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Begin your journey towards becoming a skilled Early Years practitioner
Are you interested in studying an early years degree but feel you would benefit from a better foundation of knowledge?
Then the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies with Integrated Foundation Year is an ideal option for you.
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Develop your knowledge and skills
This four-year route will build your academic skills and enable you to confidently embark on an undergraduate degree.
Over the four years, you will focus on work with young children up to the age of eight.
By the end of this degree, you will develop your effectiveness as a skilled Early Years practitioner.
Study areas include:
- Child development
- Children's behaviour
- Special Educational Needs and Disability
Practical placement options
With a minimum of two practice placements, you will be able to make critical links between theory and practice, building your confidence as an early year’s practitioner.
We believe it is invaluable to link theory that you learn on the degree, with practice. Alongside the placement opportunities on this course, we’ve introduced an optional qualification element to this course to enhance your employability prospects.
In the final year, this course offers you the option to complete a third practice placement in order to gain your Graduate Practitioner Competencies, enhancing employment opportunities within the early year’s sector.
If you follow the Graduate Practitioner pathway in your final year, you will graduate with both a practical and an academic qualification at Level 6. Many of our students also choose to specialise further in a career pathway such as teaching or social work.
Our BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies with Integrated Foundation Year degree is a recognised qualification by the Department of Education.
This means you will gain a ‘full and relevant’ qualification, which is important should you wish to work in an early years setting and be included in an employer’s staff to child ratio.
On this course you will
- Investigate, understand and analyse the fast-changing landscape of working with young children.
- Develop your academic skills on an integrated foundation year.
- Gain practical experience in different early years settings.
- Provide a firm foundation for a career within educational settings.
Develop your practice skills and knowledge of working with children
Studying at university can be challenging but that’s the beauty of studying this course with an integrated foundation year.
Following a year that introduces to the subject and develops your academic skills and confidence, you will study a diverse and interesting range of modules.
Select a year
This module aims to develop the intellectual and practical skills that will be of value in a variety of situation and will include the development of self-awareness, problem solving, reflection and reflexive skills.
You will prepare to communicate effectively with a range of people in a complex and diverse society and enable you to identify existing skills and knowledge and to take responsibility for developing and using these skills in a competent way.
The module will introduce you to the ethical issues and professional codes of practice in relation to intervening in the lives of others.
Foundation in Knowledge and Skills
In this module, you will develop your basic knowledge and skills to support your academic development and improve your confidence in your academic writing and reading.
This module is an applied piece of work related to your chosen degree. It will require you to apply the knowledge and skills developed throughout the foundation year and will enhance your ability to work individually and as part of a team.
During the project, you will develop in-depth knowledge of your chosen future specialisation. You will be encouraged to demonstrate creativity in the design, planning and execution of a project.
Valuing Individual Differences
This module develops your knowledge of atypical development in children and young people.
You will focus on the medical, genetic, and environmental influences on children’s development and evaluate theories of child development to gain a deeper understanding of how individual differences can affect learning.
In doing so, it will develop your thinking on the current discourses about defining special educational needs and disability.
Arts in Education and Society
You will engage with a range of discourses surrounding arts and society and within the processes of teaching and learning.
A range of disciplinary subjects, including Performing Arts, Drama, Theatre, Music, and Visual Art will be explored.
In addition, key concepts such as creativity, design, performance, and aesthetics will be considered from philosophical, pedagogical, and social perspectives.
From Bognor to Bogota and Beyond: An Introduction to the UN and SAGs
In this module, you will be encouraged to look beyond their immediate surrounding to the wider world.
You’ll find out how global issues such as those outlined in the UN Sustainable Development Goals have an impact on people across the world as well as on their own lives. the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and its role in educational provision will also be considered.
Child Development (0-8 Years)
This module introduces you to the nature of developmental psychology and encourages a critical understanding of psychological theories in relation to children’s development.
Children’s Rights and Policy
This module introduces you to the development of social policy and children’s rights.
It engages with ideological debates to locate current early years policies and initiatives in their historical, social, political, and cultural context.
Introduction to Childhood
This module aims to introduce you to the multidisciplinary nature of Early Childhood Studies and the different ways in which childhood is viewed, discussed, and analysed.
You will focus on various sociological concepts and perspectives in trying to understand young children’s lives and experiences.
Play, Creativity and Expressive Arts
This module provides you with an understanding of the different perspectives of play in relation to child development and learning.
You will explore the influence of key pioneers on contemporary concepts of play and make links between theory and effective practice in the early years sector.
Preparing for Professional Practice
The module will introduce you to how theory is linked and applied to effective Early Years practice.
The topics covered in this module will be a precursor to your first practice placement.
