A regular enquiry from new Early Childhood or Early Years students is what books they should be buying when starting their course. So what follows is a collection of titles that you might want to consider obtaining if you're beginning your studies this September, although purchasing them all may be a little ambitious!
This isn't a comprehensive list as students are expected to read around each topic they cover, and also different students will cover different subjects depending on which options they select during their course. The links I've put in all point towards the Amazon website, but other booksellers are available... :-)
Some sort of generic early years textbook is usually a good idea as it will be of use to you in most areas that you cover. Two suggestions for useful titles include Early Childhood Studies (Johnston & Nahmad-Williams) and the similarly titled Early Childhood Studies (Parker-Rees et al).
Many of the enquiries that I deal with from first year students are tied up with child development. There are literally dozens of titles available in this area, but some that you might consider include Child Development: Theory & Practice 0-11 (Doherty & Hughes), Understanding Child Development 0-8 Years (Lindon) or Understanding Children's Development (Smith, Cowie & Blades). In particular, students often ask about different theorists who are associated with child development - a very useful book that deals with most of these (Piaget, Vygotsky, Skinner etc) is Fifty Key Thinkers in Psychology (Sheehy), which gives a brief overview of the ideas of various important figures.
Another area that you will be covering is the idea of professionalism in your field - New Early Years Professional (Nurse) and Leadership and Early Years Professionalism (Lindon) are two fairly recent titles which contain information that will be useful to you.
Recommending books that cover the area of childhood policy is a little trickier as the sector has experienced so many changes in recent times, and is continuing to evolve. However, Policy Issues in the Early Years (Miller & Hevey) and Contemporary Issues in the Early Years (Pugh & Duffy) are two titles which are still relatively up-to-date and address some of the current political changes and debates.
Regarding child protection and the various processes involved, you could do worse than get hold of Multi-Agency Working in the Early Years (Gasper) or the more recent Safeguarding Babies & Young Children (Powell & Uppal).
And a few others that deal with topics that students regularly enquire about: for information on observations, Child Observation for Learning and Research (Papatheodorou & Luff) is worth a read, while Understanding Children's Behaviour 0-11 Years (Lindon) is an accessible book covering different behaviour issues. At some point you're certainly going to have to write about play, so try taking a look at the most recent edition of The Excellence of Play (Moyles). Books on the brand new EYFS are still a little thin on the ground, but the imminent The EYFS: a Practical Guide for Students & Professionals (Hutchin) looks like it'll be very valuable if the summary is anything to go by.
Of course, by your final year you'll be thinking about writing your dissertation, in which case Doing Your Early Years Research Project (Roberts-Holmes) should be very helpful. Also, while Doing Your Research Project (Bell) is not specifically aimed at early years students, it's still a very accessible, easy-to-use book for undergraduate researchers.
That should give you plenty of food for thought! If you think I've missed something, feel free to share your suggestions by leaving a comment. And to find out about useful online information and the latest developments in the sector, you'll just need to keep visiting this site...