Work matters: Reviews - For your shelf

Professional books

Childhood, Well-Being and a Therapeutic Ethos edited by Richard House and Del Loewenthal (Karnac Books, ISBN 978-1855756335)

Reviewed by Dr Maria Robinson, early years consultant and author

This is a timely and extremely interesting book comprising a series of essays by well-known writers and researchers, including the two authors. A foreword by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, sets the tone of the book.

The book is divided into four parts. The first has three essays, including one by Sue Palmer expanding on her theme of a 'toxic childhood', and Bob Reitemeier discusses the recent Children's Society inquiry. Christopher Clouder looks at the challenge of modern childhood and 'our common human sense of responsibility'.

The second section includes Sue Gerhardt's reminder of the importance of infant experiences. Section Three takes a more therapeutic stance, with an extremely interesting and challenging essay by Kathyrn Eccleston. Section 4 is devoted to the importance of play, with some case study examples of the roots of playfulness.

There is a huge amount of both information and reflection within each of the chapters by the various authors, all of whom are prominent in their respective fields, and so this book will prove a very useful resource to a wide range of both practising professionals and students. It is not an especially easy read, but is rewarding and thought-provoking.

Parents as Partners - Positive Relationships in the Early Years by Jennie Lindon (Practical Pre-school Books, £12.50, ISBN 978-1-90457-593-1)

This guide on how to work effectively with parents is divided into three sections: the meaning of partnership; relationships and communication, and different kinds of involvement. It combines the principles and ethos of good practice with practical advice, points for reflections and case studies.

Early Childhood Matters - Evidence from the Effective Pre-school and Primary Education project edited by Kathy Sylva, Edward Melhuish, Pam Sammons, Iram Siraj-Blatchford and Brenda Taggart

This book documents the rapid development of early years education and care from the late 1990s and chronicles the contribution of the Effective Pre-school and Primary Education (EPPE) research. The EPPE project is the largest European study of the impact of early years education and care on children's outcomes and has had a major impact on policy and practice.

Helping young children cope with difficult times by Sally Featherstone and Clare Beswick (A&C Black, £19.99, ISBN 978-1-4081-1464-3)

Part of the Tough Times series, this book looks at what a child might be feeling at tricky times such as the arrival of a sibling, moving house or just feeling angry, and offers advice for early years practitioners on how to respond and support them.

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