You are here

SAGE online ordering services will be unavailable due to system maintenance beginning Friday, December 14 at 11:00 pm GMT until Sunday, December 16 at 8:00 pm GMT. If you need immediate assistance, please contact us. Thank you for your patience and we apologise for any inconvenience.

Introduction to Early Childhood Education

Introduction to Early Childhood Education

Eighth Edition
Experience with SAGE edge

February 2019 | 480 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Introduction to Early Childhood Education provides current and future educators with a highly readable, comprehensive overview of the field. The underlying philosophy of the book is that early childhood educators’ most important task is to provide a program that is sensitive to and supports the development of young children. Author Eva L. Essa and new co-author Melissa Burnham provide valuable insight by strategically dividing the book into six sections that answer the “What, Who, Why, Where, and How” of early childhood education. Utilizing both NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) and DAP (Developmentally Appropriate Practice) standards, this supportive text provides students with the skills, theories, and best practices needed to succeed and thrive as early childhood educators.

A Complete Teaching & Learning Package

Contact your rep to request a demo, answer your questions, and explore the robust tools and resources available with this text.
  • SAGE Premium Video
    Included in the interactive eBook! SAGE Premium Video tools and resources boost comprehension and bolster analysis. Learn more.

  • Interactive eBook
    Your students save when you bundle the print version with the Interactive eBook (Bundle ISBN: 978-1-5443-6883-2), which includes access to SAGE Premium Video and other multimedia tools. Learn more.

  • SAGE coursepacks
    SAGE coursepacks makes it easy to import our quality instructor and student resource content into your school’s learning management system (LMS). Intuitive and simple to use, SAGE coursepacks allows you to customize course content to meet your students’ needs. Learn more.

