Professional book reviews July 2022

The professional reviews here include a well-awaited book, Early Childhood Theories Today, and a truly timely text by Aisha Thomas, exploring representation and addressing how we can become anti-racist educators.

Embedding sustainability: The wider picture

Why is it important to embed sustainability into our early years provision and how can providers do that? Janet King explores these questions, with the view of the early years being at the forefront of this pressing issue for the education sector.

Opinion: Mind your language!

Tantrum – What's the fuss? Let's talk about words. Spastic. Retard. Retarded. All terms used in the globally renowned Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) until recently, to describe a neurodivergent person. It is thanks to the former President of America, Barrack Obama (2010), that such terms were replaced – only in 2013. Did the inclusion of these terms in this clinicians' and psychiatrists' handbook make it acceptable?

Government proposals: The ratios debate

The aim of the relaxing of ratios is said to be in response to the cost of living crisis we currently find ourselves in. Understandably, action needs to be taken to alleviate the financial pressures on families and individuals across the country. However, is it right that children and early years staff should pay the price?

Opinion: Childcare agencies can help more

Laura Midgley reflects on the Nursery World article Business Challenges: Part 1 - Let it flow, suggesting how childcare agencies can step up to support early years settings at the time when cashflow and budgeting is proving to be an impossible task.

News analysis: A lasting focus on mental health

I'm writing this at the end of Mental Health Awareness Week. The importance of reflecting on mental health has possibly never been higher, perhaps this is particularly true for the youngest children, who have had a significant part of their lives disrupted.

Sector insight: Ofsted's strategic plan

In April 2022, Ofsted published its latest strategic plan, covering the five years from 2022 to 2027. Ahead of publication of the new strategy, HMCI Amanda Spielman had said that her focus was going to be on the early years sector, and so practitioners and settings were keen to find out what this meant for them. But what does Ofsted's strategic plan look like in reality, on the ground, for settings? Sue Cowley explores the details.

Emotional literacy: Inclusion and children with SEND

The following article discusses Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and inclusion. It outlines how to create an inclusive environment and discusses the importance of emotional literacy within inclusion. As with my previous articles the effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic will be discussed throughout and the impact it had specifically on children with SEND.

Focus: Becoming more environmentally friendly

With up to a million animal and plant species facing extinction within the next few decades, it is vital that children understand from an early age how to look after our planet. (1) If we show children, through our everyday habits, how we protect the planet then it is more likely they will do so too.

Art in practice: Tiny voices, giant ideas

This is the final of three articles, which have explored and discussed artist involvement in early years settings. This final article gives voices to the parents/carers, practitioners and students who share their experiences of working together and their reflections on children's learning.

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