British children show aspiration as young as 5


British children start showing aspiration by the age of five, according to new statistics released by the National Childminding Association to launch National Childminding Week.

More than one in four parents (26 per cent) say their children showed signs of what they wanted to be when they grow up by the age of five, with around half of parents saying they did so by the age of nine. 

The research shows that most children’s life chances are set out by time they reach the age of five.

NCMA is now calling for the Government to invest the same proportion of its funding in the early years as it does for primary and secondary education.

Susanna Dawson, NCMA Chair and a registered childminder, said: “These findings show that children are already making plans for their future at a very young age, and supporting early years professionals to help children explore these could have an important impact on where they end up in life.

“A strong early years education means children are more likely to perform better at later levels of their education.  It’s vital that the Government harnesses the potential of the early years by ensuring this crucial stage gets its fair slice of the budget.” 

Professor Tanya Byron said: “It is essential that early years professionals build a strong relationship with parents, so that children’s hopes and dreams can be reinforced in their home environment.

“Kids have a strong sense of identity early on in life, and if we wait until they are teenagers to start nurturing their ambitions and career prospects then it might be too late.”

The NCMA survey also reveals that:

  • Children’s role models are closest to home, with parents most likely to rank themselves as their child’s role model (38 per cent), followed by teachers (20 per cent) and sportspeople (17 per cent)
  • Parents continue to be an important role model throughout childhood, compared to other role models that tend to vary according to a child’s age.  Younger children draw on cartoon and story book characters, whereas older children were more likely to admire sportspeople.