  • SAGE edge
    This companion website offers both instructors and students a robust online environment with an impressive array of teaching and learning resources. Learn more.
Part I: The What of Early Childhood Education
CHAPTER 1: The Scope of and Need for Early Childhood Education
Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP) and Early Childhood Standards  
The Growth of Early Childhood Education  
Brain Science – Linking Quality Early Learning Environments with Brain Science  
Take a Closer Look: Child Care—A Wise Economic Investment  
What Is Included in Early Childhood Education?  
Stories from the Field: “Meeting Multiple Needs”  
The Future of Early Childhood Education  
Part II: The Who of Early Childhood Education
CHAPTER 2: The Children
Age-Related Commonalities Among Children  
Factors that Influence Child Development  
Brain Science – Neuronal Development  
Take a Closer Look: What Has Happened to Children’s Play?  
Children with Different Abilities  
Stories from the Field: “Tayla: A Very Special Little Girl”  
Working with Families of Young Children  
CHAPTER 3: The Families
A Theoretical Perspective  
The Changing American Family  
The Needs of Families  
Take a Closer Look: The High Price of Child Care  
Communicating with Families  
Stories from the Field: “Working with Parents”  
Brain Science – Parents Want to Know  
Family Engagement  
CHAPTER 4: The Teachers/Caregivers
The Early Childhood Teacher and Caregiver  
Staffing in Early Childhood Programs  
Training and Regulation in Early Childhood Education  
Brain Science – The Impact of Teachers  
Take A Closer Look: Culture Matters  
Stories from the Field: “Reflecting on Teaching and Learning”  
Some Current Issues and Dilemmas  
Family Support for the Early Childhood Profession  
Part III: The Why of Early Childhood Education
CHAPTER 5: Rationale Supporting Early Childhood Education
A Look Back—Children Through Time  
Influential People in the History of Early Childhood Education  
Influential Theorists’ Views of Child Development  
Application of Theories in Early Childhood Education  
Stories from the Field: “Introducing Photography to Kindergarteners as an Outlet for Creativity”  
Research Support for Early Childhood Education  
Brain Science – Making a Difference  
Take a Closer Look: We Need Prevention, Not Intervention  
CHAPTER 6: Accountability, Standards, and Assessment
Accountability: Program Standards and Assessment  
Brain Science – Meeting Standards  
Learning Standards for Young Children  
Take a Closer Look: Are Standards for Children Compatible with Developmentally Appropriate Practice?  
Child Assessment: Informal Methods  
Child Assessment: Formal Methods  
Assessment Systems  
Stories from the Field: “Selecting the Right Assessment Tool”  
Family Collaboration in Screening and Assessment  
CHAPTER 7: Helping Children Cope with Stress
Defining Stress and Coping  
Sources of Stress in Children’s Lives  
Take a Closer Look: Geography Matters  
Stories from the Field: “Helping Sam Cope with Stress”  
Brain Science – Handle with Care  
Resilient Children  
Techniques to Help Children Cope with Stress  
Helping Families Cope with Stress: Bibliotherapy  
Part IV: The Where of Early Childhood Education
CHAPTER 8: The Physical Environment
Effects of the Physical Environment  
Arranging the Indoor Environment  
Arranging the Outdoor Environment  
Take a Closer Look: Is There Such a Thing as Nature-Deficit Disorder?  
Environments for Infants and Toddlers  
Environments for School-Age Children  
Adapting the Environment for Children with Disabilities  
Developmentally Appropriate Equipment  
Brain Storm – The Digital Generation  
Developmentally Appropriate Materials  
Stories from the Field: “Culture and Environment”  
Family Role in the Early Childhood Environment  
Part V: The How of Early Childhood Education--Curriculum
CHAPTER 9: Scheduling and Curriculum Planning
Components of the Early Childhood Schedule  
Guidelines for Program Scheduling  
Scheduling for Infants and Toddlers  
Scheduling for School-Age Children  
Stories from the Field: “DAP in a Public School Setting”  
Types of Schedules  
Flexibility of the Schedule  
What Is the Curriculum?  
Take a Closer Look: Early Childhood Curriculum—A Global Perspective  
Brain Storm – Learning by Doing  
Developing Written Plans for a Theme-Based Curriculum  
Emergent Curriculum  
Family Involvement in the Curriculum  
CHAPTER 10: Creative Development through the Curriculum
What Is Creativity?  
An Environment That Encourages Creativity  
Stories from the Field: “The Purple Flower Project”  
Brain Storm – The Power of Music  
Supporting Creativity in Infants and Toddlers  
Supporting Creativity in School-Age Children  
Supporting Creativity in Children with Disabilities  
Family Values for Creativity  
Factors That Decrease Creativity  
Take a Closer Look: Children and the Media  
CHAPTER 11: Physical Development through the Curriculum
A Developmental Framework for Motor Development  
Components of Motor Development  
Gross Motor Activities  
Brain Storm – Time to Go Outside  
Take a Closer Look: The Rise in Obesity in Children  
Fine Motor Activities—Manipulatives  
Supporting Physical Development in Infants and Toddlers  
Supporting Physical Development in School-Age Children  
Stories from the Field: “Meeting the Physical Needs of Children in the Primary Grades”  
Supporting Physical Development in Children with Disabilities  
Sensory Activities  
Caring for the Body  
Family Values Related to Physical Development and Care  
CHAPTER 12: Cognitive Development through the Curriculum
Theoretical Foundations of Cognitive Development  
Take a Closer Look: Brain Research: What Have We Learned about Learning?  
Tools of the Mind  
Brain Storm – Executive Functions  
Cognitive Tasks  
Math Concepts in the Early Childhood Curriculum  
Science Concepts in the Early Childhood Curriculum  
Supporting Cognitive Development in Infants and Toddlers  
Stories from the Field: “Learning with Bubbles”  
Supporting Math and Science Learning in School-Age Children  
Supporting Math and Science Learning in Children with Disabilities  
Family Values for Cognitive Development  
CHAPTER 13: Language Development through the Curriculum
Theoretical Views of Language Development  
Components of Language  
English-Language Learners  
Language and the Early Childhood Curriculum  
Take a Closer Look: What Does it Take to Develop Literate Children?  
Brain Storm – Learning to Read  
Supporting Language and Literacy Development in Infants and Toddlers  
Supporting Language and Literacy Development in School-Age Children  
Stories from the Field: “Emerging Literacy Skills”  
Supporting Language and Literacy Development in Children with Disabilities  
Family Values for Language and Literacy Development  
CHAPTER 14: Social Development through the Curriculum
Theoretical Views of the Socialization Process  
Emotional Intelligence  
Take a Closer Look: Social Competence and Emotional Well-Being: Important Ingredients for Learning  
Development of Social Competence  
Development of Prosocial Behaviors  
Brain Storm – Mirror, Mirror  
Sociodramatic Play  
Cooperative Games  
Supporting Social Development in Infants and Toddlers  
Stories from the Field: “The Many Languages of Music”  
Supporting Social Development in School-Age Children  
Supporting Social Development in Children with Disabilities  
Reflecting the Family’s Culture and Values  
Part VI: The How of Early Childhood Education--Guidance
CHAPTER 15: Guiding Routines and Group Activities
Guiding Routines  
Brain Storm – Feeding the Brain  
Stories from the Field: “Nutrition for the Whole Family”  
Take a Closer Look: Sleep in Young Children  
Factors That Affect Group Behavior  
Group Guidance and the Daily Schedule  
Out-of-the-Ordinary or Unexpected Situations  
CHAPTER 16: Guiding Social Behaviors
What Behaviors Do We Expect of Young Children?  
Important Definitions  
Take a Closer Look: What Research Tells Us about the Use Of Physical Punishment  
Some Techniques of Guidance  
Stories from the Field: “Becoming a Group Member”  
What Is the Difference between Normal and Problem Behavior?  
Brain Storm – Feeling Good  
Factors that Affect Children’s Behavior  
Dealing with Specific Behavior Challenges  
Family Support: Working with Families to Solve Behavior Challenges  


