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A Critical Companion to Early Childhood

A Critical Companion to Early Childhood

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November 2014 | 360 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

In this stimulating and provocative book the editors have drawn together a diverse and international range of respected authors, each of whom has taken a critical approach to the contentious question of how you define and achieve quality early childhood services. It is a book designed to provoke and promote critical dialogue and discourse amongst practitioners and students through critical engagement with the position of the authors within the text. I believe anyone who reads this book will be inspired and motivated to challenge and extend their thinking and professional practice, adopting the critical stance which lies at the heart of quality services for children and families.

Professor Chris Pascal, Director of Centre for Research in Early Childhood (CREC)

Early childhood is a complex and important area of study where it is important to develop your critical thinking and reflect upon key issues. This book will help do both. 

It explores interrelated topics such as:

  • Child development
  • Play
  • Safeguarding
  • Professionalism
  • Curriculum and Policy

Each chapter will not only engage with what you need to know but help you develop your academic skills.

The book also comes with lots of online resources and include:

  • Podcasts from the authors of each chapter so you can better understand the key concepts

  • PowerPoints to help you revise the essential information

  • Journal articles related to each chapter provide further reading

Michael Reed and Rosie Walker are both Senior Lecturers in Early Childhood at the Institute of Education, University of Worcester.


Michael Reed and Rosie Walker
Part I: Developing Critical Reflection
Michael Reed, Linda Tyler and Rosie Walker
Chapter 1: The Undergraduate Journey
Karen Hanson and Karen Appleby
Chapter 2: Reflective Practice
Sue Callan
Chapter 3: The Ethical Practitioner with Children and Families
Jennifer Worsley and Catherine Lamond
Chapter 4: Critical Thinking
Michelle Rogers
Chapter 5: ICT and Learning for Students: A New Way of Thinking
Michael Reed and Rosie Walker
Part II: The Developing Child
Mary Benson McMullen
Chapter 6: Deliberating on Practices with Young Children in the United States
Anna Popova
Chapter 7: 'Vygotsky Rocks!' An Argument That Helps Use Lev Vygotsky's Ideas in Early Years Practice
Jackie Musgrave
Chapter 8: The Developing Child: Some Critical Perspectives
Frances Brett
Chapter 9: Play and Creativity: How Important Is This in Terms of the Developing Child?
Anna Kilderry
Chapter 10: Repositioning Developmentalism
Michael Reed and Rosie Walker
Part III: Taking a Holistic View
Robin Balbernie
Chapter 11: Security and Attachment
Aline Wendy Dunlop
Chapter 12: Developing Child in Society: Making Transitions
Claire M Richards
Chapter 13: Taking a Holistic View: Critically Examining Complex Professional Issues
Caroline Jones
Chapter 14: The Language of Special Educational Needs: Learning from the Past to Build the Future
Erica Brown
Chapter 15: Supporting Children with Complex Health Needs and Life-Limiting Conditions and Their Families
Michael Reed and Rosie Walker
Part IV: Policy and Practice
Derval Carey-Jenkins
Chapter 16: Whose Curriculum Is It Anyway?
Sian Wyn Siencyn
Chapter 17: Approaches to the Early Years Curriculum: A Critical View from Wales
Martin Needham and Dianne Jackson
Chapter 18: Parental Involvement and Partnership with Parents: "T'ain't What You Do (It's the Way That You Do It)"
Josephine Bleach
Chapter 19: Supporting Parents
Sandra Hesterman
Chapter 20: Policy into Practice: Implementing the Early Years Learning Framework for Australia from a Western Australian Perspective
Michael Reed and Rosie Walker
Part V: Professional Roles and Responsibilities
Michael Gasper
Chapter 21: Professional Roles and Responsibilities: Professional Practice and Early Childhood Today
Alison Nicholls
Chapter 22: Integrated Working in Practice: Why Don't Professionals Talk to Each Other?
Victoria Cooper
Chapter 23: Children's Developing Identity
Alma Fleet
Chapter 24: Assessment: A Critical Companion to Early Childhood Pedagogy
Carla Solvason
Chapter 25: The Responsibility of the Practice-Based Researcher

This is a very good book for our students. It is applicable to much of the course modules they undertake.

Mrs Alicia James
Community Studies, Truro College
July 3, 2015

A well written and accessible read.

Mrs Shan Lockwood
Early Years, Craven College
June 25, 2015

A very relevant book, have requested our library to order copies

Mrs Fiona Routh
Health and Social Development, Burnley College
June 15, 2015

This book will be a recommended text for the students on the BA Programme. The easy reading style of the book will aid the students understanding of early childhood.

Mrs Alison Milner
HSCFL, South Devon College
June 15, 2015

Covers areas of childhood studies which are essential for learners to understand, written in an easy read style

Miss Karen Bezerra
Childcare Studies, Colege sir Gar
June 15, 2015

This is an extremely valuable book for my Foundation Degree in Early Year Students. It is easy to read, has a vast array of case studies and reflection points throughout each chapter to help students relate theory to practice.

This book can also be used throughout several of the modules as it covers key issues relating to reflection, the developing child, policy and practice and professional roles and responsibilities

Mr Denise Nannetti
Education (Stevenage), North Herts College
June 10, 2015

This book takes a thought-provoking look at contemporary issues relating to Early Childhood Studies. The text is accessible to the reader and the subheadings (often in the form of questions) structure the chapters clearly. The critical learning activities which can be found throughout the book encourage the reader to develop a reflective stance. The companion website is a fantastic resource.

Mrs Suzi Smale
Early Years, Petroc
May 27, 2015

Interesting and factual read

Miss Nicola Slinger
Dept of Health & Social Development, Burnley College
May 21, 2015

It will be useful to see which students engage well with this text - it is essential that we develop free and versatile thinkers who will venture out into childcare and education settings. A very interesting and quite unique text.

Mrs Sarah Barton
School of Education, Portsmouth University
May 19, 2015

I will recommend that students purchase a copy of this because it will not only support their studies in the first year of their degree but will also be important and relevant throughout the units they will be studying as they continue on their journey to achieve their degree.

Dr Gina Sherwood
School of Education & Continuing Stud, Portsmouth University
May 13, 2015

Sample Materials & Chapters

Ch 1. The Undergraduate Journey

Michael Reed

Michael Reed is a Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Early Childhood, within the Institute of Education at the University of Worcester. He teaches on undergraduate and postgraduate courses related to child development, practice based research and leadership.  He is a qualified teacher and hold advanced qualifications in Educational Inquiry, Educational Psychology and Special Education.  He was a member of course development and writing teams at the Open University and an experienced author. He has a particular interest in practice based inquiry and research evaluating ways to improve quality in practice. He has co-edited a number... More About Author

Rosie Walker

Rosie Walker coordinates a Foundation Degree with seven partner institutions. She is a Senior Lecturer within the Centre for Early Childhood, within the Institute of Education at the University of Worcester. She has supervised many research projects with Foundation Degree, BA and Top up students as well as at Masters level and is responsible for managing student practice based experience. She has published book chapters, co-authored  a textbook exploring practice based research as well as journal articles. Professionally, she has managed two large children’s centres and is a qualified Social Worker. She has worked in a variety of... More About Author

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ISBN: 9781446259276
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