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Early Childhood Education

Early Childhood Education
History, Philosophy and Experience

Second Edition

February 2014 | 216 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

This accessible introduction to the history of early childhood education emphasises the role of history and philosophy in early childhood practice today. Firmly grounded in current policy from across the UK, the text features a series of imagined conversations with key figures and pioneers, which exemplify various philosophical positions in early childhood. This second edition has been fully updated and revised in line with recent policy changes, and contains new and updated biographies of key pioneers as well as three brand new conversations with historical figures.


The book is useful for a range of students of Early Childhood Education or History of Education, from first year undergraduates to PhD students. It will also be incredibly valuable to Early Years trainee teachers, practitioners and policy makers.

The Legacy of History
Early Childhood Education in the UK: A Brief History

Foundation Stones: Some Key Figures Whose Work Has Influenced Thinking and Development of Provision for Young People

Into the Twenty-First Century: Twenty-Five Years of Policy Change
Understanding Recent History: 1988-2013

Into the Future, Learning from the Past


John Amos Komensky (Comenius)

Jean Jacques Rousseau

Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi

Robert Owen

Friedrich Froebel

Charles Dickens

Charlotte Mason

Rudolf Steiner

Sigmund Freud

Rachel McMillan

John Dewey

Margaret McMillan

Maria Montessori

Alexander Sutherland (A.S. Neill)

Susan Sutherland Isaacs

Louis Christian Schiller

Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky

Donald Woods Winnicott

Jean Piaget

Erik Erikson

Carl Rogers

Robin Tanner

Burrhus Frederick Skinner

Sir Alexander Bradshow Clegg (Alec Clegg)

Loris Malaguzzi

Chris Athey

Conversation 1 So, Who Needs History?

Conversation 2 Why Early Childhood Education?

Conversation 3 What Motivates Young Children to Learn?

Conversation 4 How Do Young Children Learn?

Conversation 5 A Policy of Creativity

Conversation 6 Looking Back to 'Education' and 'Care'... Challenging Current Policy through History

Conversation 7 Literacy in the Early Years: A Pedagogy of Patience?

Conversation 8 Children's Rights and Early Learning

Conversation 9 From God and Church to Awe and Wonder: Spirituality and Creativity in Early Childhood Education

1. Children's Rights

2. The Arts and Creativity

3. Literacy

4. Play, Learning and Pedagogy

5. Early Intervention

6. Home Learning and Parental Involvement in Early Education

7. Inclusion

8. Professional Development and Training


Fantastic book which we will be using for our new full-time degree in early childhood education and care starting in September. The imagined conversations add an interesting dimension which will engage the students.

Ms Kath Tayler
Educatoin, University of Brighton
May 28, 2015

Particularly like the chapter on early childhood pioneers. This will be particularly useful for first year students, hearing about theorists for the first time and this is beautifully enhanced by the conversations chapter

Mrs Tanya Richardson
School of Education, Northampton University
March 31, 2015

A good background into areas relating to schools and early education.

Mrs Gail Parker
SWWCTE, University of Wales, Trinity St David
March 24, 2015

A very good book that provides an insightful background read on Early Childhood Education.

Miss Annette Trilk
childcare, Wakefield College
February 24, 2015

A very useful book for all Early Childhood Students who are seeking guidance and clarity on the journey the concept of childhood and early education and care has taken over the centuries. The first part acts as a good starting point for further research and reading whilst part 3 enables students to begin to see some of the connections across the historical journey and our current ever evolving ECEC system!

Mrs Caroline Guard
School of Applied and Health Sciences, Farnborough College of Technology
February 4, 2015

Good general text. Asked library to order and put out on the general pre-reading for a range of programmes.

Mrs Jan Gourd
Faculty of Education, University of St Mark & St John
December 19, 2014

An excellent overview of the pioneers who have influenced the development of early childhood education.

Miss Katie Potter
Department of Education Studies, Bishop Grosseteste University
December 3, 2014

A very interesting read, particularly useful to trainees working towards QTS status within the 3-7 age range.

Mrs Jacqueline Young
Department Of Education, Sussex University
November 3, 2014

This introduction to the history and philosophy of early childhood education is very readable, with easily accessible summaries of many of the leading names in early years education and care. I particularly enjoyed the conversations between various theorists / academics and I will most certainly be referring my students to this book, particularly for extension work.

Mrs Judith Ballard
Care and Wellbeing, Brooklands College
October 13, 2014

An informative book about key people theories and practices in early childhood. It is good to have them all in one place. The chapters with voices brings a new way to bring theories, principles and practice to life.

I have included this in future reading in the book I am writing for SAGE 'Early Years Practice.'

Dr Elaine Hallet
Early Years and Primary Education, Institute of Education
October 6, 2014

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