Course specification and structure
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UDERLYCS - BA Early Childhood Studies

Course Specification


Validation status Validated
Highest award Bachelor of Arts Level Honours
Possible interim awards Bachelor of Arts, Diploma of Higher Education, Certificate of Higher Education, Bachelor of Arts
Total credits for course 360
Awarding institution London Metropolitan University
Teaching institutions London Metropolitan University
School School of Social Professions
Subject Area Health, Social Care and Early Childhood
Attendance options
Option Minimum duration Maximum duration
Full-time 3 YEARS  
Part-time 4 YEARS  
Part-time Distance Learning 4 YEARS  
Full-time Distance Learning 3 YEARS  
Course leader  

About the course and its strategy towards teaching and learning and towards blended learning/e-learning

The BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies is a full or part-time degree, offered in both taught and distance learning modes. The degree has been developed to meet the need for well-qualified early childhood specialists working with young children and their families across all sectors; play, care, health and education and provides academic routes for those wishing to achieve Early Years Teacher Status. Students who are experienced practitioners are required to be working with young children during their studies, so either attend for taught sessions in the day or evenings or study through distance learning, usually part-time. Students, who are new entrants to the field, would attend for taught sessions in the day, usually full-time and are required to complete assessed professional placements in early childhood settings at level 4 of the course in order to gain practitioner experience students need to choose the placement module at level 5 in order to be classed as having a full and relevant status under the Early years Foundation Stage framework requirements for 2014 and therefore achieving a BA Hons Early Childhood Studies with Practitioner Option . Therefore, a key feature of the course is its emphasis on praxis and the development of professional as well as academic skills and knowledge.

The focus of Early Childhood Studies is the study of the play, development and learning of the young child in a historical, political and socio-cultural context and the implications of this for practice in early childhood settings. A range of local and international perspectives are taken, including; children's rights, children's health and well-being, pedagogical and curriculum approaches, diversity and inclusion. The course therefore draws on a range of disciplines such as psychology, sociology and social policy, education and health.

Teaching and learning strategies and methods include lectures seminars and blended learning for taught students; and for distance learning students, access to course materials through the university’s virtual learning environment. A range of visual materials, such as diagrams, photographs and videos are used both in the classroom and on the university’s virtual learning platform, and are therefore available to all students. Students are also encouraged to undertake enriching activities e.g. attendance at relevant exhibitions and visits to relevant sites or community resources and these enrichment activities are embedded in some modules.
Distance learning students who are located geographically near to the university are included in all university based teaching and learning and enrichment activities. Students who are located at a distance from the university are offered parallel activities and experiences through the university’s virtual learning platform and to engage with relevant facilities local to them.

Debate and group discussion support cognitive skills both in the classroom and through web-based discussion and seminar groups. Reflection and discussion are key to teaching for all students – for taught students this will be in the context of tutor-led sessions while for distance learning students reflection will be promoted by the reflective exercises incorporated into the web-based materials. For all students experiential learning promotes their growing ability to act as a reflective practitioner.

Teaching and learning strategies and methods also focus on workplace skills and professionalism. All students undertake and reflect on observations in the placement / workplace and all modules have a range of weekly tasks and reflective exercises to support increased knowledge and understanding. Observations, action research, work-related tasks and the use of development planning tools support the growth of practitioners’ professional competence. The development of transferable skills in presenting evidence, arguments and points of view to a range of audiences, through a range of media, including the use of ICT also supports learning.

Course aims

This course aims to:

  1. Develop the professional competence of those who work with young children and their families, meeting local and national workforce development needs, thereby improving the quality of early childhood care and education across a range of services
  2. Promote the academic study of children and early childhood in an ecological context and to enable students to develop insights and understandings relating to how children and childhood are understood from a range of academic and professional perspectives
  3. Facilitate the development of early childhood specialists who are able to explain, reflect upon and critically assess their own practice; the legislative and historical framework in which they work and to take a well-informed part in current debates in the field, thereby acting as advocates in the field
  4. Enable students to recognise their strengths, capabilities and experience as professionals and learners and to take active responsibility for their own learning and to contribute to the learning of their colleagues
  5. Develop students’ awareness of the inequalities faced by young children and their families and to develop awareness of anti-discriminatory practice
  6. Enhance the professional identities of early childhood practitioners, within a multi-disciplinary, multi-professional context
  7. Enable, empower and enthuse students to make transformational changes to their own lives and to the lives of children, families and communities
  8. Enable students to meet required early childhood care and education professional standards

Course learning outcomes

The following learning outcomes incorporate and depend on systematic understanding of the key aspects of the knowledge base of Early Childhood Studies, including a coherent and detailed knowledge of some specialist areas in depth.

