The Child's Curriculum: Working with the Natural Values of Young Children

ISBN : 9780198747109

Colwyn Trevarthen; Jonathan Delafield-Butt; Aline-Wendy Dunlop
352 ページ
171 x 246 mm



  • A robust, evidence-based collection of knowledge and experience from policy makers and practitioners that informs and substantiates choices for best policy and practice in professional care and education of young children.
  • Combines scientific theory and practical know-how from leading scientists and practitioners to present a compelling case of children's value important for policy and practice.
  • Chapters covering nursery education, early communication, human movement, government support, excellent schools, affectionate care, companionship with teacher, learning in play, discovery of meaning, learning symbolic communication, inspiring 'common sense' present a holistic world view of young children.

All children are born with emotional talent. But if left untended, those talents can wane during the first five years of life. Children are sensitive and social beings from birth, exhibiting an innate enthusiasm for communication that must be satisfied for healthy development. If their feelings, agency, and motivations are met with affection, if they are respected and nurtured, then children will respond creatively and that inherent desire for companionship will flourish. 

However, with the recent changes in political and educational systems, early years education has seen a decline in focus on the emotional wellbeing of children and the development of their creativity. Those systems need to adapt if educators are to bring out the best in our future generations. By nurturing creativity and emotional wellbeing in the first five years of life, long term social benefits can be wrought. 

The book focusses on children's readiness for learning. It addresses the natural joy explicit in children's early conversations and engagement with music and their development through play with both adults and other children. This kind of education allows children to develop their bodies and skills, accept and understand their feelings, build relationships, and progress both their imagination and their problem solving skills. In this way, play with others drives development.

With contributors from the fields of psychological, educational, and political spheres, this book will be of interest to anyone concerned for the future of our children.


1: Defining the Child's Curriculum, and its role in the life of the community, Colwyn Trevarthen, Aline-Wendy Dunlop and Jonathan Delafield-Butt
2: What young children give to our learning, Colwyn Trevarthen
3: The Importance of Play, Tina Bruce
4: The emotional and embodied nature of human understanding: Sharing narratives of meaning, Jonathan Delafield-Butt
5: Access to Enriching Environments in Early Childhood: Paradise lost?, Chris Miles
6: The Evolved Developmental Niche and Children's Developing Morality, Angela M. Kurth and Darcia Narvaez
7: Children's Aesthetic Agency: The pleasures and power of imagination, Pauline von Bonsdorff
8: The Spiritual Strengths of Young Children, Rebecca Nye
9: Early human relations set the foundation for adult health and working life, Alan Sinclair and Tam Baillie
10: Gender balance in the childcare workforce: Why having more men in childcare is important, Kenny Spence and Gary Clapton
11: The Courage of Utopia, Robin Duckett and Catherine Reding
12: Child's Curriculum as a Gift: Opening up the early level curriculum in Scotland, Aline-Wendy Dunlop
13: Early childhood education and care policy: Beyond quantity and quality, for human development, Ingela K. Naumann
14: Communities Raising Children Together: Collaborative Consultation with a Place-Based Initiative in Harlem, Joshua Sparrow
15: Involving Parents in Their Children's Learning, Cath Arnold and Tracy Gallagher
16: Children's 'working theories' as curriculum outcomes, Sally Peters, Keryn Davis, and Ruta McKenzie
17: The spirit of the child inspires learning in the community: how can we balance this promise with the politics and practise of education?, Colwyn Trevarthen, Aline-Wendy Dunlop, and Jonathan Delafield-Butt


Edited by Colwyn Trevarthen, Professor (Emeritus) of Child Psychology and Psychobiology & Honorary Research Fellow in Psychology, University of Edinburgh, UK, Jonathan Delafield-Butt, Reader in Child Development and Director of the Laboratory for Innovation in Autism, University of Strathclyde, UK, and Aline-Wendy Dunlop, Emeritus Professor, School of Education, University of Strathclyde, UK
Colwyn Trevarthen studies how infants communicate. His work supports parents, teachers and therapists to give care and companionship to all children, including those suffering loneliness, shame, or disorders such as autism and depressive illness. He describes the talents of young children as a gift to the community, exploring how 'musicality' in movement communicates joy in play and story-telling. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a Member of the Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters, a Vice-President of the British Association for Early Childhood Education, and Advisor at the Research Base, Pen Green Centre for Under Fives and Families in Corby.

Jonathan Delafield-Butt is a developmental psychologist whose research examines the early origins of human experience and its embodied and emotional foundations. He researched brain development at Edinburgh, and infant and child development at Edinburgh and Copenhagen. He held scholarships at Harvard and the Institute for Advanced Studies at Edinburgh for science-philosophy bridgework on the mind-body relation. He trained pre-clinically in psychoanalytic psychotherapy and contributes to development in infant mental health. His work addresses principles of best practice in support of the social and emotional lives young children in education and clinical care, with attention to those with autism spectrum disorder. He is Reader in Child Development and Director of the Laboratory for Innovation in Autism.

In her current role, Aline-Wendy Dunlop has chosen to focus her research and writing interests on educational transitions, children's learning journeys, family engagement in education and practitioner identities, beliefs and practices. She also contributes to PG student supervision. She believes passionately in the importance of the Early Years in Scotland and is widely published. She is the Scottish Project Coordinator for the Scottish Transitions as a Tool for Change Project and CI the 'Child and Family Transitions: the role of childminders'; 'Autism and Film Literacies Project'; 'Narratives of Educational Transitions: A Longitudinal Study 3-18'. In 2013 Aline-Wendy was awarded an MBE for services to early childhood and autism in Scotland. She is a Vice-President of Early Education.

Tam Baillie Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People 
Professor Tina Bruce Roehampton University, UK 
Francesca Calvocoressi Human Development Scotland, UK 
Keryn Davis CORE Education, Christchurch, New Zealand 
Dr Jonathan Delafield-Butt University of Strathclyde, UK 
Robin Duckett Sightlines Initiative, UK 
Professor Aline-Wendy Dunlop School of Education, University of Strathclyde, UK 
Ms Angela M. Kurth Department of Psychology, University of Notre Dame, USA 
Chris Miles Forest Schools Group of the Forestry Commission, UK 
Professor Jacqueline Nadel Marie Curie University, France 
Professor Darcia Narvaez University of Notre Dame, France 
Dr Ingela Naumann School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh, UK 
Dr Rebecca Nye Open University, UK 
Professor Bruce Perry Academy in Houston, Texas, USA 
Assistant Professor Sally Peters University of Waikato, New Zealand 
Catherine Reding Sightlines Initiative, UK 
Alan Sinclair Centre for Confidence, UK 
Professor Josh Sparrow Harvard Medical School, USA 
Professor Colwyn Trevarthen University of Edinburgh, UK 
Professor Pauline von Bonsdorff University of Jyväskylä, Finland 
Dr Suzanne Zeedyk Developmental Psychology, University of Dundee, UK