Safeguarding Children and Integrated Practice
The module will enable you to develop knowledge and understanding of the safeguarding agenda and underpinning legislation. You will learn how to apply this in practice with children, parents and colleagues.
The Developing Practitioner
This module enables you to gain assessed experience in a setting that is relevant to early years practice.
Children’s Health & Wellbeing
The module develops your knowledge and understanding of the issues that surround health and well-being as they affect children, young people into adulthood.
You will explore how 21st century living has highlighted an increasing concern over the health and well-being of children and adults alike and this is reflected in current government agendas.
Preparation for Independent Project
You will explore how to conduct empirical research for your Independent Project, as well as to promote understanding of research within the field of Early Years.
In addition, you will develop your awareness of ‘research mindedness’, as well as qualitative, quantitative, and mixed research approaches as you link evidence-based research to professional practice.
Rocking the Cradle
This module explores how ethical discussion and legislation have both struggled to keep up with the fast-changing landscape of conception, pregnancy, the birth process, and the care of babies up to the age of two years.
These developments have in turn fed into the sociological changes around the nature of parenting, the family and professional practice.
The nature of attachment is shaped by the experience of pregnancy and the birth process. the first two years of the child’s life are important to various key child development theorists and the module will consider the links between theory and practice in relation to Early Years.
Special Educational Needs and Disability
This module develops your critical understanding of the issues that surround special educational needs and disability (SEND) in society and Early Years settings, with reference to government policy initiatives and legislation.
The history, economic and social dimensions of issues relating to special educational needs and disability will be explored, along with an analysis of the impact upon children, families and working practices.
In addition, the origins and meanings of related terminology will be explored and debated.
The Reflective Practitioner
This module enables you to gain assessed experience in a setting which is relevant to Early Years practice.
This will help you form a critical understanding of the ways in which theory and practice relate to one another within an Early Years setting, as well as to develop appropriate skills and gain experience.
Understanding Children’s Behaviour
This module will enable you to develop knowledge and critical understanding of the differing theoretical perspectives on children’s behaviour in the Early Years.
You will critically analyse several factors relating to children’s specific needs, family, Early Years settings, wider society and culture: such as concepts and principles of inclusion.
In addition, you will have the opportunity to explore theories, significant and emerging, relating to the psychology of children’s behaviour.
Working With Families
This module will enable you to explore the reciprocal relationships that need to exist between the early years setting, the child and their family. It will encourage you to develop a detailed understanding of the importance of partnership working for the child and their family to promote inclusion and collaboration.
Children, Stories and the Media
This module uses children’s stories and the media to explore current and past constructs of childhood. Specific examples of these media are used to consider the wider social, cultural and educational issues that surround their production and consumption.
In this module, you will critically examine studies of how children engage with a range of different media that is produced for children.
- books (both fiction and non-fiction)
- the ‘new media’ that is available for children, including other interactive media such as computer games.
You will also consider the ways in which those who study childhood have sought to understand this engagement. The module will take a broad approach, drawing on theories from a range of social science and cultural disciplines.
Crime and Childhood
This module explores children and criminality from various points of view, from offending to court procedures, from explanations of children’s crime to protection of victims, and allow students to draw conclusions about the special status of children and the legal system.
You will examine the ‘social construction of childhood’ both historically and internationally in regard to how children are treated in the criminal justice system.
Case Studies will be used to illustrate how criminal law and childhood is given particular significance, including use of media coverage.
Issues around children and crime are of contemporary relevance, and this module will provide insights into the many avenues of childcare practice that are connected to the criminal justice system.
Graduate Practitioner Placement
This practical placement module builds on theory from taught modules in the programme and placements at both Levels 4 and 5. It gives you opportunities in relevant settings to achieve the Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner Competences. You will complete 25 days in a placement setting and workshop sessions in the university.
The independent project is designed to engage you in a longer-term and analytical piece of research on a topic relevant to Early Childhood Studies.
The module includes a focus on the research process. This includes guidance on research design, writing a literature review, application of methodological approach and method(s) used, ethical issues, data collection and analysis.
Leading Professional Practice
This module aims to introduce you to the key factors that affect strategies for leading and managing in Early Years provision. You will develop knowledge and understanding of how to improve practice through working alongside staff, children, families and other professionals.
This module introduces you to the innovative and adventurous environments in which children can develop, learn and play such as Forest Schools and Beach School.
You will examine the theoretical, psychological, physical and social processes and benefits for children and Early Years professionals/teachers that come with activities away from conventional environments.
The module considers the history and theory that has shaped ‘adventure’ environments in the past, and continue to affect them in the present.
The Digital Child
The module introduces you to the digital experiences of childhood, and the effects of technology on children in a fast-changing world, as you assess the benefits and drawbacks from social, emotional, and behavioural perspectives.
