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UNDERSTANDING 4-5-YEAR-OLDS

by Lesley Maroni (Jessica Kingsley, £8.99, ISBN 9781843105343, www.jkp.com).

Reviewed by Jennie Lindon, psychologist and early years consultant.

It is refreshing to read a book that focuses on this age group as young individuals, not as children who have to be fitted into an adult-determined framework. Lesley Maroni explores sensitively how they try to make sense of daily life. She offers valuable descriptions of the ways children's perspective, and confusion, emerge through their play and conversation. Like others in the Understanding Your Child series from the Tavistock Clinic, the book is written both for parents and practitioners.

The author weaves in examples from practice and family life, and possible interpretations of young children's expressed feelings and actions. Everyone has to be cautious about the sense we make of the expressed thoughts and actions of young children. So, I would have preferred the author to acknowledge that everyone does not agree with her theoretical stance. It is an adult belief, not fact, that young children have sexual feelings about their opposite-sex parent, and that they are about to enter a latency period.

PRACTITIONER RESOURCE FOR PARENTS AS PARTNERS IN EARLY LEARNING

by NCH Dearne Community Children's Centre in Barnsley, South Yorkshire (NCH Publications, £60, plus £6.50 p&p, tel: 08457 626579)

Developed in partnership with parents and children, this resource provides simple guidance for practitioners working with parents and children that can be adapted to suit the needs of each child, family and setting. It provides:

- Clear, detailed sessions for children and parents

- Photocopiable hand-outs, plus CD-rom

- Music CD to accompany 'Let's move and make music' sessions.

PLAYING AND LEARNING OUTDOORS: MAKING PROVISION FOR HIGH-QUALITY EXPERIENCES IN THE OUTDOOR ENVIRONMENT

by Jan White (Routledge/Nursery World, £13.99, ISBN 978-0-415-41211-7, www.routledge.com/education)

Filled with useful advice and support, this book aims to help practitioners to develop rich and stimulating outdoor play opportunities. Topics covered include:

- Movement and physical play

- Playing with sand, natural materials and water

- Plants, living things and growing

- Construction, creative and imaginative play.

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