The Early Years Handbook Second Edition: A comprehensive guide to managing provision in the early years foundation stage by Pat Brunton and Linda Thornton seeks to make the complex role of leading and managing a high-quality early years setting a little more straightforward. Offering advice on a wide range of topics, from providing children with suitable learning opportunities, and the latest government policy, to developing your business model, recruitment and self-evaluation.
It's great to find a management resource that does ‘exactly what it says on the tin’! We found this ring-bound format publication an interesting and truly comprehensive guide to managing early years provision. It offers a step-by-step support framework for both new and established settings, and is refreshingly written by early years practitioners with non-experts firmly in mind. Each section is clear, concise, easy to follow with its bullet-pointed information, and rounded off with an extensive list of useful resources and sources of additional information. It has been written in a way that means anyone thinking of setting up an early years setting can pick it up and gain an insight into all aspects of provision, from early years policy to legal responsibilities and on to managing staff and children. It would make an ideal guide for members of voluntary committees who may have less experience of early years or business management. With information on everything from safer recruiting to disciplinary and grievance procedures it covers a lot of bases, and provides a simple framework for setting out a sustainable business model whilst ensuring all of your legal responsibilities are met.
We really liked the user friendly cross-referencing sections in each chapter that explain clearly how one area of provision impacts upon another. This was particularly useful for our management committee, as it helped us to explain EYFS delivery issues in simple and easy to understand terms. Although probably originally intended as a tool for new businesses, this guide would also make a great self-evaluation tool, helping existing management teams to assess and update their current policies and procedures in line with current guidance. The ring-bound format allows for easy updating, too, should there be changes to government policy in the future (there’s room for a copy of the new Early Years Guidelines or Development Matters!)
As if the comprehensive and clearly written nature of this guide were not helpful enough, the whole thing comes with a CD ROM containing templates of all major policies and forms mentioned for easy adaptation in your own setting. We found this particularly useful in helping us to ensure our policies and procedures were up to date.
In summary, then, this is a must-have for most settings, but especially for committee-led early years organisations, where the handbook will help to support committee members in a wide variety of roles – from HR, to finance, through to general early years provision. We will certainly be adding this to our committee induction resources. At £89 we thought it was definitely worth the investment.