On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. Deploy accurately established techniques of analysis and enquiry within Early Childhood Studies
  2. Devise and sustain arguments, and/or to solve problems, using ideas and techniques, some of which are at the forefront of Early Childhood Studies
  3. Describe and comment upon particular aspects of current research, or equivalent advanced scholarship, in Early Childhood Studies, recognising the uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of knowledge
  4. Manage their own learning, and to make use of scholarly reviews and primary sources (for example, refereed research articles and/or original materials appropriate to Early Childhood Studies);
  5. Apply the methods and techniques that they have learned to review, consolidate, extend and apply their knowledge and understanding, and to initiate and carry out projects;
  6. Critically evaluate arguments, assumptions, abstract concepts and data (that may be incomplete), to make judgements, and to frame appropriate questions to achieve a solution - or identify a range of solutions - to a problem;
  7. Communicate information, ideas, problems and solutions to both specialist and non-specialist audiences;
  8. Exercise initiative and personal responsibility, including decision-making in complex and unpredictable contexts;
  9. Undertake appropriate further training of a professional or equivalent nature.

Principle QAA benchmark statements

The programme aims to present multiple perspectives and to draw on a range of
significant disciplines, such as history, psychology, education, health, welfare, sociology
and social policy, cultural studies, the law, and political and economic perspectives. This
enables students to understand and analyse the processes that shape childhood and
children's lives in a way that fosters critical evaluation, and which includes an
understanding of the contested and changing nature of the concept of childhood,
ethical principles and children's rights.

Assessment strategy

The teaching and learning strategies offer a wide range of opportunities for formative feedback. All students, taught course and distance learning, have opportunities for formative assessment through submitting tasks for either peer review or tutor written feedback as appropriate. Taught course students also receive formative feedback in class activities and group activities, whilst distance learning students have the opportunity for on-line discussion forums and quizzes. Students are encouraged to reflect on and take responsibility for their own learning, building on the formative feedback they receive.

All students for both taught and distance learning modes are invited to attend a face to face tutorial to discuss their summative assessment in advance of submission deadlines. Where a personal meeting is not possible, (for example, students living abroad and studying in distance learning mode) this will take place by telephone or e-mail. Students will receive detailed formative written feedback following these tutorials.

A range of summative assessment instruments are utilised throughout the course in ways which will enable students to demonstrate their skills, knowledge and understanding. The range includes essays, child studies, critical analysis of policies, portfolios and a final research project. Taught course students make oral presentations, while distance learning students undertake parallel assessment tasks but in written form. All students will receive written feedback against all criteria following the publication of marks. This will be the most comprehensive in cases of failure, where this will support learning for reassessment.
Students without a pre-existing level 3 early childhood qualification or the required experience must undertake assessed placements in relevant settings for a minimum of 400 hours across levels 4 and 5 of the course, in order to achieve professional recognition. Assessment will be through completion of a portfolio of work and through setting based practice assessments against agreed criteria on three occasions over the course of an academic year. Setting-based mentors and university supervising tutors will complete regular observations, with formative feedback given on each occasion. A report will be completed with a grade given.

There is a strong emphasis in all assessment instruments on the relationship between practical work related tasks and theoretical perspectives – which is itself an important practical professional skill.

Organised work experience, work based learning, sandwich year or year abroad

Students, who are experienced practitioners in the field will normally be working with young children throughout their studies; where this is not the case they must spend a minimum of two hours per week per module observing and working with young children in a placement in an early childhood setting.

Students who are new entrants to the field will be required to spend a minimum of 400 hours across levels 4 and 5 in an assessed placement in an early childhood setting. Students are supported by a setting based mentor and a university supervising tutor. Assessment will be through completion of a portfolio of work and through setting based practice assessments against agreed criteria on three occasions over the course of an academic year.

