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.
The BA (Hons) Early Childhood (Single Honours) programme has been accredited by the The Early Childhood Studies Degrees Network
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 is an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of Early Childhood. You will study:
Historical and Socio-cultural Constructs and Pioneers
The academic study of Early Childhood begins by understanding the changing constructs of childhood over time and across different socio cultural contexts. You will also trace the development of the field of study including the work of pioneers such as Froebel and Montessori.
Child Development and Play
The next area of study explores contemporary understandings of child development. Students will be supported to investigate the role of play theory and play-based pedagogy in relation to development.
Research and Theory in Early Childhood
This theoretical perspective is extended in the study of attachment and the role of the key person and students are introduced to researching young children, research ethics and child observation.
Single Honours students will also study:
Education for Sustainable Development
In the first year this will have a focus on children, the environment and nature. Contemporary understandings of enabling environments will develop the applied aspect of this theme.
Using this foundational understanding, students will begin to engage with the notion of professional practice, understanding the critically reflective practitioner and the role of using evidence and enquiry for learning.
Graduate Practitioner Competencies
The Single Honours programme also offers the option to obtain separate professional certification as a Graduate Practitioner through completing 80 days of placement over the three years of study and successful assessment of practice at level 6 by the final year against the Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner Competencies.
Explorations in Early Childhood
In your second year you will study learning theories, with a particular focus on socio-cultural approaches and the child’s learning environment. You will investigate the biological, socio-emotional and socio-cognitive basis of learning and development in infancy and early childhood.
Child Health and Well-being
You will study in depth the impact of culture, environment and experience on health and well-being. Specific issues such as identity formation, self awareness, mental health and stress, friendships and family circumstances will be examined.
Students will be supported to make international comparisons in relation to early childhood education and care, for example Reggio Emilia, Te Whariki, High Scope and Forest School.
Single Honours Students will also study:
Education for Sustainable Development
This will focus on understanding the political dimensions of ESD including equity, democracy and inclusion.
Students will also explore the sociology of childbirth, constructs of parenthood as well as various aspects of parenting.
Students will further engage with the notion of professional practice and pedagogy by engaging in an observational placement.
Advanced Studies in Early Childhood
Here you will develop your skills of analysis to examine the global, economic and political development of constructs of childhood, involving issues in relation to rights, diversity, equity and inclusion. This exploration concentrates on the development of social policy and legislation regarding children and their families.
Multi Agency Working
You will then critically examine the function of a multi-agency team in relation to high profile cases, including the challenges and constraints of interprofessional and multi-agency working. Some of the key associated issues for children in their early years and their families will be examined, for example poverty, disability, abuse and discrimination.
Students will consolidate their enhanced understanding of theoretical and practical principles associated with the study of early childhood by undertaking a research study and communicating their findings appropriately through the means of a dissertation.
Single Honours Students will also study:
Education for Sustainable Development
This area of study will be consolidated with a focus on aspects of economy, social justice and social action. You will also address research informed perspectives of looked after children, excluded children, disabled children.
Professionalism and Research
You will critically engage with professional practice including key issues such as leadership in early years contexts, the needs of young children and families within the local community, managing transitions and advocacy for families. The enhancement of research will be a focus in this final year with an emphasis on the philosophy of research and innovation in research.
The 4-year integrated Masters in Early Childhood aims to provide students with a deep understanding and knowledge of theory, research and applications associated with early childhood.
Study at this level encompasses a more in-depth critical examination of the evolution and critique of human rights discourse informed by a global view of policy such as the UNCRC and Sustainable Development Goals.
Socio Cultural Perspectives
This focus on the global context, including majority world knowledges, values and practices concerning young children and their families and communities is oriented towards the reciprocal relationships between the global and the local.
Students will also develop practical competencies in areas such as Leadership, ICT literacy and Funding which may lead to improved employment prospects, professional advancement and/or further postgraduate study.
This learning is consolidated in a professional placement providing the context for developing independently formed judgments, supported by appropriate argument and evidence, from both research and experience.
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 2024/25 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 2024/25 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: