Early Childhood Education: History, Philosophy and Experience


Cathy Nutbrown & Peter Clough

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  • Education at SAGE

    SAGE is a leading international publisher of journals, books, and electronic media for academic, educational, and professional markets.

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    • accessible and comprehensive texts for aspiring education professionals and practitioners looking to further their careers through continuing professional development
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    Find out more at: http://www.sagepub.co.uk/education


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    For the new pioneers …

    About the Authors

    Professor Cathy Nutbrown is Head of the School of Education at the University of Sheffield, where she teaches and researches in the field of early childhood education.

    Cathy began her career as a teacher of young children and has since worked in a range of settings and roles with children, parents, teachers and other early childhood educators. Cathy is committed to finding ways of working ‘with respect’ with young children, and sees the concept of quality in the context of what it means to develop curriculum and pedagogy in the early years with the ambition of working in a climate of ‘respectful education’.

    She established the University of Sheffield MA in Early Childhood Education in 1998 and a Doctoral Programme in Early Childhood Education in 2008. In 2010 she contributed to the Tickell Review of the Early Years Foundation. In June 2012 she reported on her year-long independent review for government on early years and childcare qualifications (The Nutbrown Review). In May 2013 Cathy won the ESRC prize for Research with Outstanding Impact in Society and in September 2013 she was presented with the NW Lifetime Achievement Award. She is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Early Childhood Research (Sage) and author of over fifty publications on aspects of early childhood education.

    Peter Clough is Honorary Professor of Education at the University of Sheffield. Peter taught English and Drama, in the 1970s, in London and later in a number of special schools. His research interests include the use of narrative and fictional writing in research and research report. Peter has taught Inclusive Education and Early Childhood Education at the University of Sheffield, has been Professor of Inclusive Education at Queen's Belfast and Liverpool Hope, and Research Fellow at the University of Chester. Peter is an Honorary Professor at the School of Education, University of Sheffield, where he teaches Masters and Doctoral students. Amongst over 50 publications focusing on equality, inclusion, difference, early childhood education, and teachers’ lives are several books, including Narratives and Fictions in Educational Research (OUP) and A Student's Guide to Methodology (Sage).


    We should like to thank the many people who wrote to us about the first edition of this book and we thank them for suggestions which have influenced the development of this second edition.

    The numerous students and academic colleagues who have shared their ideas with us and allowed us to try out some of the new conversations in this book have been most helpful and we thank them warmly.

    Special thanks go to our Undergraduate, Masters and Doctoral students who told us how important it was to bring alive the ideas of past pioneers and commented on our attempts to do this.

    The keepers of the archives we consulted have been particularly helpful, as have librarians at The University of Sheffield. We thank Sheffield Local Authority for allowing us to quote from their 1987 Nursery Education Guidelines. We wish to acknowledge the important contributions played by Sage Publications, in particular Marianne Lagrange for inviting us to make this second edition, Rachael Plant for her help with recording four of the conversations, and Jeanette Graham for her care in the production of this book.

    CathyNutbrown and PeterClough
    September 2013
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    Author Index

    Pioneer Index

    • Alexander Sutherland Neill 15, 51
    • Anthony John Mundella 13
    • Burrhus Frederick Skinner 16, 67, 68
    • Carl Rogers 16, 64
    • Catherine Isabella Dodd 14
    • Charles Dickens 12, 33, 34
    • Charlotte Mason 1, 3, 7, 13
    • Chris Athey 1, 7, 16, 73, 74
    • Dame Maude Agnes Lawrence 14
    • Donald Woods Winnicott 15, 57
    • Edith Mary Deverell 14
    • Edmund Core Alexander Holmes 13
    • Edward Parnell Culverwell 13
    • Elizabeth Mayo 12
    • Emily Anne Eliza Sherriff 12
    • Erik Erickson 15, 59, 60
    • Friedrich Froebel 1, 7, 12, 31, 32, 44
    • Henry Caldwell Cook 15
    • James Buchanan 12
    • Jean Jacques Rousseau 11, 25, 26, 31, 44
    • Jean Piaget 1, 15, 56, 59, 60
    • Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi 1, 2, 7, 11, 27, 28, 44
    • John Amos Comenius [Komensky] 2, 11, 23
    • John Dewey 14, 43, 44
    • Joseph Lancaster 12
    • Joshua Watson 11
    • Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky 2, 15, 43, 56, 57
    • Loris Malaguzzi 1, 7, 16, 71, 72
    • Louis Christian Schiller 2, 15, 55, 56
    • Margaret McMillan 1, 7, 14, 46, 47
    • Maria Montessori 1, 7, 14, 43, 48, 56
    • Marion Richardson 15
    • Mary Augusta Ward (Mrs Humphry) 13
    • Melanie Klein 14
    • Rachel McMillan 7, 14, 41, 42
    • Robert Lowe, 12
    • Robert Owen 1, 10, 11, 29, 30
    • Robin Tanner 16, 66, 67
    • Rudolf Steiner 1, 37, 38
    • Samuel Wilderspin 12
    • Sigmund Freud 13, 39, 40, 56
    • Sir Alec Clegg 1, 16, 69
    • Sir Fred Joyce Schonell 15
    • Sir James Crichton-Brown 13
    • Sir James Phillips Kay-Shuttleworth, 12
    • Sir James Pitman 16
    • Sir John Hubert Newsom 16
    • Sir William Hart Dyke 13
    • Socrates 22
    • Susan Sutherland Isaacs 1, 7, 15, 53, 54, 59
    • William Edward Forster 12
    • William Ewart 12

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