Developmental Psychology and Early Childhood Education

A Guide for Students and Practitioners

by David Whitebread

Subject categories
  • 1446254097
  • 9781412947121
  • 9781446254097
  • 9781446290095
The importance of high quality early childhood education is now universally recognised, and this quality crucially depends upon the practitioners who work with our young children, and their deep understanding of how children develop and learn. This book makes a vital contribution to this understanding, providing authoritative reviews of key areas of research in developmental psychology, and demonstrating how these can inform practice in early years educational settings.


The book's major theme is the fundamental importance of young children developing as independent, self-regulating learners. It illustrates how good practice is based on four key principles which support and encourage this central aspect of development:


- secure attachment and emotional warmth

- feelings of control and agency

- cognitive challenge, adults supporting learning and children learning from one another

- articulation about learning, and opportunities for self-expression.


Each chapter includes:

- typical and significant questions which arise in practice related to that area of development

- an up-to-date review of key research, including insights from observational and experimental work with young children, from evolutionary psychology, and from neuroscientific studies of the developing brain

- practical exercises intended to deepen understanding and to inform practice

- questions for discussion

- recommended further reading.


This book provides an invaluable resource for early years students and practitioners, by summarizing new research findings and demonstrating how they can be translated into excellent early years practice.

Watch this video of David Whitebread at his book launch, presenting the key points of the book and his reasons for writing it.


David Whitebread is Senior Lecturer in Developmental Psychology and Early Years Education in the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge.


David Whitebread will be discussing key ideas from Developmental Psychology and Early Childhood Education in the SAGE Early Years Masterclass, a free professional development experience hosted by Kathy Brodie. To sign up, or for more information, click here.

  • SAGE Publications; December 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446254097
  • Edition: 1
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF or secure ePub format
  • Title: Developmental Psychology and Early Childhood Education
  • Author: David Whitebread
  • Imprint: SAGE Publications Ltd
Subject categories
  • 1446254097
  • 9781412947121
  • 9781446254097
  • 9781446290095

In The Press

'David Whitebread introduces us to a rich array of recent research into early child development, showing how children master the ability to regulate their own learning when adults respect and value their play. His writing models the balance of emotional warmth and cognitive challenge which best supports self regulated learning'
Rod Parker-Rees, Associate Professor in Early Childhood Studies
University of Plymouth

'Despite covering a wide range of developmental psychology theories this is nevertheless a very practical book which students and experienced practitioners will find invaluable in helping to provide the best possible experiences for the young children in their care. It also provides a very effective guide to understanding the rationale behind the structure of the new EYFS framework'
Early Years Update