Childhood can only be understood in relation to the multitude of social factors which surround it. This book is written for students of degrees and foundation degrees in Early Years, Early Childhood Studies and related disciplines. It offers an introduction to the study of childhood and the different contexts within which childhood exists. The text encourages you to re-think childhood. It explores childhood from different contexts from the child within the family, to the global perspective. and the child's own perspective. It enables you to begin to understand childhood in relation to society and to develop the skills to look at childhood from a critical standpoint. This third edition includes a new chapter on The Philosophical Context - the early childhood tradition and the evolution of early years provision adding essential context to the current situation. It has been updated in line with recent changes in the Early Years sector and includes some critical examination of the current emphasis on school readiness.