The readings in this book have been selected to exemplify contrasting theoretical, methodological, and epistemological orientations, key conceptual shifts, and contemporary policy directions. The purpose of the reader is to examine change, transformation and continuity, and to present indicative scholarship in relation to five key themes: theoretical perspectives on learning, curriculum and pedagogy; play; policy; professionalism and research methods. The readings in Theme III reflect trends towards state regulation of early childhood education, including quality assurance processes, inspection regimes, and varying levels of prescription in curriculum, pedagogy and standards for professional training. The readings in Theme III exemplify how early childhood education needs to be understood within wider political, social, economic and cultural influences. The readings in Theme IV exemplify these tensions in the context of national educational reforms and their impact on early childhood teachers in New Zealand, Australia and England.