This reader contains source material for an up-to-date study of child development as it applies to major issues in child care and education. The emphasis is on studying early childhood in cultural contexts - in families and in preschool settings. Part 1 elaborates a socio-cultural approach to early development, taking emotional attachment, communication and language and daycare as examples. Part 2 considers how children's emerging capacities for empathy, inter-subjectivity and social understanding enable them to negotiate, talk about and play out relationship themes, both in the family and preschool. Part 3 concentrates on early learning, with chapters on the way parents support children's acquisition of new skills, young children negotiating their role in learner-teacher relationships and toddlers learning to collaborate with each other. Part 4 continues the theme of children's initiation into socio-cultural practices from a cross-cultural perspective, with studies drawn from such diverse contexts as Cameroon, Guatemala, Italy, Japan and the United States. This is the first of three readers which have been specially prepared as readers for the Open University MA Course: ED840 Child Development in Families, Schools and Society.