Category Archives: e-book/journal

3 new free textbooks from BCcampus

Open-Textbooks-StickerThese excellent online textbooks may be freely downloaded by students, teachers and members of the public.

British Columbia’s Open Textbook Project began in 2012 and so far contains over 70 openly licensed textbooks, each available to read online, download in PDF, ePub and mobi (Kindle) formats for free, or as low-price printed books, and educators may use, re-use, modify, and adapt the books to fit course requirements. Here I’m looking at three examples of interest to the children’s workforce.

1. Introduction to Psychology
This is a 695-page textbook aimed at first-year university students. It has 16 chapters and is in full colour – but note that this results in the PDF being a 39MB download. It is designed to help students organise their thinking about psychology at a conceptual level, and each section also includes learning objectives, key takeaways, exercises and critical thinking activities, making it highly interactive. Many in the children’s workforce will immediately want to read Chapter 7: Growing and Developing, which includes prenatal development, infancy and childhood.
Download Introduction to Psychology here:

2. Introduction to Sociology
This is a 717-page textbook again aimed at first-year university students. It has 21 chapters and is in full colour – but the PDF file size is larger still, being a 71MB download.
This textbook adheres to the scope and sequence of a typical introductory sociology course, organized so that topics are introduced conceptually, with relevant, everyday experiences. I began by reading Chapter 5: Socialization and Chapter 14: Marriage and Family, and found both chapters attractive and stimulating.
Download Introduction to Sociology here: by

3. Supporting Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities & Mental Illness
This is a 111-page black & white textbook with 7 chapters, so the PDF is a much smaller download, being just 1.2MB. Unlike the two titles above, this one has a more vocational nature, and although children and childhood issues are covered throughout, the target audience of the book appears to be carers of adults. Each chapter presents up-to-date evidence-informed practice knowledge, and for those interested mainly in ‘what to do’, text box summaries are provided for reading and listening. Throughout the book there are links to corresponding mp3 audio clips, which makes reading the book an engaging experience.
Download Supporting Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities & Mental Illness here: by

If you want to discover more about the BCcampus Open Textbook Project, you can do so at:, where you can also search their whole collection via


Free Early Years Outdoors & Play books

This pair of full-colour resource books for Early Years practitioners are feely available online from Northern Ireland Curriculum.

1. Learning Outdoors in the Early YearsOutdoor-Planning-Norther-Ireland
This 158-pages book was first published in 2005, before Forest Schools really took off. It is a useful resource for learning outdoors immediately outside your setting, rather than in a remote woodland. It is a 3MB download.

2. Learning Through Play in the Early Years 91395457
This 163-pages resource book was compiled by the Early Years Interboard panel in response to requests for guidelines on provision and progression in play. It is a 5.2MB download.

Both books are very attractive, with lots of charts and bullet-point lists. They are not textbooks; instead, with their full-colour photographs, they really stimulate your thinking – I became increasingly impatient to try out some of their ideas! I can imagine pages from these books working really well as slides projected onto a wall or screen during staff or volunteer training sessions – just select the pages that correspond with the topics you are covering.

For anyone interested in the academic provenance the above two books, Northern Ireland Curriculum also hosts a collection of research on the Early Years Enriched Curriculum by Queen’s University Belfast, including a very useful literature review of play-based pedagogy.

The Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development

child-encyclopediaThis free online Encyclopedia was developed to provide readers from around the world with access to the best information available on the development of young children.

Since 2007 it has brought together articles written by internationally renowned experts on topics having to do with the development of young children, from conception to the age of five. Most of the topics addressed are explored from three perspectives: development, services and policy. In addition, for each topic there is a synthesis that provides, in a simplified format, the key points that will be most useful to practitioners and planners.

The majority of users are people who work with children, including educators, nurses, psychologists, and social workers, regular visitors who, in 80% of cases, use the information they find in their work; for example, as a reference they can share with parents. This is helpfully facilitated by the Encyclopedia being published in four languages: English, Français, Español and Português.

The Encyclopedia is produced by the Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development and the Strategic Knowledge Cluster on Early Childhood Development at the Université de Montréal in Canada. It may be reproduced for educational and non-profit purposes.

I first learned of this resource via Suzanne Schlechte’s pinterest board ‘Early Childhood Education‘; thanks Suzanne!