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Theories and Approaches to Learning in the Early Years

Theories and Approaches to Learning in the Early Years

Edited by:

December 2010 | 192 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

By focusing on key figures in early years education and care, this book considers the influential thinkers and ground-breaking approaches that have revolutionized practice.

With contributions from the leading authorities and researchers in the field, chapters provide an explanation of the approach, an analysis of the theoretical background, case studies from practice and questions and discussion points to facilitate critical thinking.

Included are chapters on:

  • Froebel
  • Psychoanalytical theories of educating and caring for young children
  • Maria Montessori
  • Steiner Waldorf education
  • High/Scope
  • Post-modern and post-structuralist perspectives
  • The role of the creative arts
  • Forest Schools
  • Vivian Gussin Paley
  • Te Whariki

Written in an accessible style and relevant to all levels of early years courses, from undergraduate to graduate degrees, the book asks the reader to engage with debates and to develop their own views and opinions. With staggered levels of further reading, the editors and contributors provide a rich source of material that encourages reflection and promotes progression.

Linda Miller and Linda Pound
Taking a Critical Perspective
Julia Manning-Morton
Not Just the Tip of the Iceberg: Psychoanalytic Ideas and Early Years Practice
Deborah Albon
Postmodern and Post-Structuralist Perspectives on Early Childhood Education
Tina Bruce
Froebel Today
Martin Bradley et al
Maria Montessori in the United Kingdom: 100 Years on
Jill Tina Taplin
Steiner Waldorf Early Childhood Education: Offering a Curriculum for the 21st Century
Ann S Epstein, Serena Johnson and Pam Lafferty
The High-Scope Approach
Trisha Lee
The Wisdom of Vivian Gussin Paley
Sarah Blackwell and Linda Pound
Forest Schools in the Early Years
Anne B Smith
Relationships with People, Places and Things: Te Whãriki
Linda Pound and Linda Miller
Critical Issues

'This admirable book covers key historical and contemporary theories which underlie different approaches to Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC). The authors have devised an excellent format which locates approaches to practice in a clear theoretical framework and also invites practitioners to engage in critical reflection, to develop their own distinct practices. This is a much needed strategy in a field where practitioners have often lacked the critical edge which could put them in the driving seat of their own practice. Thus, the inclusion of critique at the end of every chapter allows the reader to take a measured look at the often persuasive but subtly different approaches that ECEC has advocated' -
Journal of Early Childhood Research

'Critical thinkers, concerned with influencing critical issues, such as so-called ‘schoolification’ and ‘school-readiness’ will appreciate in this book the pivotal positioning of learning through play. In the final chapter the editors reiterate the importance of play in theories of early childhood learning and challenge current political trends towards the ‘schoolification’ of learning in the early years' -

As today’s graduates become the leadership and management of tomorrow’s world of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) they are well advised to proceed to the book store for their own copy of ‘Theories and Approaches to Learning in the Early Years’.

'Some very complex theories are presented in a refreshingly accessible and highly reader friendly way in this fairly academic text...The discussion points in each chapter are particularly helpful in supporting and facilitating critical thinking, whether you are starting out in early education studies, or keeping up-to-date with the latest thinking' -
Early Years Educator

'This is a well-organised and timely overview of the ‘big picture’ in Early Childhood Education and Care theory and practice, written by champions in their fields, highly accessible and offering real food for thought in beginning to inter-connect the complexities of ECEC. An excellent introductory text ' -
Pat Broadhead, Professor of Playful Learning and Leeds Metropolitan University and Chair of TACTYC

'The authors are to be congratulated on presenting complex theories in a highly accessible form. Early childhood students and practitioners will find this an invaluable introduction to the wide range of theories underpinning research and practice in the field' -
Sue Rogers, Head of Department Learning, Curriculum and Communication, Faculty of Children and Learning, Institute of Education

Sue Rogers, Head of Department Learning, Curriculum and Communication, Faculty of Children and Learning, Institute of Education

This text offers an excellent range of insights into current issues of how learning is viewed within the early years, embracing multiple perspectives and of real interest to students and fellow lecturers alike.

Mrs Sally Tazewell
Dept of Care and Early Years, auckland university of technology
June 13, 2022

A good resource which gives the student necessary information to support learning

Ms liz major
Health Education and Care Department, West Herts College
February 17, 2020

Relevant information for today's practitioners

Ms liz major
Early Years Department, West Herts College
October 19, 2016

A textbook which will provide invaluable for the learners. It offers a range of insightful perspectives around key thinkers and theorists and their influence on learning in the early years.

Miss Nicola Jane dos Santos
Health & Social Care, Tresham Institute
August 19, 2016

The key theories that have been focused on are a valuable introduction to Early childhood students and practitioners.

Mrs Karen Fullman
Human and Physical Sciences, South Thames College
October 22, 2015

Very useful will recommend to team.

Mrs Danae Copley
Central Bedfordshire College, Central Bedfordshire College
November 6, 2015

The Theories and Approaches to Learning in the Early Years is an easily read and understood academic resource. Students can match the theory to practice

Mrs Helen Veronica McLaughlin
Early Childhood Education Department, Stranmillis University College
September 30, 2015

Professionals working in the world of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) are advised engage with this highly recommended text. Discussion points facilitate critical thinking and complex theories are presented in a very accessible and reader friendly way.

Mrs Sharon Angeletta Colilles
Carnegie Faculty of Sports & Education, Leeds Beckett University
August 21, 2015

Links perfectly into module - Pedagogy in the Early Years

Miss Emma Louise Clegg
Childcare, Darlington College
August 17, 2015

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1: Taking a Critical Perspective