Foundation Degree Early Years

Pursue your passion for early years education

Pursue your passion for early years education

2 years full-time, 3 years part-time
Bishop Otter Campus

100%

student satisfaction

1. National Student Survey 2022

Overview

Explore how children learn and develop in the early stages of their lives

Are you an enthusiastic and committed Early Years professional? Are you looking to enhance your professional practice? Then our Foundation Degree Early Years course is the option for you.

Study as you work

Our Foundation Degree Early Years programme allows those already working or volunteering in an Early Years setting (for a minimum of 12 hours a week) to continue their career development in a rewarding field.

This two-year, full-time or three-year part-time degree is structured so that you attend University one day per week, enabling you to study without giving up work. It also allows early years professionals to work towards a full Level 5 degree with the support to develop their academic confidence and skills.

Learn to support Early Years children

Our course combines theoretical study with practical work. You will explore how children learn and develop in the early stages of their lives.

In addition, you will enhance your skills in reflection, independent thinking and critical analysis on your journey to becoming a more confident and skilled Early Years practitioner.

Recognised qualification

If you are not ‘full and relevant’ at level 3, you may be eligible to gain this status by completing two additional assessed practice modules (whilst studying for your Foundation Degree in Early Years).

Please note that if you wish to gain ‘full and relevant’ at level 3 you will also be required to have Level 2 qualifications in Maths and English by the end of the Foundation Degree in Early Years.

For further information please contact Eva Mikuska (e.mikuska@chi.ac.uk)

Start your journey

This course provides the opportunity to progress to the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Top-up and is an excellent pathway to enable busy practitioners to gain a degree.

Why choose this course?

  • Pursue your passion for Early Years with this foundation degree option.
  • Develop your confidence in your academic skills and knowledge.
  • Learn from a dedicated and highly-skilled team.
  • Have the opportunity to progress to Level 6 with the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Top-Up.

The Course

Enhance your skills in the study of early childhood

This two-year full-time or three-year part-time degree is structured so that you can attend university one day per week. This enables you to study without giving up work.

You’ll hone your skills and gain an understanding of the diverse contexts in which children develop and learn.

Full and relevant

This course is a recognised qualification by the Department for Education and meets the governments ‘full and relevant’ criteria as it includes practical working experience.

If you are not ‘full and relevant’ at level 3, you may be eligible to gain this status by completing two additional assessed practice modules (whilst studying for your Foundation Degree in Early Years).

Please note that if you wish to gain ‘full and relevant’ at level 3 you will also be required to have Level 2 qualifications in Maths and English by the end of the Foundation Degree in Early Years.

For further information please contact Eva Mikuska (e.mikuska@chi.ac.uk)

These modules are indicative and subject to change.

Select a year

Introduction to Early Years

This module will support and develop your academic expression, academic writing, reasoning, argument and critical thinking. You will read a range of literature and study different approaches to topics that are covered within the subject area of early years. You will be introduced to the practices of critical academic reading and writing. You will consider what we mean by ‘criticality’ and consider the ways in which we should read and write within an academic framework, and be encouraged to use web-based resources and to distinguish between different types of information e.g. government documents, multi-disciplinary research and practice-based information that is relevant to Early Years.

Children’s Rights

The module will support and develop academic expression, academic writing, reasoning, argument and critical thinking. You will read a range of literature and study different approaches to topics that are covered within the subject area of early years. The module will introduce students to the practices of critical academic reading and writing. Students will consider what we mean by ‘criticality’ and consider the ways in which we should read and write within an academic framework. You will be encouraged to use web-based resources and to distinguish between different types of information e.g. government documents, multi-disciplinary research and practice-based information that is relevant to Early Years.

Play, Creativity, Expressive Arts

This module aims to provide students with an understanding of the different perspectives of play in relation to child development and learning. It 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.

Reflective Practitioner: Babies, Toddlers and Pre-school

This module will focus on developing awareness of the purposes of reflective practice within the early years setting and managing the reflective process for changing and improving practice in your setting. Using the current Early Years Curriculum and its principles as a framework, the module supports early years professionals in dealing with possible issues arising from professional practice, and reflecting on possible challenges in a sensitive and professional manner in order to make a real difference to the lives of babies, young children and their families. Furthermore, this module supports Early Years professionals in thinking through their roles to address, and make decisions, on issues they may encounter.

Safeguarding and Integrated Working in the Early Years

The aims for this module are to enable students to develop their knowledge and understanding of the safeguarding agenda and underpinning legislation; to learn how to apply this in practice and respond appropriately to children, parents and colleagues; to develop students’ awareness of healthy choices for babies and young children; to support their understanding of different behaviours and to appreciate the issues involved in being safe and protected. Students will be introduced to current debates around children’s rights, within the current and relevant political frameworks. The complex inter-relationships between protection and rights will also be explored.

Child Development in the Early Years

This module introduces you to the nature of developmental psychology and encourages you to examine the place of psychological theory in studying children’s development. You will become aware of the relationship between different psychological domains (for example, biological, social, emotional and cognitive). You will explore the social and historical contexts in which the developments of theories have taken place. The module will include an introduction to observation and collection of data within Early Years settings to inform practice and planning for children’s development.

Curriculums around the world in the Early Years (Optional)

This module will focus on the different approaches to early years curricula including Beach school, Forest School, Montessori, High Scope, Waldorf and the Te Whāriki, and the ways in which these approaches influences the UK approach. It will also look at the roles and responsibilities of the early years educators working in a multi-professional environment. The ways in which babies and young children learn and the curricula, will be investigated taking into consideration global, national and local policies (including the UNCRC and sustainable development goals).

