Early Years Work-Based Learning

Series Early Childhood Studies
Editor(s) Penny Farrelly
Publisher Learning Matters Limited
Published 2010
Pages 136
Price £14.00
ISBN 9781844456154
Reviewed by Dr Margaret Simms
Review published 15 December 2010

Early Years Work-based Learning: A guide for students of early years and childhood studies is edited by a former Health Visitor.  The book draws also on knowledge and experience of two former early years practitioners and a community school nurse.

The aim of the book is to 'encourage and support students studying for a Foundation Degree in Early Years, Early Childhood Studies or Working with Children and Young People'.  It seeks to 'address concerns and alleviate anxieties' as students commence and persist with their studies.   

In Chapter 1, Penny Farrelly captures, in a 'nut-shell', the essence of Foundation Degrees as straddling FE and HE, validated and monitored by HE and inclusive of employer involvement and there is a clear sense of what work-based learners should expect from a Foundation Degree.

Curiously, Chapter 2 'The Early Years Sector in the UK: Current Context' introduces the National Childcare Strategy Meeting the Childcare Challenge, then launches into a historical account of childhood from medieval times to the present day. The inclusion of the word 'historical' in the title would perhaps, like the chapter’s conclusion, more accurately reflect the content of the chapter.

A clearer link could be made between activities and how they relate to the chapters they are designed to illustrate.  Students would also benefit from clarification of terms such as 'associate professional level' and some activities have rather loaded questions, such as 'identify a list of reasons why work-based learning is such a good approach for practitioners to take'.  More nuanced discussion of such sweeping statements such as 'It is generally agreed that Early Years Services are better when they are led by graduate practitioners' would also be appreciated.

The strength of the book lies in its ability to provoke thought, discussion and further research around Early Years work-based learning.  It is therefore suitable for Higher Education lecturers and work-based learners.