Instructor Resources Site

Instructors: SAGE coursepacks and SAGE edge online resources are included FREE with this text. For a brief demo, contact your sales representative today.

SAGE coursepacks for instructors makes it easy to import our quality content into your school’s learning management system (LMS)*. Intuitive and simple to use, it allows you to:

 Say NO to…

  • required access codes
  • learning a new system

Say YES to…

  • using only the content you want and need
  • high-quality assessment and multimedia exercises

*For use in: Blackboard, Canvas, Brightspace by Desire2Learn (D2L), and Moodle

Don’t use an LMS platform? No problem, you can still access many of the online resources for your text via SAGE edge.

With SAGE coursepacks, you get: 

  • quality textbook content delivered directly into your LMS
  • an intuitive, simple format that makes it easy to integrate the material into your course with minimal effort;
  • assessment tools that foster review, practice, and critical thinking, including:
    • diagnostic chapter pre-tests and post-tests that identify opportunities for improvement, track student progress, and ensure mastery of key learning objectives
    • test banks built on Bloom’s Taxonomy that provide a diverse range of test items with ExamView test generation
    • activity and quiz options that allow you to choose only the assignments and tests you want 
    • instructions on how to use and integrate the comprehensive assessments and resources provided;
  • assignable SAGE Premium Video (available via the interactive eBook version, linked through SAGE coursepacks) that is tied to learning objectives, and produced exclusively for this text to bring concepts to life, featuring: 
    • Corresponding multimedia assessment options that automatically feed to your gradebook
    • Comprehensive, downloadable, easy-to-use Media Guide in the Coursepack for every video resource, listing the chapter to which the video content is tied, matching learning objective(s), a helpful description of the video content, and assessment questions 
    • Video cases offer students the opportunity to observe real-life educators and classrooms to provide teachers-in-training a sense of what to expect in their future classrooms
  • chapter-specific discussion questions to help launch engaging classroom interaction while reinforcing important content;
  • exclusive SAGE journal articles tie influential research and scholarship to chapter concepts;
  • editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides that offer flexibility when creating multimedia lectures so you don’t have to start from scratch;
  • sample course syllabi with suggested models for structuring your course that give you options to customize your course to your exact needs;
  • lecture notes that summarize key concepts on a chapter-by-chapter basis to help you with preparation for lectures and class discussions;
  • integrated links to the interactive eBook that make it easy for students to maximize their study time with this “anywhere, anytime” mobile-friendly version of the text. It also offers access to more digital tools and resources, including SAGE Premium Video; and
  • select tables and figures from the textbook.
Student Study Site

