13th May 2005 at 01:00
RUMPUS: planning behaviour groups for parents and carers of young children. By Dr Hannah Mortimer and Catterick Garrison Health Visitors. Step by Step: helping parents and carers support young children's development

QEd Publications pound;6 each.

There's been a quiet revolution in early years education. A body of expertise, theoretical and practical, is growing fast, but it's scattered among many small institutions. While local authority and other advisers and co-ordinators work hard to bring things together, any sharing of good practice is to be welcomed, and that is the focus of these two books.

Rumpus stands (a little awkwardly) for "Are you Ma's and Pa's Under Stress?" and is about starting up and running a pre-school behaviour group.

It's filled with ideas for songs and games and also for management techniques to pass on to parents. For example: "An ABC Diary. Ask parents to keep a diary in their notebook recording what the child was doing, what seemed to lead up to it and what the consequences were."

Step by Step is about working with groups of parents whose children are showing signs of developmental delays. Again, there are lots of ideas; music figures strongly. Both books, importantly, go much further than activity ideas, and provide practical advice on organisation and management: finding the right room, contacting families, collecting resources. There are more books in the series, all based on experience with families, and they're essential reading for anyone who has any sort of responsibility for young children as teacher, parent or carer.

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