‘I would recommend this book to students and trainees who wish to extend their knowledge and understanding of early years practice beyond level 3. This book is accessible, up to date and focuses on translating theory into practice, incorporating the essential higher order skill of reflection. The pedagogical foundations within place children firmly at the centre, whilst acknowledging the highly influential early years practitioner in the wider context of family, community and inclusive practice.’ Sarah Barton, Senior Lecturer and EY ITT Programme Leader, School of Education and Continuing Studies, University of Portsmouth Are you studying to become an early years teacher or educator, or studying for an early years degree, and looking for a book to guide you through your qualification? With stories of practice, questions for reflection, further reading and links to the Teachers’ Standards (Early Years), this book links professional practice with theory and research and will help you: • understand how children learn and develop • engage with the curriculum and the practice of teaching • learn more about the structure and reality of early years provision and practice for children aged from 0-8 years • develop ways to reflect upon your practice • develop professional skills and attributes needed to take a leading role • understand how to apply all of this to practice. This core textbook is ideal for students of early years and early childhood courses and will support you in your practice in the early years.

Early Years Education and Learning

Early Years Education and Learning

Chapter overview

Early learning is at the centre of early years education; it is a specific phase of education. This chapter discusses founding philosophies, principles of practice, learning theories, dispositions for learning – all exploring how children learn. The curriculum as a framework for practice and learning is considered. A range of curriculum frameworks, pedagogical approaches and practices for children’s learning and assessment in national and international contexts are discussed. There is opportunity to reflect on children’s early educational experience of learning.


Prior to beginning the discussion, some definitions of common terms used in early education are given to aid understanding (Carr, 2001; Gray and Macblain, 2012; Siraj-Blatchford, 2014):

  • A theory is a set of statements or ...
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