The module examines access to the online world, and policy and parental attempts to control children’s digital consumption.
This module aims to explore and critically analyse the centrality of play in enabling children to make sense of the world around them and their place within that world, especially when experiencing trauma.
Teaching and Assessment
Feel the support of our staff as you gain confidence in your abilities
You will learn from expert practitioners and accomplished academics with a wide range of experience within the field of Early Childhood Studies.
We bring new research together with established theory into the classroom through a mix of direct teaching, seminars, and activity-based learning.
Within your learning sessions, you will be challenged to go further and be encouraged to be proactive, responsive and responsible for your own learning and ideas outside of the classroom.
Our focus on group discussion and the consideration of the thoughts of others allow you to develop your own ideas.
It is important that our assessments are designed to meet the various learning needs of students.
We offer a variety of assessment methods that include presentations, assignments, exams, academic posters and placement portfolios.
We also encourage our students to publish their work. Past students have had articles accepted in sector publications such as Early Years Educator.
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Gain vital experience within a professional environment to support your learning
As part of our BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies with Integrated Foundation Year, you will gain the opportunity to experience placements during both your second and third years.
These placements will allow you to work directly within local early years settings as you apply your theoretical learning within a real-world classroom environment.
Placements are assessed, which means you will exit the course with the equivalent of the Department for Education (DfE) full and relevant requirements for Early Years practice.
We have incorporated the option of the Graduate Practitioner Competencies into your placements, which gives allows you to finish the course as a Graduate Practitioner.
On this course, you could gain a total of 80 days of work-based placements. You’ll get the chance to attend three different registered organisational settings to gain a mix of experience. You’ll also gain the opportunity to work with babies, 3-5 and 5-7 year olds.
The placements gained in Year’s 1 and 2 (Level 4 and 5) will be counted as ‘full and relevant’ which means with this degree, you will be counted at Level 3 in staff: child ratios.
- Year One – 25 days
- Year Two – 30 days
- Year Three –25 days – Graduate Practitioner Competencies (optional placement)
If you choose to take our dedicated third-year placement module, you will receive a separate certificate stating that you have been awarded the Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner Competencies.
Develop your career opportunities within early years professions
With this degree, you can pursue a career as an Early Years Practitioner.
You’ll foster and develop the abilities, social skills and understanding of children aged three to five, focusing on optimum child development and preparation for a successful transition to primary school education.
Possible career paths include:
- Early Years management
- Health and social care
- Nursery management
- Hospital support
- Outreach worker with family centres
- Community development
Course fees 2023/24
For further details about fees, please see our Tuition Fees page.
For further details about international scholarships, please see our Scholarships page.
To find out about any additional costs on this course, please see our Additional Costs page.
Course specific costs
You will be required to have a satisfactory enhanced Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) check costing £40 which needs to be paid for before the start of the course.
BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies training applicants are required to have an enhanced Disclosure Barring Service check which needs to be paid for before the start of the course.
We strongly suggest that all students sign up for the Disclosure and Barring Service update service for which there is a small annual charge, this makes the DBS portable both during and after the degree.
Failure to sign up for the update service might require the student to gain a further enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check which will incur additional costs.
Level 6 Top-Up Option
Gain your full BA Honours degree with this flexible and accommodating top-up course
The BA (Hons) Early Childhood (level 6 top-up) is a one-year full-time or two-year part-time course. It is delivered one day a week making sure it’s flexible to accommodate your other commitments.
The range of modules enables you to explore key aspects of childhood from the psychological and sociological, to the global and cultural, to the economic and educational.
You will develop problem-solving, critical analysis and independent thinking skills as well as gaining knowledge of areas which are of particular interest.
This course provides a progression for those who wish to ‘top up’ their Early Years Foundation Degree or equivalent foundation qualification to a full BA Honours degree.
Indicative module list:
- Independent Project [Dissertation]
- Therapeutic Play
- Children’s Literature and the Media
- Criminology & Childhood
- Learning, Teaching & Caring in Adventure Education
- Reflective Practice Placements 2
- Special Needs & Disability
- Graduate Practitioner Option
Why study this course?
- The degree equips you to explore a range of careers in the early years sector.
- It is a recognised qualification by the Department for Education.
- It also offers pathways into a variety of careers. We offer postgraduate qualifications, in order to work within the fields of health, education and social work.
- You’ll learn from a dedicated and highly-skilled team.
Frequently asked questions
How do I apply?
Click the ‘Apply now’ button to go to relevant UCAS page.
What are UCAS tariff points?
Many qualifications have a UCAS Tariff value. The score depends on the qualification, and the grade you achieved.
How do I know what my UCAS tariff points are?
Head to the UCAS Tariff Points web page where you can find a tariff points calculator that can tell you how much your qualification and grades are worth.