This is a good time to take stock of all the great books and resources available to you, as students, to support your studies. So, here are my personal top 10 recommendations.
1. Linda Pound’s ‘How Children Learn’ series, which gives details of the philosophies, lives and works of a wide range of educational theorists. These books are particularly good because they are clear with plenty of references for further reading.
2. Colette Gray and Sean MacBlain’s book is also about learning theories, but takes it one step further with critiques and comparisons of the theories. This makes it a good book for both new and returning students – who will be expected to engage in critical analysis at the higher levels.
3. Jennie Lindon’s excellent Understanding Child Development has been recently updated and revised, and has a strong focus on the Prime Areas in the EYFS, making this an ideal companion book for modules on Early Years Curriculum.
4. Vicky Hutchin has brought out a bang up to date book to support the revised EYFS. It is a beautiful and very accessible book, with full colour photos and plenty of good advice.
5. Linda Miller and Linda Pound join forces in Theories and approaches to learning in the early years. This is an edited book, meaning that each chapter is written by a different, but well known, author. This enables a range of views about subjects such as HighScope, Montessori, Froebel and critical issues can all be explored in the one book.
6. Alice Paige-Smith and Anna Craft’s second edition of Developing Reflective Practice is another edited book with some excellent chapters on reflection and professional practice. This is particularly good if this is the first time you have had to do formal reflective practice or if you are going to have to put together a portfolio of evidence of professional practice.
7. Observation, Assessment and Planning: Bringing it all Together I may be biased, but this book is particularly useful for those assignments where you have to link observations to child development and next steps. I have included details of different types of observations, along with a really useful comparison table. I have given plenty of examples and case studies, so you can clearly see how to underpin the next steps with relevant theory.
8. Moving away from books for just a minute, I would always recommend a read of Nursery World magazine for the latest news, views and articles. As a subscriber, you can also access these online or you may be able to access them via your College or University library. In addition, look for Early Years Educator (EYE) magazine (red top with yellow font). This is a monthly magazine, so occasionally the news is a bit out of date, but the articles are much longer and are in more depth. They are also written in an academic style, with references to follow up at the end of each article.
9. Another great source of information is Twitter, where you can follow peers and academics to get a different perspective on Early Years. An excellent blogger and tweeter is David Renfree (@UCBChildEd) who picks up on current issues but also has a great blog with some really interesting resources.
10. Google Scholar “Stand on the Shoulders of Giants” is a search engine for more academic writing, journals, research etc. These are often peer reviewed, so you be sure that the writing is in line with current thinking about the topic you are researching and have been critically reviewed.
11. The best resource you will have is the other students on the course and your tutors. Undoubtably the other students will have a range of skills and knowledge that can be shared, whether it is about practice, experiences, good books or interesting magazines. Everyone can gain by working together and making the most of this opportunity. Similarly, your tutor will have knowledge and experience, not only with teaching but also working in settings, health visiting, local authority, for example, and in many other areas of work.
As a final note: Enjoy your course and don’t forget to have some fun along the way.
8th Jan 2017: Jake on Twitter ( @J_F_5622 ) also recommends: Communication, Language and Literacy in the Early Years Foundation Stage by Helen Bradford Thanks Jake!