module specification

AE6009 - Education and Children's Lives: Social Worlds of Childhood (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module title Education and Children's Lives: Social Worlds of Childhood
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 300
210 hours Guided independent study
90 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 20%   1,000 word essay
Coursework 80%   3,000 word report
Running in 2022/23

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Friday Afternoon

Module summary

The aims of this module are to:

• Examine childhood as an historically and culturally constructed phenomenon and understand the role of institutions and professional practice in reproducing those constructions;
• Explore the intersections of social variables with childhood and the position of children as social actors;
• Reflect on ways that settings can and do respond to difference;
• Introduce students to the spatial turn across the social sciences and its affordances in offering insight into children’s lives;
• Equip students with practical and workable approaches to research enquiry with and by children.


The module explores and addresses:

• Histories of education, ‘modern’ childhood and ‘the child’
• Social constructionism, developmentalism and beyond nature/culture
• Spatiality, children’s lived spaces and institutional design
• Childhood and social class, ethnicity, gender, (dis)ability and sexuality
• Equality, diversity and difference
• Childhoods across majority and minority worlds and local impacts on schooling and other institutions of childhood
• Children’s work, labour and play
• Institutions of childhood and children’s lives in institutions
• Research and research methods on, with and by children LO1,LO2,LO3,LO4

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The module offers a blended approach to learning comprising, inter alia, opportunities for directed study, workshops, lectures and prepared seminars with research activity.  The latter requires students to undertake a small scale research activity involving children in settings as a case study that draws the components of the module together.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the module students will:

1. Have evaluated the contribution and usefulness of social constructionist accounts for childhood;
2. Have acquired knowledge and critical understanding of practical responses to addressing social and cultural differences in childhood and the relationship between the practices and values of institutional settings and children’s lives as social actors;
3. Be able to discuss children’s lives in terms of the language of space, place and spatiality and its contribution to understanding children’s lives;
4. Be able to conduct research with and by children that can inform their practice as professionals.

Assessment strategy

The module assessment has two components:

1.  Two 500 word discussions of childhood as historical, social and spatial phenomenon as preparation for examination of children’s lives and lived spaces in Cwk 002

2.  3,000 word report on small scale qualitative research project with and/or by children in an institutional setting, including reflection on methods and methodologies


Core reading

Blundell, D., (2012), Education and Constructions of Childhood, London: Continuum
Blundell, D., “Education and childhood”, chapter 7 in Isaacs, S., Blundell, D., Foley, A., Ginsberg, N., McDonough, B., Silverstone, D. and Young, T., (2014), Social Problems in the UK: an introduction, London: Routledge
Blundell, D., (2016), Rethinking Children’s Spaces and Places, London and New York: Bloomsbury  
Burman, E., (2008), Deconstructing Developmental Psychology, London: Routledge
Kehily, M.J., (2013), Understanding Childhood: a cross-disciplinary approach, Bristol: The Policy Press
Taylor, A., (2012), Reconfiguring the Natures of Childhood, London: Routledge

Additional reading

Ansell, N., (2008), Children, Youth and Development, London: Routledge
Blundell, D., “’Nature’, childhood, and The Anthropocene: evaluating the challenges for Education Studies”, Educational Futures, 8(1) (February, 2017)
Blundell, D. and Abegglen, S., “European ideals, schooling and modern childhood”, Chapter 8 in Isaacs, S.(ed.)( 2017), European Social Problems, London: Routledge 
Blundell, D., ‘Education and the Global City: urbanisation and some ‘lived spaces’ of childhood’, in Simon, C. and Downes, G., (Eds.) (2018 – in preparation), Sociology for Education Studies, London: Routledge
Burke, C. and Grosvenor, I., (2008), School, London: Reaktion Books
Burns, T., Abegglen, S. and Blundell, D., (under review), “Where kids run free: adventure play in East London and beyond”
Burr, V., (2003), Social Constructionism, London: Routledge
The Children’s Society, (2015), The Good Childhood Report 2015 – HTTP:// – accessed 11.8.15
Gutman, M. and de Coninck-Smith, N., (2007), Designing Modern Childhoods: history, space, and the material culture of children, New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press
Hendrick, H., (1997), Children, Childhood and English Society 1880-1990, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Hoque, A., (2015), British Islamic Identity: third generation Bangladeshis from East London, London: IOE/Trentham
James, A. and Prout, A, (eds.)(2015) Constructing and Reconstructing Childhood: contemporary issues in the sociological study of childhood, London: Routledge
Jones, P., (2009), Rethinking Childhood: attitudes in contemporary society, London: Continuum
Jones, P. and Welch, G., (2011), Rethinking Children’s Rights: attitudes in contemporary society, London: Continuum
Kehily, M.J., (2009), An Introduction to Childhood Studies, Maidenhead: OU Press
Kellett, M., (2010), Rethinking Children and Research, London: Bloomsbury
Kraftl, P., Horton, J. And Tucker, F., (Eds.) (2012), Critical Geographies of Childhood and Youth, Bristol: The Policy Press
Kraftl, P., (2014), Geographies of Alternative Education: Diverse Learning Spaces for Children and Young People, London: Policy Press
Massey, D., (2005), For Space, London: Routledge
Pacini-Kethchabaw, V. and Taylor, A., (eds.)(2015) Unsettling the Colonial Places and Spaces of Early Childhood Education, New York: Routledge
Prout, A., (2005), The Future of Childhood, London: Routledge
Wells, K., (2009), Childhood in Global Perspective, Cambridge: Polity Press