‘Early Childhood Studies’ by Johnson and Nahmad-Williams

At the outset this book looked somewhat daunting as it is a very large tome, size A4 and comprising 455 pages. However, do not be put off by this as it is an exceptional book on Early Childhood Studies and probably one of the most user-friendly books I have seen for a very long time.

It is, as you can see, a very large book, and so this review will be aimed at giving the reader a ‘taster’ of the contents and how the book is set out.

At the outset it is made very explicit what the boxes in the chapters refer to in terms of format and colour coding i.e. Reflective Tasks, Practical Tasks, Tools for Learning, Research Boxes etc. There is also a very useful section comprising three pages which tell the reader the full titles of all the abbreviations to be found throughout the book.

In terms of readership, the book is aimed at quite an extensive range of students on a number of courses such as Early Childhood Degrees, Early Years Professionals, FE Advanced Diplomas, Initial Teacher Education etc. However, the material is presented in such a way that it accessible and relevant to all readers who are moving beyond the basic childcare and education courses into a higher discipline.

The Introduction includes very valuable user-friendly practical tools for undertaking different levels of research, including definitions of the different types of research that can be undertaken and how to write a research proposal. There are Reflective Tasks and Practical Tasks throughout the chapters and these are divided into levels 1-3 depending upon which level the reader is at. The chapters also have Tools for Learning boxes, Reflective Tasks, Research Boxes: and at the end of each chapter a Summary, Key Questions and References.

The main section of the book is divided into 4 parts; Part 1 – The History and Philosophy of Early Childhood Studies, Part 2 – Early Years Development, Part 3 – Early Childhood and Part 4 – Practitioners in Early Childhood.

Part 1 Chapter 2 is devoted to getting the reader to develop their own philosophy on early childhood which incorporates a very interesting practical task of getting the reader to react to different philosophical statements.

In Part 2 all the developmental areas from Physical Development through to Social Development are very thoroughly defined and discussed in individual chapters.

In Part 3 the chapters take the reader from Families, Home and Childhood through to Special Needs and Inclusion.

Finally Part 4 chapters cover the role of the Early Years professional, Reflective Practice, Working Together and Leadership and Management. In fact this book covers all a student or practitioner would need to know.

Finally, I even learnt about a theorist who I had never previously heard of called Jean Frederic Oberlin (1740-1826), who instigated an early education system based on language development and handicrafts. He founded schools in poor villages in rural Alsace which became known as knitting schools where the children sat around the class teacher/leader who knitted whilst teaching  the children about the names of objects, plants, animals etc.

So just as it has done for me, I am sure this book will widen all readers’ horizons in relation to Early Childhood.

Johnston J. and Nahmad-Williams L. (2009) Early Childhood Studies

Pearson Education Ltd., Essex

ISBN : 978-1-4058-3532-9

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