ERIC Number: ED486649
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2004
An Introduction to Early Childhood Studies
Maynard, Trlsha, Ed.; Thomas, Nigel, Ed.
SAGE Publications (UK)
The primary purpose of this book is to provide a core introductory text for the many undergraduate students who are now studying early childhood. Four key themes are emphasised throughout this book: The first is the social construction of childhood. This is the idea that childhood is not a naturally given phenomenon, but the result of social processes of discourse, definition and interaction. The second theme is the interaction of nature and nurture. Arguments about whether "nature" or "nurture"--the child's biological inheritance and her/his social and cultural environment--is more important obscure the fact that it is often the relationship between the two influences which is most significant, and that this relationship is extremely complex. The third theme is working with the whole child. This means that children's development and needs do not easily separate into discrete categories labelled, for example, "education", "health", "welfare" or "play". The fourth theme is the importance of seeing children as subjects. This again can be interpreted in two ways: "scientifically", by recognising children as active in their own development and learning; and "politically", by accepting them as young citizens with rights to autonomy and to participation in decision making. The seventeen chapters in this book between them cover a very extensive territory ranging from the history of childhood to the place of play in the early years curriculum. In order to make the text more manageable and accessible, the book has been organized into four parts: Part I: The Developing Child, includes chapters on cognitive, emotional and social development, on language and learning and on the development of a gender identity; Part II: Perspectives on Childhood, considers how childhood differs culturally and historically, and introduces sociological approaches to the study of childhood; Part III: Policy and Provision for Young Children, is the most substantial part ofk: the Swansea programme includes a strong emphasis on policy--on how ideas about reality; Finally, Part IV: Developing Effective Practice, focuses on some particular aspects of practice--inter--agency work, the use of play, child observation and inclusive practice. Each part of the book begins with a brief editorial introduction that explains what is in the chapters that follow and which draws attention to some common themes and to differences of emphasis. The book also includes: List of Tables and Illustrations, Notes on the contributors, an Introduction by Trisha Maynard and Nigel Thomas, Glossary, References, and Index.
Descriptors: Educational Policy, Child Health, Play, Language Acquisition, Emotional Development, Cognitive Development, Child Welfare, Early Childhood Education, Introductory Courses, Nature Nurture Controversy
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Publication Type: Books; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A