Early Childhood BA (Hons) (with Foundation Year)UCAS Code: XX33|Duration: 4 years|Full Time|Hope Park|UCAS Campus Code: L46
Work placement opportunities|International students can apply|Study Abroad opportunities
About the course
The undergraduate programme in Early Childhood Studies provides a higher level of academic study that will extend your knowledge and understanding of children in their early years. We hope to ignite your curiosity as we explore young children’s development and interaction with the world and that in understanding the inequalities that children face locally and globally, you will grow as advocates for young children’s needs and rights.
The Early Childhood team aim to provide a stimulating and supportive learning environment for all our students through a high level of tutor support, access to exceptional University resources and engagement with our multidisciplinary teaching team with wide experience in research, practice and policy in the field. Together with the vital ingredient of your commitment as a student, these elements will enrich your learning experience. We also aim to enhance this where possible through engaging invited speakers and field visits to relevant spaces in Liverpool, a city rich in community connection and cultural experience.
The degree is taught by academics from a wide variety of backgrounds, including Sociology, Education, Philosophy and Psychology. The teaching team are all actively involved in research and have published in their specialist fields. They are all members of the thriving Liverpool Hope Childhood Research Forum and contribute to a range of research conferences both nationally and internationally. This experience provides an informed and supportive learning environment for the student characterised by depth and challenge.
For Single Honours students there is a compulsory placement as part of your degree. The placement will enable you to enhance your understanding of key themes and provides you with an insight into the professional context. For Combined Honours students the placement is optional. The Single Honours programme also offers the option to obtain separate professional certification as a graduate practitioner through assessment against the Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner Competencies.
Teaching on this degree is structured mainly into lectures, where all students are taught together, seminars of smaller groups of around 20-30 students, and tutorials which typically have no more than 10 students. You will also take part in workshops, guided reading activities, distance learning and using the University’s Virtual Learning Environment. You also have the opportunity to meet with your tutor on a one-to-one basis each week.
If you are studying Early Childhood as a Single Honours degree, in your first year there are approximately 12 teaching hours each week, which reduces to approximately 10 teaching hours in your second and third years. If you are studying Early Childhood as a Combined Honours degree, in your first year there are approximately 6 teaching hours each week, which reduces to approximately 5 teaching hours in your second and third years.
On top of teaching hours, you are also expected to spend a number of hours each week studying independently, as well as studying in groups to prepare for any group assessments you may have.
Assessment and feedback
Throughout your three years of study, you will have a variety of assessment methods including essays, exams, e-portfolio, posters, and reflective journals. Feedback on assessments will be given to you online and you will also have the opportunity to meet face-to-face with your tutor. Longer pieces of writing are supported by interim constructive written and oral feedback.
The Foundation Year is a great opportunity if you have the ability and enthusiasm to study for a degree, but do not yet have the qualifications required to enter directly onto our degree programmes. A significant part of the Foundation Year focuses upon core skills such as academic writing at HE level, becoming an independent learner, structuring academic work, critical thinking, time management and note taking.
Successful completion of the Foundation Year will enable you to progress into the first year (Level C) of your chosen honours degree. Further details can be found here.
Introduction to Early Childhood
Your first year of study is an introduction to Early Childhood. You will look at the socio-cultural and historical constructs of childhood, including perceptions of childhood and the contemporary understandings of child development. Other topics you study include the history of the development of the study of Early Childhood, including the Early Childhood pioneers, as well as the role of play.
There is also an exploration of attachment theory and the role of the key person, and you are introduced to researching young children, the role of research ethics and child observation.
Single Honours students also study education for sustainable development, focusing on the environment, children and nature, and are introduced to notions of professional practice, involving the role of the critically reflective learner and the role of using evidence for learning. Finally, you study contemporary trends in Early Childhood associated with the environment, focusing on research informed understandings of child-friendly cities, outdoor play, risky play, enabling environments.
Explorations in Early Childhood
In your second year, you develop your knowledge of Early Childhood and the key themes that underpin it. You will build up your understanding of learning theory, including socio-cultural approaches such as inclusive practice and current educational approaches for working with babies and young children. You investigate contemporary understandings of developmental psychology, involving the biological basis of infancy and cognition in infancy.
