Early Childhood Studies – BA (Hons)

Why study this course?

The Early Childhood Studies BA (Hons) degree was one of the first university courses of its kind in the UK, developed to meet the demand for well-qualified early childhood specialists working with young children and their families across all sectors. This undergraduate degree will equip you to implement effective practice with children and families in a range of situations and to act as an advocate for their rights and wellbeing.

This course gives you the option to graduate with or without the Graduate Practitioner status. To gain the practitioner status you’ll have to complete an additional work placement module in your final year. The practitioner status will enhance your chances of employment in the field of childhood studies and help you progress to leadership roles and/or postgraduate study. The course is aligned to the Early Childhood Studies Degrees Network (ECSDN) Graduate Competencies to deliver the practitioner status qualification.

More about this course

The Early Childhood Studies BA degree is uniquely designed for both experienced practitioners and those new to the early childhood studies field. The focus of the course is the study of play, development and learning of children from birth to six-years-old in a socio-cultural context and the implications this has for practice in early childhood settings. The course emphasises the links between theory and practice and highly values the development of professional and academic knowledge. It includes assessed practice, which means tutors will visit/appraise you in professional settings. This appraisal is important for your licence to practise.

The early childhood studies course team includes writers and researchers at the forefront of the field who are passionately committed to enabling, empowering and inspiring students to make transformational changes to their own lives and to the lives of children, families and communities. You’ll receive exceptional pastoral and academic support from your tutor and academic mentor, whose job will be to ensure you progress through your studies and settle in to university life.

In your first year, the focus will be on developing key skills that are indispensable for academic study at university, including reading, writing and constructing arguments. The study of these academic skills will be linked to other subjects on the course, including theoretical perspectives of holistic development, the use of play in supporting development, the safeguarding of children and inclusion. You’ll also have the opportunity to undertake a work placement module, which will require you to work for two days per week with children aged four to five. You will be supported by a placement supervisor, a visiting tutor and a placement liaison officer.

Your second year will focus on developing research skills and analysing key information in childhood development, such as key legislation, pedagogical and curricular approaches. You’ll also learn how to engage in reflective discussion of how these approaches underpin inclusion and children’s rights. You may wish to complete your formal work experience at this stage (attaining the equivalent of a Level 3 Early Years Educator qualification), or continue to work towards Graduate Practitioner status by undertaking a work placement in a setting with children under three.

In your final year you’ll undertake an independent project based on your early years practice experience, which will allow you to explore areas of your own academic interest. You’ll also have the opportunity to critically evaluate current debates in early childhood practice leadership and management, and consider the impact of this on the quality of care and education provision. There will also be an opportunity to continue working towards Graduate Practitioner status, which will require you to undertake a block placement in a setting with children aged six to eight years old and complete a verbal examination about your placement experience.

Accreditation of Prior Learning

Any university-level qualifications or relevant experience you gain prior to starting university could count towards your course.

Modular structure

The modules listed below are for the academic year 2022/23 and represent the course modules at this time. Modules and module details (including, but not limited to, location and time) are subject to change over time.

Year 1 modules include:

Perspectives on Children’s Development (core, 30 credits)

Safeguarding Young Children’s Health and Well-being (core, 30 credits)

Understanding Play (core, 30 credits)

Academic Skills and Professional Placement (alternative core, 30 credits)

Adults and Children as Learners: An Introduction to Early Childhood Studies (alternative core, 30 credits)

Year 2 modules include:

Approaches to Pedagogy and Curriculum in the Early Years (core, 30 credits)

Challenging Inequalities (core, 15 credits)

Children’s Rights in Today’s World (core, 15 credits)

Enquiry-based Learning (core, 30 credits)

Promoting Early Learning Through the EYFS and Key Stage 1 (core, 15 credits)

Communicating in Multi-lingual contexts (alternative core, 15 credits)

Early Years Learning and Practice Frameworks (alternative core, 15 credits)

Creative Thinking and Representation from Birth to Six (option, 15 credits)

Professional Studies and Practitioner Placement: Part 2 (option, 15 credits)

Year 3 modules include:

Early Childhood Studies Project (core, 60 credits)

Leading Practice with Children, Families and Professionals (core, 30 credits)

Reading Research and Research Methods in Early Childhood (core, 15 credits)

Debating Children and Childhood (option, 15 credits)

Professional Practice in Key Stage 1 (option, 15 credits)

Where this course can take you

Graduates of this degree go on to pursue a variety of careers in education, health and social care. The success of our graduates reflects the current need for well-trained graduates who can quickly move up to more senior roles in children’s centres, nurseries and primary schools, as well as other early childhood care and education settings.

Some students go on to specialise in a particular area such as special educational needs, while others take up advisory posts in local authorities or government departments.

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