SAGE edge for students enhances learning, it’s easy to use, and offers:

  • an open-access site that makes it easy for students to maximize their study time, anywhere, anytime;
  • eFlashcards that strengthen understanding of key terms and concepts;
  • eQuizzes that allow students to practice and assess how much they’ve learned and where they need to focus their attention;
  • exclusive access to influential SAGE journal articles that tie important research and scholarship to chapter concepts to strengthen learning; and
  • video and multimedia links that facilitate student use of Internet resources, further exploration of topics, and responses to critical thinking questions.

“Great book for helping students identify developmentally appropriate standards and practices.”

Lisa White
Athens Technical College

“A foundational text for early childhood education topics that is cognizant of and responsive to the current practices and concerns that recent brain-based research encourages EC practitioners to be aware of and proficient in for the success of the whole child. The text's features makes it more approachable than most texts, while simultaneously providing a myriad of prompts for further discussion and/or reflection.”

Dr. Lauren E. Burrow
Stephen F. Austin State University

“Essa and Burnham’s text is clear and concise, and presents information in an easy-to-understand format for my students. The textbook includes NAEYC standards and stresses Developmentally Appropriate Practices and play.”

Dr. Lois Silvernail
Spring Hill College

“This book provides the historical contexts, rationale, and a great overview of the early childhood profession.”

Wendy P. Jung
Tulane University
Key features
  • New co-author Melissa Burnham contributes in-depth knowledge of child development, extensive understanding of brain architecture, application of the latest brain research to practice, and a deep comprehension of progressive models of education.
  • This edition reflects the latest research, statistics, policy, and changes in the field of early childhood education, providing the latest information as students enter the field.
  • All chapters now begin with specific learning objectives based on Bloom’s Taxonomy, helping to better organize the chapters and tie the objectives to the main sub-sections as well as to the NAEYC Standards for Professional Preparation Programs.
  • All chapters list the specific NAEYC standard(s) met in the section and include in-depth links leading to NAEYC Standards for further study.
  • The renamed feature, Brain Science, focuses on recent brain development research, tying an aspect of child development to the study of the brain and discussing how and why this research is relevant to early childhood education practitioners.
  • Video cases, included in the Interactive eBook, offer students the opportunity to observe real-life educators and classrooms to provide teachers-in-training a sense of what to expect in their future classrooms.
  • Thorough coverage of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) discusses the role of digital tools as an avenue for engaging creative activities, while also acknowledging ways in which electronic media can possibly impede creativity.
  • An expanded discussion surrounding ever-changing technology is included throughout.


  • Learning Objectives at the beginning of each chapter prepare readers for encountering the material covered in each chapter and provide clear direction for navigating the content.
  • Learning Objectives are paired with NAEYC Standards—a summary of the standards discussed in each chapter are provided, preparing readers for which standards will be covered and where they are discussed in more depth.
  • Each chapter opens with a quotation from the book, Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP) to underscore the importance of this topic in the field of early childhood education.
  • The Take a Closer Look feature offers in-depth information about a topic of importance to the field of early childhood education.
  • Stories from the Field are found in each chapter and feature a story from an early childhood practitioner, providing firsthand narratives and insight into what makes working with young children meaningful to professionals.
  • Working with Families sections focus on one of the important tasks of early childhood teachers—communicating, coordinating, and working with families—demonstrating how parents and other family members are integral to early childhood programs.
  • Key Questions are posed at the end of each chapter to help readers reflect on the information and further explore its relevance, with some questions suggesting activities to reinforce understanding of the topic.
  • End-of-chapter study tools include chapter summaries and additional resources, including books, articles, and websites that contain information relevant to early childhood education in relation to the topic of the chapter.

Preview this book

For instructors

Select a Purchasing Option

ISBN: 9781544338743

ISBN: 9781544338750