Bristol Early Years Research and Development

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The BEYRD Reading List

We're in the process of compiling a list of recommended reading for all aspects of Early Years research.  If you have any suggestions for compelling reads you'd like to share with our readers, please get in touch with Lucy Beck, Website Manager.

We hope you find these suggestions for further reading helpful.  We have provided links where appropriate, but in many cases a subscription will be required to access a particular research article.  Where an article is available without charge on another website, we have included a link to that for your information.  In the case of subscription articles, we do not recommend any particular provider and suggest that you use the information provided below to help you identify the most appropriate research source for you.


Brooker, L. and S. Edwards.  (Eds.) (2010) Engaging Play. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

 This insightful and engaging collection brings together the perspectives of leading and emerging scholars in early childhood education and play from within Europe, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States of America. Each of these scholars considers, from their own theoretical standpoint, the ways that young children's play contributes to their learning and development. The chapters cover a variety of contexts and theoretical positions, demonstrating that the process of 'engaging' with the theory and practice of play can take many forms. A range of theoretical viewpoints of play are considered and related to the experiences of today's families, children and educators across different educational settings. The numerous contributors are likely to include many whose names you recognise and some new ones!


The Lost Boys, Save the Children.


Moss, J. and Washbrook L. Understanding the Gender Gap in Literacy and Language Development,  Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol.

Professionalism in Early Years:

Brock, A. and Rankin, C. (Eds.) Professionalism in the Interdisciplinary Early Years Team: Supporting Young Children and Their Families. London: Continuum Publishing Corporation.  Also available from Amazonand other booksellers.

This publication celebrates the professionalism of the varied practitioners who work with young children. It covers the key issues faced by early years practitioners, and moves on to consider particular roles within the early years team, including the early years professional, early years teacher, health professional, social worker, speech and language therapist and librarian. This text will be invaluable to those studying early years at undergraduate and postgraduate levels and a useful resource for leaders in early years settings and established early years practitioners who are undertaking continuing professional development courses.


Devarakonda, C. (2012) Diversity and Inclusion in Early Childhood: An Introduction. London: Sage Publications.

 Arguing that inclusion as a concept has been shrouded by confusion, misunderstandings and differences of opinion, the author emphasises that it remains a significant issue and has diverse origins and influences. This book offers an overview of current research, policy and practice in diversity and inclusion in the early years. With case studies and activities relating to diverse situations, the author discusses the main issues surrounding diversity and inclusion including race, gender, culture, disability and SEN, EAL and Traveller children.

Family Support:

Moakes, K. (2012) Professionalism in the interdisciplinary early years team: supporting young children and their families, Educational Research and Evaluation: An International Journal on Theory and Practice, 18(8), 799-802.

This is a book review of a publication that explores the variety and complexity of the ever-changing early years team, with the authors attempting to create a professional unity around the centrality of the needs of the child and their family.

Children's Cognitive Development:

Goswami, U. (2015) Children’s Cognitive Development and Learning: Full Research Report. Cambridge: Cambridge Primary Review, CPRT Research Survey 3.

The latest update of this important study will have resonance for all those working and engaged in research in the early years phases. It is written by Usha Goswami, an eminent neuroscientist and Director of the Centre for Neuroscience in Education at Cambridge University. It is one of a series of research reports commissioned by the Cambridge primary Review trust.

Goswami, U. (2015) Children’s Cognitive Development and Learning: Report Briefing. Cambridge: Cambridge Primary Review, Research Briefing 3

This document provides a summary of Goswami’s full report.

Birth to Three

Page, J., Nutbrown, C. and Clare, A. (2013) Working with Babies and Children: From Birth to Three. London: Sage Publications.

'The first edition of this book set a milestone in writing about under threes. This second edition builds on that great achievement: its thinking about loving interactions in nurseries marks it out for its bravery and profound importance for a new generation of practice' - Peter Elfer, University of Roehampton.

Early Childhood Teacher Research:

Castle, K. (2011) Early Childhood Teacher Research: From Questions to Results. London: Routledge.

 What is early childhood teacher research and why is it important? How does a teacher researcher formulate a research question and a plan for doing research? How do teachers apply research results to effect change? Early Childhood Teacher Research is an exciting new resource that will address the sorts of questions and concerns that pre- and in-service teachers of young children frequently have when engaging in teacher research. 

 The Significance of Counting by Effie Maclellan (1993)
This article highlights the importance of counting in the early years and how we should be counting more and reflecting upon the ‘matching’ and ‘sorting’ activities which was introduced by Jean Piaget over 40 years ago.

The Elephant in the Classroom: Helping Children Learn and Love Maths by Jo Boaler
Elephant in the Classroom coverWhy do millions struggle with mathematics and what can teachers do to change that? Jo Boaler has followed the progress of thousands of pupils in two countries (the UK and USA), monitoring how they learn maths through their school careers and then following them into adult life. This remarkable research is the foundation of her investigations into the impact that differing maths experiences can have on an entire generation. Jo Boaler outlines what has gone wrong, identifying the problems facing children in mathematics classrooms today and offers concrete solutions for parents and teachers that will revolutionise children s experiences with maths. The Elephant in the Maths Classroom offers concrete suggestions on ways to teach maths well, and ways to help children in the home, that will offer new and more effective ways of learning maths. This is an exciting way forward, a new approach that teaches children to reason and problem solve; helping all children, even those who think that they are maths failures and that they could never enjoy maths. An indispensable guide and resource for parents, teachers and educationalists, that inspires and enthuses as much as it teaches.

To purchase, go to the Souvenir Press website.  It is also available to buy on Amazon.

Vygotsky L (1933), Play and its role in the mental development of the child.  Available as part of The Marxists Internet Archive.

Aubrey, C. School of Education, University of Durham:  An investigation of children's knowledge of mathematics at school entry and the knowledge their teachers hold about teaching and learning mathematics, about young learners and mathematical subject knowledge.  British Educational Research Journal.

Van Oers, B.   Is it play? Towards a reconceptualisation of play from an activity theory perspective. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal.
For more articles by Bert van Oers, please visit his website at

Ginsburg, H. What is developmentally appropriate in early childhood mathematics education?

For an interesting interview with Dr Herbert Ginsburg, visit the Scholastic website

Haylock, D. Key Concepts in Teaching Primary Mathematics. Sage Publishing.

Covering the key principles and concepts in the teaching and learning of mathematics in primary schools, this text provides trainee and practising teachers with a quick and easy reference to what they need to know for their course, and in the classroom. The entries are arranged alphabetically, and each contains a brief definition, followed by an explanation and discussion, practical examples and annotated suggestions for further reading.


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