Challenging Early Learning

Helping Young Children Learn How to Learn

By James Nottingham and Jill Nottingham (2019)

This book is amazing. What a resource! I think it is terrific value for money. I would rate it as one of the best books I have ever seen us publish. I wish I had had this book when my children were little. Parents would definitely benefit from a read of this book.
Vicki Johnson, Taylor and Francis Group, New Zealand

Highlights of the book include:
  • Proven strategies for helping young children (particularly those aged 3-7) grow into curious, resilient, happy, articulate and thoughtful learners
  • Growth mindset strategies that build self-efficacy and self-esteem
  • Questioning techniques to engage and extend children’s thinking
  • Photocopiable activity cards to support language and boost confidence
  • Practical ‘Now Try This’ sections to link theory with practice
  • A ‘Review’ section that focuses on building a broad tool kit of pedagogical strategies
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“Challenging Early Learning is a fabulous book. It contains many concrete tips and ideas that can be used right away with young children. At the end of the book there are also specific activities that can be done in small groups. Indeed, we have already implemented many of the general methods in our pre-school and the children (and their parents) have responded very positively. I highly recommend this book.”

JAnna Käcko-Englund, Pre-School Leader, Vörå, Finland

What makes this book different?

Challenging Early Learning is written primarily for Early Childhood professionals working in childcare, after-school care or kindergartens. Parents with a background in education, child psychology, or social care will also appreciate the insights and guidance. The book shares some of the best ways to enhance young children’s learning (particularly for children aged 3-7-years-old).

Book Features

As Arthur Schopenhauer once said, “Buying books would be a good thing if one could also buy the time to read them in; but as a rule, the purchase of books is mistaken for the appropriation of their contents.”

With that in mind, Challenging Early Learning has several features to help navigate the book, including:

  • Margin notes with summaries of content and key points
  • Section numbers to support navigation and cross-referencing (they also remain constant – unlike page numbers – when the book is translated into other languages)
  • ‘Now Try This’ sections to guide and support professional learning

Intended Audience

Suitable for all staff working with children aged 3-7-years-old and those with special educational needs. Also suitable for parents/carers with a background in education, child development, or psychology.

“An inspirational guide to creating learning activities that are thought-provoking and meaningful, and at the same time respectful of the most up-to-date and impressive research into how young children learn best.”
Professor Carol Dweck, Author of Mindset, Stanford University CA
“I like the layout of this book; I can quickly access the key points as well as delve deeper into the theory and strategies underpinning the best early years practice. The ‘Now Try This’ sections add to my learning and help me to embed what I am learning into personal practical examples.”
Anni Hungeberg Koefoed, Daycare Centre Leader, Aarhus, Denmark
“I bought Challenging Early Learning as I wanted to know more about creating intriguing and collaborative activities for my kindergarten kids. It has surpassed my expectations – the book is excellent! I particularly like the margin notes (as they have helped me to gain insight into the main ideas quickly) and the activity resources at the back of the book (because I’ve been able to use them straight away and my kids love them!) I definitely recommend anyone working in Early Childhood get hold of a copy of this book!”
Tameika Anderson, Rosedale Kindergarten, NSW, Australia
“A book which has really made me think about challenge in and out of the classroom as a key element of learning. The explanation of feedback has made me rethink how I run observation and learning walks in our foundation stage (in fact, right across the school). Practical ideas on how to improve challenge and dialogue have already had a positive impact on the children (and staff).”
Mary Benfield, Assistant Headteacher, St Mary’s Primary School, London, England

“An inspirational guide to creating learning activities that are thought-provoking and meaningful, and at the same time respectful of the most up-to-date and impressive research into how young children learn best”

Professor Carol Dweck, Author of Mindset, Stanford University CA

“I like the layout of this book; I can quickly access the key points as well as delve deeper into the theory and strategies underpinning the best early years practice. The ‘Now Try This’ sections add to my learning and help me to embed what I am learning into personal practical examples.”

Anni Hungeberg Koefoed, Daycare Centre Leader, Aarhus, Denmark

“I bought Challenging Early Learning as I wanted to know more about creating intriguing and collaborative activities for my kindergarten kids. It has surpassed my expectations – the book is excellent! I particularly like the margin notes (as they have helped me to gain insight into the main ideas quickly) and the activity resources at the back of the book (because I’ve been able to use them straight away and my kids love them!) I definitely recommend anyone working in Early Childhood get hold of a copy of this book!”

Tameika Anderson, Rosedale Kindergarten, NSW, Australia

“A book which has really made me think about challenge in and out of the classroom as a key element of learning. The explanation of feedback has made me rethink how I run observation and learning walks in our foundation stage (in fact, right across the school). Practical ideas on how to improve challenge and dialogue have already had a positive impact on the children (and staff).”

Mary Benfield, Assistant Headteacher, St Mary’s Primary School, London, England

Related Links

Taking Nursery Children into the Learning Pit

Carol Dweck Talking About Praising Children

Challenging Early Learning at Highweek Primary School

Sharing Learning Goals with Children in Skanderborg, Denmark

Related Links