There is also an exploration of culture, environment and experience on well-being, learning and development, for example gender and identity. You will look at international comparisons of Early Childhood education and care, for example Reggio Emilia, Te Whariki, High Scope, and Forest Schools. Other topics studied involve exploring researching young children, including the critique of research design, research patterns, research methods and measurement techniques.
Single Honours students develop your understanding of professional practice, including a critical knowledge of current provision for prenatal, babies and young children, the sociology of childbirth, and the constructions of parenthood/motherhood. You also develop your understanding of education for sustainable development, focusing on equity, democracy and inclusion. Finally, you examine contemporary trends in early childhood associated with well-being and development, for example, research informed understandings of creativity, autonomy and agency, relationships, the non-institutionalised child, social anthropology of childhood.
Advanced Studies in Early Childhood
Your final year is an advanced study of Early Childhood. You will explore the historical, philosophical, global, economic and political development of ideas of childhood, involving issues in relation to rights, diversity, equity and inclusion. You also look at the historical, social and global development of policy and legislation regarding children and their families.
You will explore some of the key issues for children in their early years and their families, for example poverty, disability, discrimination, and will critically examine the function of a multi-agency team in relation to high profile cases, including the challenges and constraints of multi-professional and multi-agency working.
Another topic studied is the professional practitioner, focusing on leadership in early year’s contexts, understanding the needs of babies, young children and families within the local community, and managing transitions and advocacy for families.
Single Honours students also study education for sustainable development, focusing on economy, social justice and social action. Undertaking research in the area of early childhood, you explore enhancing research, such as the philosophy of research, creativity in research, and innovation in research. You will explore contemporary trends in early childhood associated with the needs of the child and family, such as research informed understandings of the looked after child, excluded children, disabled children, and global childhoods.
All third year students complete a dissertation, which analyses a topic of your choice with guidance from your tutor.
There may be some flexibility for mature students offering non-tariff qualifications and students meeting particular widening participation criteria.
Graduates of the Early Childhood degree have gone on to pursue careers as members of Local Authority multi-agency teams, leaders in Children’s Centres, Children’s Learning Officers in museums and galleries and employees of national and national and international charities such as Save the Children and NSPCC. A significant number of graduates also enter the teaching profession (after successfully completing a PGCE) or the social work profession (subject to further qualification), whilst others have successfully achieved careers in business, management and government.
Graduates of this degree will have the knowledge and skills to move into a wide variety of roles in working with young children and their families.
Work Placement Opportunities
In your second year, you will be encouraged to get involved in a placement in a children’s setting or service. These placements will provide you with a valuable insight into professional practice with a view to graduation. For Single Honours students this placement is compulsory, for Combined Honours students the placement is optional but highly recommended.
The Service and Leadership Award (SALA) is offered as an extra-curricular programme involving service-based experiences, development of leadership potential and equipping you for a career in a rapidly changing world. It enhances your degree, it is something which is complimentary but different and which has a distinct ‘value-added’ component. Find out more on our Service and Leadership Award page.
As part of your degree, you can choose to spend either a semester or a full year of study at one of our partner universities as part of our Study Abroad programme. Find out more on our Study Abroad page.
The tuition fees for the 2022/23 academic year are £9,250 for full-time undergraduate courses.
If you are a student from the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands, your tuition fees will also be £9,250.
The University reserves the right to increase Home and EU Undergraduate and PGCE tuition fees in line with any inflationary or other increase authorised by the Secretary of State for future years of study.
On top of tuition fees, you will need approximately £100 to buy key textbooks required for the degree.
You will also need to consider the cost of your accommodation each year whilst you study at university. Visit our accommodation pages for further details about our Halls of Residence.
We have a range of scholarships to help with the cost of your studies. Visit our scholarships page to find out more.
International tuition fees
The International Tuition fees for 2022/23 are £12,500.
Visit our International fees page for more information.
This course is also available with Foundation Year as a Combined Honours degree with the following subjects:
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