Nursery World Awards 2017 - Professional Books

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The Nursery Year in Action by Anna Ephgrave, Routledge


Anna Ephgrave is a consultant teacher who has supported the early years setting she advises to achieve Outstanding at four consecutive Ofsted inspections. In this book she draws on her wide experience to help readers achieve the same level. As the judges identified, this book succeeds in equipping practitioners with the practical ideas and inspiration they need to create a happy learning environment for every child.

Its accessible format is based on a month-by-month overview of how the setting is organised and run. This covers all aspects of practice – from the organisation of the classroom and garden and the rationale behind this, to the routines and boundaries that ensure children are safe, happy and able to explore and learn.

Each month of the year is tracked, paying particular attention to the environment, the role of the adult, links with parents, children’s individual needs and the key areas of learning and development. Throughout the text, Ms Ephgrave provides the reason behind each decision and highlights what the outcomes have been for children, emphasising how ‘planning in the moment’ is the best way to meet the requirements of the EYFS and the individual needs of the children.

As outdoors expert Dr Helen Bilton says in her foreword, ‘Anna demonstrates that one does not need forward planning, or focused activities, but that one must be absolutely clear about one’s philosophy of education, crystal clear about how to achieve one’s ambitions for children and fully able to justify and defend one’s practice. At the heart of all that Anna does is children’s development and learning, and under Anna’s guidance children learn and develop dramatically’.

The judges echoed the sentiments of one Amazon reviewer, who posted, ‘Excellent! Makes you reflect on your practice. It has given me the confidence and the reasoning behind the theory to plan in the moment, something I have been wanting to do for a long while.

‘I bought the book for the setting and feel once the practice is used by every practitioner, the setting will be even better. I’ve already made significant positive changes. Thank you for such an excellent book!’

One judge says this is, ‘A real “how to” book which explains how forward planning and focus activities can be replaced with planning in the moment. A must read for anyone who wants to know more about a child-focused approach’.

Highly commended

Early Childhood and Neuroscience by Mine Conkbayir, Bloomsbury

This practical guide to understanding the complex subject of neuroscience, and its appropriate use in early childhood policy and practice, is being used by many students and practitioners who have provided glowing feedback about its accessibility and its success in making neuroscience relevant to them.

The author provides a balanced overview of debates in the field, weaving discussion on the opportunities of using neuroscience in early childhood practice with examination of the limitations and ethical implications. This is designed to help students form their own opinions about the discipline and its use in their future practice. Clear explanations of the main terms and theories are complemented with case studies from around the world, along with a glossary of key terms and suggestions for further reading. Reflective discussion questions give students the chance to apply their theoretical knowledge to real-world contexts.


Assessing Quality in Early Childhood Education and Care by Iram Siraj, Denise Kingston and Edward Melhuish, Trentham Books

Developing School Readinessby Kathryn Peckham, Sage

Successful Early Years Ofsted Inspectionsby Julian Grenier, Sage


Open to professional books that help practitioners, students or managers to improve their practice or provision

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