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Learning Theories for Early Years Practice

Learning Theories for Early Years Practice

Second Edition

May 2022 | 152 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

The perfect guide for students who need to get to grips with learning theories and how they relate to the  early years, this book covers Early and Modern theorists and their theories, and how they apply today. Bursting with full colour photographs, case studies, activities and discussion points, each chapter explores the theorist and the theory; what the theory looks like in practice; the strengths and weaknesses of each theory; and its links to other theorists.

This new edition includes:

  • Three new chapters on Bowlby, Dweck and Claxton

  • New reflective activities

  • New critical questions following the case studies


Part I: Early Influences
John Locke and the Emergence of Empiricism
Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the Concept of ‘Child’
Johann Pestalozzi and the Importance of Nature
Friedrich Froebel and the Importance of Play
Rachel and Margaret McMillan and Social Reform
The Psychodynamic Tradition
Rudolf Steiner and the Changing Needs of Children
Maria Montessori: The Environment and Learning
Part II: Modern Influences
John Dewey and Child-centred Education
Burrhus Skinner and the Behaviourists
Jean Piaget: An Enduring Legacy
Lev Vygotsky: Learning and Social Constructivism
John Bowlby and Early Attachment
ChaAlbert Bandura and Social Learning Theory
Urie Bronfenbrenner: Learning in the Wider Context
Jerome Bruner and Constructivism
Howard Gardner and Theories of Multiple Intelligence
Reuven Feuerstein and Instrumental Enrichment
Nel Noddings and the Ethics of Care
Te Whariki
Loris Malaguzzi and Reggio Emilia
Carol Dweck and Children’s Mindsets
Guy Claxton: Building Learning Power
Part III: Challenges for Theorists in a Changing World
The Realities of Childhood Today
Emotional Intelligence
How Children Play
Learning and the Brain
The Emergence of Digital Learning

really straightforward theory at an academic level. Greta for fans of Practical Preschool books who need a more academic approach

Mrs Caroline Marshall
Early Years, Gloucestershire College
August 22, 2022

Clear summaries of a range of learning theories. An engaging book for Level 3 students with photographs to illustrate the points being made.

Ms Sharon Vince
Education, University of West London
October 23, 2022

Very useful for an overview of specific learning theories when looking at early years practice.

Mrs Charlotte Armitage
Education, Early Years & Teaching, Bradford College
February 7, 2023

I have requested copies of this for our course, this is one of the best read towards theoretical concepts that students will understand if new to theroy and explains the theorist in depth.

Mrs karen Cooke
Sport and Public Services, The Manchester College
August 31, 2022

Level 4 good support for Theories and supporting curriculum

Mrs Jane Joyce
AHed, Peter Symond's College
July 6, 2022

Concise and easy to follow.

Mrs Karen A Sullivan King
Early Years, East Coast College (Great Yarmouth)
August 18, 2022

Upon inspection, we found that the book is too basic for the level of our classes. This is a good introduction for the topic, but the level of discussion in the classroom is deeper than this.

Dr Chrysogonus Siddha Malilang
Faculty of Education & Society, Malmo University
February 18, 2022

A superb update to a very popular resource. This books covers an extensive range of learning theories in sufficient detail to guide students in developing their knowledge.

Miss Louise Stafford
Department of Education, Oxford Brookes University
March 10, 2022
  • The theorist
  • Key publication
  • Understanding the theory
  • What the theory looks like in practice
  • Case studies
  • Strength and weaknesses of the theory
  • Link to other theories
  • Critical questions
  • Activities and points for discussion
  • Extended and recommended reading
  • References


For instructors

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