You are here

Delays in shipping: Due to current delays in our warehouse shipping services, please expect longer than usual delivery times for any print book and journal orders. If you need access to content immediately, please consider ordering a digital product. We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience.

If you need further assistance please visit our Contact us page for further information. 

Contemporary Childhood

Contemporary Childhood

First Edition
Additional resources:

April 2017 | 256 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Contemporary Childhood brings readers up-to-date with the latest developments and keys issues from around the globe and explains how these changes are impacting on practice in early years and primary classrooms.

Key issues in contemporary childhood are explored through three sections on The Child, The Family, and Emerging Trends, with topics including:

  • the "Digital Child" and the rise of new technologies
  • children’s security and the impact of poverty, austerity and conflict
  • children’s happiness, mental-health, and wellbeing
  • the changing nature of families including LGBT homes, refugees, and asylum seekers
  • the challenges of multi-agency working
The pace of change in early childhood can be daunting, but this book helps students and practitioners understand the variety of issues affecting children around the world. 

1 The Changing Nature of Childhood
Shifting landscapes: children’s security


Inclusion and children with additional needs

Austerity and poverty

Children as carers

State of play in the UK

Emerging curricula and proposed initiatives

2 The Child’s Perspective
Current views on children’s perspective

Childhood studies and children’s perspectives

United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and children’s perspectives

Challenges and tensions in listening to young children’s perspectives

Methods for seeking children’s perspectives in research

Innovative methods for eliciting the views of young children

Children’s involvement in the research process

3 Social and Emotional Functioning in the Learning Environment
Learning, happiness and well-being

Attachment and the learning environment

Loss in childhood: its impact on learning

Fear and love in the lives of children

Supporting children’s social and emotional functioning outside of the home

4 Creating Optimum Learning Environments for the Child
Today’s challenges

Identification and assessment: reflections on practice

Ethical issues in the identification and assessment of children

Low achievement and underachievement

Children whose first language is not English

Monitoring and evaluating practice

5 The Changing Nature of Families
Divorce, separation and step-families

The importance of fathers in families

Grandparents and families

Working with refugee and asylum-seeking families

Working with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender families

6 The Parent’s Voice
Listening to parents

Working with parents

Parents’ working patterns

7 Multi Professional Perspectives
Evolving perspectives


Challenges of multi-agency working

Professionals and parents: working together

Recent initiatives

8 Policy, Discourse and Identity
Policy and practice

Contemporary political ideology and philosophy

Regulation, control and accountability

Professionalism and professional identity

9 The Digital Child
What is a ‘digital child’?

Digital media

The affordances of digital media

Starting where children are: the importance of children’s learning experiences at home

Children’s digital lives in the new millennium

E-safety for children in a digital world

10 International Perspectives
International variations in practice

Children and conflict

Growth of technology


Provision for children throughout the world

Economic costs of childhood

The readying culture

11 Contemporary Issues in a Global Society
Poverty and life chances


Sexualisation of children

Social fears

Mental health

Media and materialism

The emergence of neuroscience

Reflections on professionalism

Child-centredness in a changing world


This important book attempts to place the developing child within the many worlds they exist, to give us a better understanding of both the most obvious influences on them, and also the more subtle. Never shying away from the controversial issues, this book is not about an ideal child development story, it is about how modern children are growing up in a world that is often very alien to the one practitioners grew up in, culminating in the final chapter that explores contemporary issues in our global society, such as poverty, obesity, sexualisation, mental health, media, materialism and more.

Neil Henty
Early Years Educator

This is an excellent book and provides exactly the perspective that our module on contemporary issues is taking. This thought-provoking read provides essential reading for students on Undergraduate and Postgrad programmes, in terms of what it means to grow up in different contexts both nationally and internationally. Showing childhood as a construct of societal influences and factors, and providing some good critique in terms of the impact this has on children and their experience during this stage of life.

Dr Marguerita Magennis
Early Years, Portobello College
September 30, 2021

Lovely clear accessible text for all students of Childhood.

Dr Chelle Davison
Education, Coventry University Scarborough Campus
February 19, 2018

This book presents clear and accessible discussion around a range of features and theories regarding childhood. It has a useful focus on the UK, with relevant international and global issues. It is encouraging to see resources highlighting the different experiences of children with regard to refugee status, adpotion and LGBT families. The sources referred to in the chapters are useful sources for students, and support greater independence in resource selection.

Ms Ruth Hunt
CASS School of Education & Communities, University of East London
March 13, 2019

Encourages critical consideration of key issues and changing discourses relating to childhood. Essential for keeping graduates ahead in their field.

Mrs Paula Hamilton
Division of Social Sciences and Education, Glyndwr University
July 26, 2017

A most valuable and comprehensive coverage of contemporary childhood that also presents as a very accessible read. I will be recommending this book to students across a number of modules within the Child and Family Studies Programme

Ms sue mills
The Lifelong Learning Institute, Leeds University
May 8, 2017

The text in this book form a great description of modern childhood and its influence on children and how they might see things differently to adults and some of the stressful situations that might entail. The topics make great reading for debate and problem based learning

Mrs Eileen Mc Partland
Vocational Education, The Liberties College of Further Education
June 15, 2017

This is a wide-ranging text which offers a number of different perspectives on current issues in early childhood education and care. The chapters on international perspectives and contemporary issues in a global society were particularly relevant to some of our modules. The broad remit means that the text is a useful and thought-provoking starting-point, but would need to be followed up by more in-depth reading.

Mrs Mary-Louise Maynes
Department of Education Studies, Bishop Grosseteste University
June 15, 2017

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1 - The Changing Nature of Childhood