module specification

SE4F01 - Adults and Children as Learners: An Introduction to Early Childhood Studies (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23, but may be subject to modification
Module title Adults and Children as Learners: An Introduction to Early Childhood Studies
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 310
90 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
160 hours Guided independent study
60 hours Placement / study abroad
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   A Portfolio of 10 Work based tasks
Coursework 50%   An essay on a given title 2,500 words
Running in 2022/23

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
No instances running in the year

Module summary

This module introduces study skills and ideas of academic discourse and audience alongside key theories of how adults and children learn and key professional skills in the early childhood field.

Prior learning requirements

This module is core for students who are returning to study and who are currently employed in the early childhood field. Students should normally have a minimum of three years full-time experience (or equivalent) of working with young children and their families.  It is expected that students will be in a work placement providing for children in the birth to six age range for a minimum of 2 hours each week throughout the module, normally in a group setting.

Module aims

This module offers an orientation to higher education and aims to help students:

  • Relate their own learning to the professional context of early childhood  studies and to theories of the learning of babies and young children.
  • Make connections between work based and academic knowledge, and develop skills in all aspects of academic discourse; written, electronic and oral, and develop confidence within the academic environment.
  • Consider the professional skills required within an early years setting including communication, teamwork, partnership with parents and an anti-bias approach;
  • Consider the history of child observation and a range of models of observation and assessment tools from different perspectives
  • Develop an awareness and understanding of the historical, social and political context of early childhood services and of the cultures, principles and values that underpin early childhood practice.


This module will give students the opportunity to note, practise and reflect on their own strategies and skills for learning and study and relate these to theories of learning in early childhood.  There will be an overview of the range of professionals who work with babies, young children and their families and the development of professional skills required to work in early year settings will be reviewed including: Communication skills and teamwork, models of observation and assessment, the key person approach, working in partnership with parents and using an anti-bias approach. Concepts and debates central to the context of early childhood provision will be discussed including; the home/group care debate and the concepts of ‘caregiving’, ‘educare’ and ‘early education’.

Learning and teaching

For taught course students theoretical input will be through lectures and seminars. Distance Learning students will receive the same theoretical input through bespoke on-line module materials with access to an allocated tutor who is available to support them either face-to-face, by e-mail or by telephone. All students will benefit from a blended learning approach through the use of WebLearn for supplementary materials, links to E-books, on-line discussions and self assessment exercises such as quizzes and reflective tasks.

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 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 workplace and weekly tasks and reflective exercises 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 individual learning.

Learning outcomes

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

1. Recognise significant issues relating to their own learning and practical experience and relate this to the learning of young children
2. Present material in a range of formats, making use of a variety of sources of information and appropriate academic references
3. Discuss the values, principles and skills required to work as early years professionals and students in an anti-bias context
4. Use and critically analyse a range of observational techniques
5. Explain the importance of working in co-operation and collaboration with colleagues, parents and other professionals

Assessment strategy

Students are required to compile a portfolio of 10 tasks, which are distributed throughout the module, Supported by their workbase mentor and module tutor in which the student reflects and discusses on different  aspects of studying and learning in relation to themselves and to young children. These are submitted for assessment on completion of the module. The tasks will ensure that learning outcomes can be demonstrated and the development of collaboration will be assessed through electronically based discussions and/or through work with study partners. 

Formative assessment will be ongoing through tutor and peer feedback to postings on Vle programme, alongside weekly feedback and discussion. Students will have the opportunity for self assessment and ongoing reflection on their learning through on-line quizzes and short answer questions.

Students will be invited to attend a face to face tutorial to discuss their summative assessment in advance of submission deadlines and to receive detailed formative feedback. Students will receive detailed formative written feedback following these tutorials.

Students will receive written feedback against all learning outcomes following the publication of marks. This will be the most comprehensive in cases of failure, where this will support learning for reassessment.


Becker, L., (2009) The Mature Student’s Handbook  Basingstoke: Palgrave McMillan
Blandford S., & Knowles, C. (2009) Developing Professional Practice 0-7, Essex, PearsonBurns, T, Sinfield, S. (2008) (2nd edition), Essential Study Skills London: Sage
Dawson, C. (2004) Learning How to Study Again: A Practical Guide to Study Skills for Mature Students Returning to Education or Distance Learning, Oxford: How To Books
Fawcett, M. (2009) Learning through Child Observation,  London: Jessica Kingsley E book
McMillan, K., Weyers, J. (2010) How to Write Essays and Assignments, Harlow: Pearson (available as E book)
Sambell K., Gibson M., Miller S., (2010) (2nd edition) Studying Childhood and Early Childhood: A Guide for Students  London: Sage
Siraj-Blatchford, I., Clarke, K., Needham, M., (2007) The Team Around the Child: Multi-agency Working in the Early Years Staffordshire: Trentham Books
Wilson, E., Bedford, D. (2009) Study Skills for Part-Time Students, Harlow: Pearson  (to download ‘Every Parent Matters’ document)