Too Much, Too Soon?

Early Learning and the Erosion of Childhood

Too Much, Too Soon?
Richard House By (author)
Annette Brooke Foreword by
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Hawthorn Press

Limited ***

6.3 X 9.3 in
376 pg



Too Much, Too Soon? tackles the burning question of how to reverse the erosion of childhood by nurturing young children’s wellbeing and learning capacity. Children’s lives have been speeded up by commercialization, adultification, and government programs such as No Child Left Behind and the “nappy curriculum”— a controversial program in the Britain that requires children to hit a series of sixty-nine targets by age five—aspects of which “schoolify” early learners and push quasi-formal learning too soon.

Twenty-two hard-hitting chapters by leading educators, researchers, policy-makers, and parents advocate for alternative ways for slowing childhood, better policy-making, and, most important, the right learning at the right time in children’s growth, when they are developmentally ready.


PART I: Policy Making and the Erosion of Childhood:
The Case of the Early Years Foundation Stage

1. The EYFS and the Real Foundations of Children’s Early Years – Penelope Leach
2. Challenging Government Policy-making for the Early Years:
Early Open EYE Contributions – Margaret Edgington, Richard House, Lynne Oldfield, and Sue Palmer
3. Against the Government’s Grain: The Experience of Forging a Path to EYFS Exemption – John Dougherty
4. The Impact of the EYES on Childminders – Arthur and Pat Adams
5. A Parent’s Challenge to New Labour’s Early Years Foundation Stage – Frances Laing
6. The Tickell Review of the Early Years Foundation Stage: An “Open EYE” dialogue – The Open Eye Campaign

PART II: The Foundations of Child Development and Early Learning:
Perspectives, Principles and Practices

7. The Myth of Early Stimulation for Babies – Sylvie Hétu
8. Current Perspectives on the Early Childhood Curriculum – Lilian Katz
9. Physical Foundations for Learning – Sally Goddard Blythe
10. The Unfolding Self –The Essence of Personality – Kim Simpson
11. The Democratization of Learning – Wendy Ellyatt
12. The Steiner Waldorf Foundation Stage 
13. Can We Play? – David Elkind
14. Play – Transforming Thinking – Tricia David
15. Challenging the Reggio Emilia Approach with Relational Materialist Thinking and an Ethics of Potentialities – Hillevi Lenz Taguchi

Part III: Advocacy, Research and Policy Making
for Children’s Early Years’ Learning

16. “If I Wanted My Child to Learn to Read and Write, I Wouldn’t Start from Here” – Sue Palmer
17. Viewing the Long-Term Effects of Early Reading with an Open Eye – Sebastian Suggate
18. Early Childhood Research and its Political Usage: Some Cautionary Remarks – Richard House
19. Does Not Compute, Revisited: Screen Technology in Early Years Education – Aric Sigman
20. An Inveterate Early Childhood Campaigner – Margaret Edgington interviewed by Richard House

Part IV: Ways Ahead to Achievable Futures

21. Education and Paradigm Shift – Grethe Hooper Hansen
22. Early Childhood: A Policy-Making Perspective – Barry Sheerman
Towards the Future: Implications and Recommendations for Educationalists and Policy-makers – Wendy Scott and Richard House

Afterword – Richard Brinton and Gabriel Millar


“The world of childhood is seldom represented in the educational bureaus of national governments. Governmental schools do not have the goal of fostering the authentic inner lives of our children. Instead, they focus on turning out productive and obedient citizens armed with the skills needed to take their places in the market-place. It may be that someday the pleas of those who truly understand the lives of children will be heeded by such national governments! This collection of distinguished essays addressing the need to care for the inner lives of our young might possibly help to being about such a change – but the adamancy of governments is notorious, so one can but hope!” Mary Leue, Founder and Director of The Free School, Albany, New York

Author Bio

Richard House, Ph.D. is Senior Lecturer at the Research Centre for Therapeutic Education, University of Roehampton, London. He is a Steiner kindergarten educator and founder/member of the Open EYE campaign. With Sue Palmer, he orchestrated the two Daily Telegraph Open Letters on "toxic" childhood (2006) and play (2007). He writes extensively on childcare, education, and psychotherapeutic issues. Dr. House is the author of numerous articles and several books on psychotherapy and education.

Annette Brooke, MP, was Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Children, Young People, and Families before the 2010 General Election, a post she took up in February 2004. She has been elected Vice Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Groups for Children and Parents and Families, and elected Co-Chair of the group for Adoption and Fostering. Ms. Brooke was proud to be made a British Parliamentary Ambassador for the NSPCC in November 2006. She is married with two adult daughters and a granddaughter.