This engaging read, Exploring Play for Early Childhood Studies, prompts practitioners to give further thought to the fundamental nature of play and examines play at a timely moment. New research has shown the importance of play for brain development and theorists are re-conceptualising education and play.
This book avoids any simplistic definitions of play; instead, it encourages and supports students to explore how play 'crosses boundaries and creates challenges'. It asks us as readers to really think through what we mean by play and how we can support play in a way that allows children to 'grow into the flexible creative thinkers of the future'.
It takes the reader through a detailed exploration of the nature of play, examining the features and concepts of play. Guidance on how to observe children's play is included and the text encourages students to appreciate the value of play, creativity and risk in child development and children's developing socialisation. Topics also covered include children's rights and the ownership of play.
There are interactive activities and case studies to help students to question and consider their own practice in relation to play.
The author, Mandy Andrews, was a play officer for a local authority and has a range of children's play experiences, from running an adventure playground and environmental play activities to community play projects and running a children's centre. She is now a senior lecturer in Early Childhood at the University of Worcester and has undertaken research into children's play in a range of settings.
Caroline Brooks, childcare and early years lecturer at Sheffield College, comments, 'A great book; well organised and accessible to all learners. Useful as a learner and a teacher. Excellent.'
Dealing With Feelings Series by Sally Featherstone and Nicola Call, Bloomsbury Publishing
These four books were described by the judges as 'simple, engaging and child-friendly'. Using straightforward text and colourful illustrations, the books - Max's First Day, My Best Friend, My Big Brother and What Natasha Can Do - help to develop children's character, teach positive behaviour and promote personal, social and emotional skills.
They can be used by practitioners to read with children during more guided learning to help them understand situations and discuss the issues raised, from feeling grumpy and being nervous to gaining independence.
Birth to Five Service Website, Lincolnshire County Council
Continuous Provision in the Early Years, Bloomsbury Publishing
Language and Literacy for the Early Years by Sally Neaum, Sage
Learning Stories by Margaret Carr and Wendy Lee, Sage
The Reflective Early Years Practitioner by Elaine Halle, Sage
Understanding Schemas and Young Children by Frances Atherton and Cathy Nutbrown, Sage
Open to early years resources and equipment that help practitioners to improve their practice and provision.