Early childhood is a phase of rapid development and learning. Diverse social and cultural relationships shape the young childs identity and learning. In the early years, it is therefore crucial to connect with the world of the children, to nurture holistic learning and to build and work in partnership with others within a community network that supports young children and their learning. This unit takes a holistic and broad socio-cultural approach to teaching and learning across the early years. The ecology of childhood, past and present socio-cultural themes and interdisciplinary influences on early childhood education are examined from multiple perspectives. Contemporary directions, issues and challenges are examined through three interconnecting lenses, historical, present and a futures perspective Advocacy for the learner is advanced through the notion of building effective partnerships within a community that supports lifelong learning and promotes continuity of learning. A range of powerful reflective processes are used to assist educators to critically reflect on their own assumptions about childhood, teaching and learning in the early years and to name and critique connections between new conceptions of knowledge and practical applications within their own professional practice.