Course specific regulations

Students who have completed a Foundation degree in Early Childhood with one of our partner institutions and who are enrolled as LMU students are able to complete at BA level as well as BA (Hons).

Modules required for interim awards

The following modules are core compulsory for the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies

  • • Adults and Children as learners: An Introduction to Early Childhood Studies
  • • Perspectives On Children’s Development
  • • Understanding Play
  • • Safeguarding Young Children’s Health and Wellbeing
  • • PSED Matters
  • • Approaches to Pedagogy and Curriculum in the Early Years
  • • Challenging Inequalities in Early Childhood
  • • Reflective Leadership in a Multi-professional Context
  • • Debates on Children and Childhood
  • • The Child, the Family and the Wider World
  • • Reading Research and Research Methods in Early Childhood
  • • The Project

To attain the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies (with Professional Practice ) students must pass the following in addition to the above core compulsory modules:

  • • Adults and Children as learners: An introduction to Studying Early Childhood
  • • Professional Studies and Practitioner Placement 2

The following modules are core compulsory for the Certificate of HE Early Childhood Studies:

  • Adults and Children as learners: An Introduction to Early Childhood Studies
  • Perspectives On Children’s Development
  • Understanding Play
  • Safeguarding Young Children’s Health and Wellbeing

The following modules are core compulsory for the Diploma of HE Early Childhood Studies :

  • Adults and Children as learners: An Introduction to Early Childhood Studies
  • Perspectives On Children’s Development
  • Understanding Play
  • Safeguarding Young Children’s Health and Wellbeing
  • PSED Matters
  • Approaches to Pedagogy and Curriculum in the Early Years
  • Challenging Inequalities in Early Childhood
  • Communicating In Multilingual Contexts

The following modules are core compulsory for the BA Early Childhood Studies

  • Adults and Children as learners: An Introduction to Early Childhood Studies
  • Perspectives On Children’s Development
  • Understanding Play
  • Safeguarding Young Children’s Health and Wellbeing
  • PSED Matters
  • Approaches to Pedagogy and Curriculum in the Early Years
  • Challenging Inequalities in Early Childhood
  • Communicating In Multilingual Contexts
  • Reflective Leadership in a Multi-professional Context
  • The Child, the Family and the Wider World•

Arrangements for promoting reflective learning and personal development

Reflection and discussion are key to the teaching and learning of all early childhood students – for taught students this will be in the context of tutor-led sessions while for distance learning students reflection will be promoted by the reflective exercises incorporated into the web-based materials. For all students experiential learning promotes their growing ability to act as a reflective practitioner. For example, they practise and reflect on techniques to promote effective interactions with children, parents/ carers and with other professionals, undertake critical evaluations of their own practice, keep learning journals and develop portfolios of evidence against professional standards.

All students are invited to discuss their progress with Course Leaders and Module Tutors which take place either face to face or in the case of many of our Distance Learning students, on the telephone or through e-mail. These meetings ensure that the individual student is supported in their studies and enabled to progress appropriately according to their needs.

Arrangements on the course for careers education, information and guidance

Course leaders for both the academic and professional strands of the course ensure that students understand this professional role and potential future career opportunities. For students who are experienced and in employment, there are no formal arrangements for career guidance. However there are occasional optional seminars informing students about particular career options. Networks amongst students also support career choices.

Other external links providing expertise and experience

The National Children’s Bureau library offers ECSS students additional subject expertise.

Career opportunities

Graduates of this degree go on to pursue a variety of careers in education, health and social care sectors. 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, nursery and primary schools, and 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.

A significant number of students continue their professional studies, whether it's through the PGCE route to teaching or at postgraduate level.

