to explain, with clarity, the subject of their drawings, even given that these may look like scribbles to the adult eye,” said a spokesman for the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.