module specification

SE4F02 - Perspectives on Children's Development (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23, but may be subject to modification
Module title Perspectives on Children's Development
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 300
90 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
150 hours Guided independent study
60 hours Placement / study abroad
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 20%   Patchwork text exploring perspectives on theories of development. (20%). 1000 words
Coursework 40%   An Essay discussing perspectives of development drawing on the patchwork text. (40%) 2,000 words.
Coursework 40%   A child study presentation
Running in 2022/23

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

Module summary

This module introduces students to a wide range of current theories relating to infant’s and young children’s development.

Prior learning requirements

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 core module aims to enable students to:
• Understand the integrated nature of young children’s development from birth to six years old
• Consider how cultural and social contexts impact on babies’ and young children’s development and learning
• Study a variety of developmental perspectives including developmental psychology, neuroscience and psychoanalytical theory
• Further develop their knowledge of key theorists and how their concepts inform our understanding of personal, social, emotional, physical, linguistic and cognitive development


In this module, students will study significant theories underpinning child development from birth to six in the context of human development. It will introduce students to a range of theoretical perspectives from developmental psychology, psycho-analytic and neuro-scientific theory and research, for considering babies’ and young children’s development.  It will underline the inter-relatedness of personal, social, emotional, physical, linguistic and cognitive development and discuss the role of relationships, movement, talk, exploration and self-concept in development.  Some of the issues associated with child development theory and assessment, such as cultural bias and gender differences will be explored.  The importance for early childhood professionals of accessing the views of parents and carers on their children’s development will be considered.

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.Video and slide material will also be used to familiarise students with a range of curriculum models.

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. Discuss significant aspects of babies’ and young children’s social, emotional, cognitive, physical and linguistic development
2.  Articulate the impact of the social, cultural and environmental context on the development of babies and young children
3. Develop and present arguments which illustrate the interrelatedness of areas of development and learning
4. Discuss a variety of theories and perspectives on children’s development and their strengths and limitations

Assessment strategy

Students from both taught and distance learning modes are required to carry out a child study based on observations and other portfolio material made throughout the module.  Students will be able to demonstrate they have met the learning outcomes through incorporating these into afinal written analysis and interpretation of that material, drawing on relevant research and theoretical insight, alongside an essay in which they discuss perspectives on child development.

Formative assessment will be ongoing through tutor and peer feedback to postings on WebLearn alongside weekly feedback and discussion in taught course sessions and regular written feedback on reflective tasks for distance learning students. Formative assessment will also be through the submission of 4 observations, each of which will be given an indicative grade by the module tutor or through peer assessment. All students will have the opportunity for self assessment and ongoing reflection on their learning through on-line quizzes and short answer questions.

All students for both taught and distance learning modes 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.  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.

All 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.


Bee, H., Boyd, D. (2009) (12th edition) The Developing Child, New York: Allyn and Bacon.
Donaldson, M. (1978) Children’s Minds, London: Fontana.
Fawcett, M. (2009) Learning through Child Observation,  London: Jessica Kingsley E book
Gopnik, A., Meltzoff, A.,Kuhl, P. (1999) How Babies Think, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Keenan, T., Evans, S., (2009) (2nd edition) An Introduction To Child Development,  London: Sage
Lindon, J. (2010) (2nd edition), Understanding Child Development: Linking Theory and Practice, London: Hodder Education
Robinson, M. (2008) Child Development 0-8: A Journey Through the Early Years, Maidenhead: OUP E book
Shaffer, H.R. (2004) Introducing Child Development, Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.
Smith, P., Cowie, H., Blades, M., (2003) (4th Edition) Understanding Children’s Development, Oxford: Blackwell
Trawick-Smith, J., (2010) (5th Edition) Early Childhood Development, A Multicultural Perspective,  London: Pearson