An essential text for everyone working in, or hoping to work in, the early education sector.
This book has been promoted as an essential text for students in education, whether they be undertaking degrees in Childhood Studies, or embarking on teacher training courses. I believe this is a book that should be read by every early years practitioner working in every conceivable setting. We all need to know why and how children play and how we can best support them, and this text tells us. If we, as a sector, are endeavouring to raise the status of working in early years, we each need to have a wealth of knowledge of best early years practice which is backed up with sound educational research.
The first four chapters look at the theoretical aspects of children’s play, explaining clearly different approaches and philosophies. The fifth chapter describes how to develop play in the curriculum, and looks at curriculum models from New Zealand, Reggio Emilia, and High/Scope. A section devoted to progression and continuity is so relevant for practitioners working towards smooth transitions between nursery, reception and key stage 1. Chapter 6 encourages us to be reflective practitioners, focussing on flexible planning, skilled observations, and being an inspiring practitioner. Chapter 7 looks in greater detail at assessing children’s learning, and would be extremely useful as a basis for staff development meetings or training purposes. The final chapter encourages us to reflect on improving the quality of play in our various settings. I found this book to be a unique summary of what early years education is all about.
As an experienced early years teacher, I still found much in the text to get me thinking and I am now inspired to further improve the learning environment and opportunities for the children in my care.