The authors draw on their extensive early years experience to provide a comprehensive and up-to-date review of the key issues in the field of early childhood care and education. In this fully updated and revised new edition, rewritten to include the new Early Years Foundation Stage, students will find that this text now meets the needs of students on Foundation degrees, Early Childhood Degrees and the new Early Years Professional qualification. Topics covered in this essential textbook include: an overview of the principles of effective practice discussions on equal opportunities and children's rights an update of the latest development theories relating to brain development and how children learn and the difficulties children may face in their learning investigations into what working with parents really means consideration of the different early years systems in operation summaries of key management issues and useful information on how to address them comparison with European perspectives on early years care and education the importance of play in children's early learning. Readers of this second edition will also find the expansion of existing chapters in order to include topics such as inclusion, transitions, child protection in relation to the internet and partnerships with parents. The book covers the whole age range from birth to eight years with a special section on the birth to three years age group. Each chapter is fully referenced and has case studies or reflective practice boxes within the text. Informative and engaging, the book challenges the reader to think about how underlying theory may be reflected in practice. It will be essential reading for all students who are studying for early childhood qualifications at levels four, five and six.