Early childhood education has always provoked passionate feelings amongst stakeholders at all levels, from practitioners working with children and families in pre-school and school settings, to advisers, managers, politicians, and academics

The purpose of this reader is to examine change, transformation and continuity, and to present indicative scholarship in relation to five key themes:

theoretical perspectives on learning

curriculum and pedagogy



professionalism and research methods

Within each theme, the readings have been chosen to exemplify national and international perspectives and trends. This is not to present a homogenised view of early childhood provision and services across cultural contexts; rather the intention is to take a critical perspective on past, present and future directions, and to identify some of the challenges, dilemmas and contradictions posed in research and scholarship.

Introduction: Contestation, Transformation and Re-Conceptualisation in Early Childhood Education  Theme 1: Theoretical Perspectives on Learning, Curriculum and Pedagogy  1. Introduction From ‘Play in the Infants' School’ E.R. Boyce, Methuen, 1946  2. Fleer, M. (2006) The Cultural Construction of Child Development: Creating Institutional and Cultutral Intersubjectivity. International Journal of Early Years Education, 14(2), 127-140  3. Soler, J & Miller, L. (2003) The Struggle for Early Childhood Curricula: A Comparison of the English Foundation Stage Curriculum, Te Whariki and Reggio Emilia, The International Journal of Early Years Education, Vol.11, No. 1, (Taylor and Francis)  4. Brooker, L(2003), Learning How to Learn : Parental Ethnotheories and Young Children’s Preparation for School, The International Journal of Early Years Education, Vol. 11, No. 1, (Taylor and Francis)  Theme 2: Play: Advances in Theory and Practice  5. Newman, F and Holzman, L. (1993) Playing in/with the ZPD, Lev Vygotsky: Revolutionary Scientist (Routledge)  6. Janson, U. (2001) Togetherness and Diversity in Pre-school Play, The International Journal of Early Years Education, Vol. 9, No. 2, (Taylor and Francis)  7. Marsh, J. ‘But I Want to Fly Too!’: Girls and Superhero Play in the Infant Classroom, Gender and Education, Vol. 12, No. 2 (Taylor & Francis)  8. Sawyers, J. and Carrick, N. (2003). Symbolic Play through the Eyes and Words of Children, Play and Educational Theory and Practice, Ed. Lytle, D. Ablex Publishing Corporation, U.S Theme 3: Policy Generation and Implementation  9. Neuman, M. (2005). Governance of Early Childhood Education and Care: Recent Developments in OECD Countries, Early Years, Vol. 25, No. 2. (Taylor & Francis)  10. Sylva, K. and Pugh, G. (2005). Transforming the Early Years in England, Oxford Review of Education, Vol. 31, No. 1. (Taylor & Francis)  11. Ball, S. and Vincent, C. (2005) The ‘Childcare Champion’? New Labour, Social Justice and the Childcare Market, British Educational Research Journal. Vol. 31. No. 5. (Taylor & Francis)  12. Rosemberg, F. (2005) Childhood and Social Inequality in Brazil, in H. Penn (2005) (Ed) Unequal Childhoods: Young Children’s Lives in Poor Countries. London, Routledge, Chapter 8, pp. 142-170. Theme 4: Professionalism and Professionalisation  13. Duncan, J. (2004). Misplacing the Teacher? New Zealand Early Childhood Teachers and Early Childhood Education Policy Reforms, 1984-96, Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood Education, Vol. 5, No. 2. (Symposium Journals)  14. Osgood, J. (2006). Professionalism and Performativity; The Feminist Challenge Facing Early Years Practitioners, Early Years, Vol. 26, No. 2. (Taylor & Francis)  Theme 5: Research Methods: Agency and Voice  15. Sumsion, J. (1999). Critical Reflections on the Experiences of a Male Early Childhood Worker. Gender and Education, Vol. 11, No. 4. (Routledge)  16. Farrell, A. Tayler, C. and Tennent, L. (2004). Building Social Capital in Early Childhood Education and Care: An Australian Study. British Educational Research Journal. Vol. 30. No. 5. (Taylor & Francis)  17. Montgomery, H. (2005). Gendered Childhoods: A Cross Disciplinary Overview. Gender and Education, Vol. 17, No. 5. (Routledge).  References