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This book explores the historical and philosophical ideas underpinning practice in early childhood and primary education. It pulls together key extracts from influential sources and provides helpful editorial commentary explaining the importance of each article to provide an essential reader in early childhood and primary education. It enables easy access to key theoretical ideas and seminal texts to provide a firm understanding of such ideas, as well as placing current issues within an historical and theoretical context. Reflective tasks provide opportunities for the reader to stand back from current practice and beliefs to review their own philosophy of education. These tasks, together with the editorial commentary, help develop the necessary understandings and insights to engage in critical debate on current issues in professional practice. Although early years and primary education are often seen as separate stages of development, children are expected to progress from one stage to another in a seamless way and the historical and philosophical ideas influencing practice at the different stages are often the same or similar. The book supports education professionals to understand and reflect on children's experiences across a range of stages. This is an ideal book for students on Early Childhood Studies, Early Years and Primary Education courses, as well as professionals working with children from birth to 11 years of age.