Effective Early Years Education: Teaching Young Children

Effective Early Years Education: Teaching Young Children

Effective Early Years Education: Teaching Young Children

Effective Early Years Education: Teaching Young Children


In this concise and accessible guide, the authors are sympathetic to the particular demands of teaching three to eight year olds and offer practical solutions to the complex issues that are currently faced by early years educators. In recognizing the demands on practitioners, they provide new and challenging frameworks for an understanding of the practice of teaching young children and draw upon international research to offer a sound model of early years subject-structured teaching which has the quality of children's learning at its centre. Their aim is to support teacher expertise through stimulating teachers' thinking about children's development, motivation, ways of learning and the subjects they teach. These topics are clearly set in the complex institutional settings in which practitioners work and ways of taking and evaluating action are offered.


Much good work has been done on early years education, so why did we want to add to it? The national curriculum was a catalyst, since it redefined the content of infant education and showed signs of influencing the education of the under-fives. On that ground alone, we saw that earlier books needed to be supplanted by something that had the national curriculum very much in mind.

We also noticed the growing concern that too few of our underfives received educational provision, leading the National Commission on Education to call for universal nursery provision and, belatedly, to the government agreeing to the principle. We doubt whether it will be sufficient to provide more places for young children. If early years education is to live up to the startlingiy bold claims that have been made for it, then we are convinced that serious attention needs to be given to the curriculum, as well as to providing more places,

We feel that this is, then, a timely point at which to re-examine a raft of assumptions about effective early years education. Too often, it seems, talk of 'effective education' has failed to ask 'effective at what?' Likewise, ideas about 'good practice' seem to have gone largely unscrutinized, This book addresses these issues.

The book has been a joint venture, with each author's drafts being subject to detailed scrutiny and redrafting. However, Anne Edwards took the lead on Chapters 1-3, 6 and 7, We each wrote half of Chapter 4 and Peter Knight took the lead on the other chapters. Our thanks to Christine Armstrongs who typed about half of the manuscript.

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