Teaching the Foundation Stage

Editor(s) Keating I
Publisher Exeter: Learning Matters
Published 2002
Pages 200
ISBN 1903300339
Reviewed by Jay Deeble
King Alfred's College, Winchester
Review published 1 December 2004

This is another excellent addition to the Meeting the professional standards for QTS series. The series structure is immediately accessible to a busy student and has the air of a professional briefing. Each chapter is tightly focussed on a particular area. End of chapter summaries are provided which allow the reader to search for a particular point remembered. There are frequent classroom stories which give evidence of behaviour or learning from the classroom, and are immediately approachable to the developing professional. There are frequent practical tasks, allowing the student to apply what they have read and to relate it to their own learning. This encourages the independent learning which will be essential in a career where so much CPD is managed independently by the professional.

The book contains articles by the tutorial team at Manchester Metropolitan University and is edited by Iris Keating, an Early Years practitioner, currently leading CPD in her area. The chapters are:
The Foundation Stage and meeting Early Learning Goals
Working with parents and other carers: enhancing learning opportunities
Roles and responsibilities of other professionals in the lives of young children
Planning to meet the physical and creative development needs of young children
Developing children as independent and confident learners: personal, social and emotional development
Communication, language and literacy
Developing mathematical understanding and the foundations of numeracy
Knowledge and understanding of the World
ICT in the Foundation Stage
Monitoring Assessment, Recording, Reporting and Accountability
What makes an effective Foundation Stage Teacher?

This structure outlines how the Foundation stage works, and the extent to which all adults contribute to the lives of young children. It then explains each of the areas of learning in the Early Learning Goals. IT is refreshing to see that there are areas of children's development which are introduced before literacy and numeracy. The emphasis is very much upon the whole child. There are clear outlines of principal areas of current thinking, with frequent useful references for a busy teacher to follow up. Contrasting views are presented, which is broadens the range of thinking to which students are introduced. The text is clearly laid out and subtitled which makes it very easy for any student to use it to take notes.

I would recommend this book as a key text for any initial teacher trainee. It is provides an excellent introduction to the foundation stage for any primary teacher. It also provides sufficient detail to act as a core text for the early years specialist to work from.