Student Review: Parents and Professionals in Early Childhood Settings

November 3, 2011

Authors: Glenda MacNaughton and Patrick Hughes

Edition: First

Publisher: Open University Press/McGraw-Hill

Pages: 232

Price: £60.00 and £19.99

ISBN 9780335243723, 243730 and 243747 (e-book)

This text discusses one of the most important, yet frequently one of the most complex, aspects of working with young children, namely building positive relationships with their parents/carers. Thankfully this book does not resort to providing a list of activities such as newsletters, communication boards and meetings that parents and staff in early childhood settings are already all too aware of.

Instead it seeks to explore five "unfair thinking habits" that can lead to unjust relationships between parents and staff. They are as follows: essentialising, homogenising, othering, privileging and silencing. These are phrases that most students will not be familiar with (they were new to me), but this book explores all of them in an accessible way. It uses real-life examples of practice in each chapter to explore a topic, for example, cultural issues, differing languages and gender. That subject is then reinforced with relevant research that enables readers to deepen their understanding of the topic.

The book is arranged in a way that offers the opportunity to read a chapter at a time if a specific issue emerges, or it can be read from start to finish. Owing to the diverse topics covered, either of these options is easily done. There are also opportunities for further reading if a particular topic captures your interest. The authors draw on research from studies that focus on the US, New Zealand, Israel and many more countries, thereby offering a useful variety of perspectives that allow students to gain contrasting views of the topics.

The book offers ample opportunities to reflect on practice and poses questions to encourage readers to relate the issues to their own personal circumstances. These questions, alongside the real-life experiences considered in the book, would be useful to help student groups discuss the different aspects of working with parents.

The authors present an interesting argument that parents sometimes have valid reasons for not being involved in their children's care and education, thereby offering some controversial alternatives to traditional views of parental involvement. This argument, as well as many other well-researched views, makes this an informative and thought-provoking read.

Who is it for? Students with experience of working in early-years settings, lecturers teaching the subject and early-years education professionals.

Presentation: Easy to read, with straightforward access to relevant information.

Would you recommend it? Definitely, for anyone interested in the subject and who has some prior knowledge of working with parents in the early years.

Highly recommended

Introducing Bruner: A Guide for Practitioners and Students in Early Years Education

Author: Sandra Smidt

Edition: First

Publisher: Routledge/Taylor & Francis

Pages: 134

Price: £75.00 and £17.99

ISBN 9780415574204 and 57421


Teaching Early Reading and Phonics: Creative Approaches to Early Literacy

Authors: Kathy Goouch and Andrew Lambirth

Edition: First

Publisher: SAGE

Pages: 144

Price: £60.00 and £18.99

ISBN 9781849204217, 04224 and 446247853 (e-book)

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