Entry requirements

Entry requirement for full-time students

In addition to the University's standard entry requirements, you should have:

  • met the standard entry requirements of a Level 3 qualification in early years/ childcare: ie NVQ3, CACHE/BTEC Diploma or a recognised access to higher education certificate in a related subject
  • two references and evidence of an enhanced criminal records check
  • English and Mathematics GCSEs at grade C (grade 4 from 2017) or above, or Key Skills in Literacy and Maths at Level 2 or Functional Skills Level 2, or an agreed National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) equivalent

Entry requirement for part-time and distance learning students

In addition to the University's standard entry requirements, you should have:

  • a minimum of two years’ full-time employment experience of work with young children
  • current employment as a practitioner with children from birth to six years, or be able to undertake a placement in an early childhood setting for a minimum of two hours per week per module studied
  • met the standard entry requirements of a Level 3 qualification in early years/ childcare: ie NVQ3, CACHE/BTEC Diploma or a recognised access to higher education certificate in a related subject
    two references and evidence of an enhanced criminal records check
  • English and Mathematics GCSEs at grade C (grade 4 from 2017) or above, or Key Skills in Literacy and Maths at Level 2 or Functional Skills Level 2, or an agreed National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) equivalent

If you don’t have traditional qualifications or can’t meet the entry requirements for this undergraduate degree, you may still be able to gain entry by completing the Early Childhood Studies Extended Degree BA (Hons).

All applicants must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.

Due to statutory requirements, we are not able to offer sponsorship under the Tier 4 visa route for this course. We will be happy to consider those falling into this category for an alternative suitable course on request. Overseas nationals who already hold an alternative visa in a suitable category or have been granted permission to remain in the UK indefinitely, and EU nationals may be considered for admission but please note that an additional international enhanced police check will be required.

Official use and codes

Approved to run from 2013/14 Specification version 1 Specification status Validated
Original validation date 01 Sep 2013 Last validation date 01 Sep 2013  
Sources of funding HE FUNDING COUNCIL FOR ENGLAND
JACS codes X310 (Academic Studies in Nursery Education): 100%
Route code ERLYCS

Course Structure

Stage 1 Level 04 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
SE4001 Adults and Children as Learners: An Introductio... Core 30 NORTH AUT+SPR THU AM
          NORTH AUT+SPR TUE PM
          NORTH AUT+SPR MON EV
SE4002 Perspectives on Children's Development Core 30 NORTH AUT+SPR MON PM
          NORTH AUT+SPR WED AM
SE4003 Understanding Play Core 30 NORTH AUT+SPR THU PM
          NORTH AUT+SPR TUE AM
SE4004 Safeguarding Young Children's Health and Well-b... Core 30 NORTH AUT+SPR MON AM
          NORTH AUT+SPR WED PM

Stage 1 Level 04 January start Not currently offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
SE4001 Adults and Children as Learners: An Introductio... Core 30        
SE4002 Perspectives on Children's Development Core 30        
SE4003 Understanding Play Core 30        
SE4004 Safeguarding Young Children's Health and Well-b... Core 30        

Stage 2 Level 05 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
SE5001 Challenging Inequalities in Early Childhood Core 30 NORTH AUT+SPR WED AM
          NORTH AUT+SPR TUE AM
SE5002 Approaches to Pedagogy and Curriculum in the Ea... Core 30 NORTH AUT+SPR MON EV
          NORTH AUT+SPR TUE PM
          NORTH AUT+SPR WED PM
SE5003 Personal, Social and Emotional Development Matters Core 30 NORTH AUT+SPR WED AM
          NORTH AUT+SPR TUE PM
SE5054 Creative Thinking and Representation from Birth... Option 15 NORTH SPR WED PM
          NORTH SPR TUE AM
SE5055 Communicating in Multi-lingual contexts Option 15 NORTH AUT WED PM
          NORTH AUT TUE AM
SE5W50 Professional Studies and Practitioner Placement... Option 15 NORTH AUT+SPR FRI AM

Stage 3 Level 06 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
SE6001 Debates on Children and Childhood Core 30 NORTH AUT+SPR MON PM
SE6002 Reflective Leadership in a Multi-Professional C... Core 30 NORTH AUT+SPR MON AM
SE6053 The Child, the Family and the Wider World Core 15 NORTH SPR FRI AM
          NORTH SPR TUE EV
SE6054 Reading Research and Research Methods in Early ... Core 15 NORTH AUT FRI AM
          NORTH AUT TUE EV
SE6P05 The Project (Early Childhood Studies) Core 30 NORTH AUT+SPR NA NA