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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 text is excellent for students on a range of Early Childhood programmes from foundation degree to MA level for some aspects of reflection and critical thinking.
The strength of the text is that it is edited with many voices and contemporary perspectives. The golden thread that runs through the text is the critical and reflective elements for each section.The text helps readers to think through rather than how to do.

Dr Estelle Martin
School of Education, University of East London
May 12, 2015

Students need to understand how the the formative years impact on the adult behaviours and experiences which additionally impacts on the Communities. There is a very good section relating to reflective practice that students will find beneficial

Pat Hosgood
Faculty of Health & Social Care, Edge Hill University
September 25, 2015

Great text for first years to Early Childhood Studies learning how to reflect critically on issues

Mrs Nicola Demetriadi
Childhood Studies : Early Years, Chichester University
August 10, 2015

Reiterates to second year students the need to reflect critically

Mrs Nicola Demetriadi
Childhood Studies : Early Years, Chichester University
August 10, 2015

I really enjoyed this book, as it is supportive of a range of subjects that I teach. I was really able to embed some of this knowledge within tutorial support sessions, such as critical thinking.

Miss Natalie Jane Gibson
School of Education, Blackburn College
December 2, 2015

This would be a useful addition to the reading list - especially for those trainees who have a subject specialism within the early years.

Mrs Gail Parker
SWWCTE, University of Wales, Trinity St David
May 6, 2015

A recommended read to my students who have found it useful in supporting their studies. The online resources are valuable too. Easy to navigate and locate information within the book, therefore student friendly.

Mrs Samantha Sutton-Tsang
Early Years, Stourbridge College
April 29, 2015

A valuable book to have on the shelf - particularly liked the companion site - such as good idea!

Mrs Michelle Rogers
Centre For Early Childhood, Worcester University
April 29, 2015

I am a contributor to this book, therefore I am declaring my bias. nevertheless, this book has been well-received by students.

Dr Jackie Musgrave
centre for early childhood, Worcester University
April 29, 2015

Very good source for Early Years Teacher Status students.

Mrs Janice Grinstead
School of Health , Natural & Social Science, Sunderland University
April 22, 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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