Understanding early childhood: issues and controversies

Front Cover
Open University Press, Oct 1, 2004 - Education - 198 pages
0 Reviews
“This book should be essential reading for every student of Early Childhood Studies who wants to approach this rapidly expanding field of study with an open mind.”
Eva Lloyd, Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies, University of Bristol, UK

“This book makes a unique and significant contribution to the international study of early childhood. Using an analytical but accessible style, it addresses several of the most persistent conventional wisdoms in the field, bringing a wide and creative range of material from a variety of disciplines and diverse cultures to bear. Early childhood educators and researchers, policy makers and advocates... will welcome this thoughtful book.”
Martha Friendly, Director, Childcare Resource and Research Unit, University of Toronto, Canada

“This is a very readable account of theories and approaches in early childhood care and education. It challenges us to re-examine the origins and underpinnings of established practice. It takes an international perspective and will be valuable for training new teachers and for ongoing teacher development.”
Linda Biersteker, Head of Research, Early Learning Resource Unit, Cape Town, South Africa

Drawing on research evidence from across the world, this book offers a wide-ranging perspective on the ways in which we understand and study young children. The book summarizes current debates in child development, and looks at different ways of understanding early childhood and the various methods used to gain understanding, featuring:

  • Personal memories of childhood
  • Neuro-scientific and genetic interpretations of childhood
  • Cultural perspectives
  • Chapters on history, health and child rights
Understanding Early Childhood concludes with an analysis of everyday practices in working with young children from across the world. It is key reading for early childhood students and practitioners working with young children.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


Researching reality
Not Piaget again
Genes neurons and ancestors

6 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2004)

Professor Helen Penn worked for many years as a teacher and a senior administrator in the UK. She is based at the University of East London and is Visiting Fellow at the Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London. Her main interest is in early childhood education and care in developing countries. She acts as a consultant to SCF, UNICEF, OECD and many other international organizations.

Bibliographic information