Working with Families in the Early Years

This module will enable students to explore the reciprocal relationships that need to exist between the early years setting, the child and their family. It will encourage students to develop a detailed understanding of the importance of partnership working for the child and their family in order to promote inclusion and collaboration. Students will critically analyse legislation and policy that supports this key aspect of contemporary early years practice. Evidence supporting the benefits of partnership working for the child, the family and the setting will be critically discussed. The challenges that can sometimes occur when working with families in practice will be explored and effective strategies to overcome these will be debated.

Understanding Children’s Behaviour

This work-based learning module will enable you to develop knowledge and critical understanding of the differing theoretical perspectives on children’s behaviour in the early years. Factors relating to children’s specific needs, family, early years settings, wider society and culture will be critically analysed including concepts and principles of inclusion. You will have the opportunity to explore theories, significant and emerging, relating to the psychology of children’s behaviour.

Importance of Research in Early Years

The module aims are to promote individual understanding of research in early years, increase awareness of 'research mindedness', explore qualitative, quantitative and mixed research approaches and to link evidence-based research to professional practice. The aim is to enable the use of skills such as communication, observation, evaluation, planning, recording and collecting information and offer opportunities to analyse, interpret and synthesise literature. The ethical issues involved in engaging in research will be revisited.

Childhood in Crisis: Global Perspectives (Optional)

The module aims to explore international issues in Early Years Education and Care such as understanding globalization and migration and the possible impact it has on children and their families. The impact of crisis on children in the short and long term will be explored. Adult responsibilities for children’s crisis situations, and adult systems for helping children out of crisis will be examined. Implications for child development and children’s rights will be considered. Students will have the chance to critically reflect on their own practice and recognise the complexity of caring for babies and young children.

Health & Well Being of Young Children (Optional)

This module aims to provide students with knowledge and critical understanding of child health and wellbeing using a holistic approach. Consideration will be given to contemporary guidance and legislation surrounding the Early Years agenda. Students will be encouraged to explore specific components of holistic health and wellbeing including: physical health and social and emotional wellbeing. You will develop a greater understanding of resilience in children. The module aims to link the theoretical concepts of child health and wellbeing and develop an understanding of the Early Years agenda very closely with the early years practitioner experience.

SEND in Early Years

The central aim of this module is to develop a critical understanding of the issues that surround special educational needs and disability (SEND) in society and early years settings, with particular 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. The origins and meanings of related terminology will be explored and debated. Students will be encouraged to analyse and reflect on their experiences of working with young children in education and/or care settings.

Experience

Discover facilities that help support your learning

Teaching and Assessment

Feel the support of our staff as you gain confidence in your abilities

Teaching

Our teaching methods help you to enhance your effectiveness as an Early Years worker and continue to extend your knowledge and understanding in the sector.

They include individual tutorials, lectures, group exercises, directed reading, role play, observations, discussion and presentations.

A large amount of the learning and teaching on this course takes place away from the University, at your place of work.

Assessment

The close link between teaching, learning and assessments will be emphasised throughout the course.

You will be given meaningful assessments activities that are relevant to professional practice.

On successful completion, students can continue their studies to a full degree by taking the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies Level 6 Top-up programme.

Your assignments will enable you to draw on your experience and work-based activity.

Examples include:

  • Observations and interpretation of children’s activity
  • Evaluation of given case studies
  • A critical review of literature on a specific topic
  • Group and individual presentations
  • Analysis of theoretical and research-based evidence
  • Podcasting, emails and discussion boards.

You will also have the opportunity to attend a tutorial after each teaching day if you require any further guidance.

Careers

Develop your career opportunities within early years professions

Our Foundation Degree Early Years course allows you to develop as a early childhood worker through an intermediate level of study.

In addition, the course prepares you to transfer onto our BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies Level 6 Top-Up programme to complete a full-degree in this area.

These options will allow you to develop your career working with young children and opens a multitude of potential avenues for your future.

Career paths include:

  • Early Years management
  • Teaching
  • Health and social care
  • Policy-making
  • Nursery management
  • Hospital support
  • SEND

Student View

"I feel that I am becoming a better-quality practitioner"

Elaine

Early Years practitioner
"I am an Early Years practitioner in the baby room 0 – 3 years and I work full-time alongside my degree. This course is giving me an understanding of the theory and giving me the opportunity to put this into practice the knowledge that I gain at University. I feel that I am becoming a better-quality practitioner in the process."

Jemima

Nursery worker
"I work in the toddler room of a small nursery alongside my studies – I get the best of both! The Foundation Degree is definitely more suited to me than the traditional route to gain the full honours degree because I can study and work at the same time. The lecturers have been really supportive and amazing to fit the whole course into one day a week."

Gemma

Nursery Practitioner
"I am a qualified Level 3 Nursery Practitioner and currently working within a primary school in a reception class. I'm a mum of two young children so attending university one day a week supports my working and family life. The lectures each week are really enjoyable and informative and the lecturers are so supportive and friendly. This degree is really boosting my knowledge and confidence. On completion of my full degree, I hope to follow my passion of becoming an Early Years Teacher. I would recommend this course to anyone looking to further their childcare knowledge and education."

Course Costs

Course fees 2022/23

UK fee
£5,500

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.

 

Entry Requirements

Typical offer (individual offers vary)

  • All students must be employed or carrying out voluntary work in a relevant early years setting (minimum of 12 hours per week).
  • Two years’ experience in the sector.
  • At least one Level 3 qualification (A level / BTEC / Cambridge Technical / NVQ3 / Advanced Apprenticeship).

Interview

The interview is designed to assess the applicant’s suitability for early years.

It is expected that most, but not all, applicants will have significant experience of working in an early years setting, most often gained through placement experience.

We will discuss how the course is delivered and what it involves so that it is a two-way process through which you can ask as many questions as we do!

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