module specification

SE5002 - Approaches to Pedagogy and Curriculum in the Early Years (2024/25)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2024/25
Module title Approaches to Pedagogy and Curriculum in the Early Years
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 300
60 hours Placement / study abroad
150 hours Guided independent study
72 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
18 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 40%   A podcast (10 minutes) focusing on an aspect of practice or provision
Coursework 60%   Essay
Running in 2024/25

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year LMET Distance Learning Not applicable -

Module summary

This module will examine approaches to the early childhood curriculum in England and a selection of other countries and how these curricula relate to a range of theories of learning and pedagogical approaches. The development of and relationship between pedagogy and curriculum will be located within social and political contexts and the practical implementation of curriculum approaches will be explored.

Aims of the module:
This core module aims to enable students to:
 Develop their knowledge and understanding of a range of theories of how babies and young children learn.
 Study a range of pedagogical approaches and curriculum models for the 0-6 age range, from the UK and from selected other countries.
 Locate theories of learning and curriculum approaches within historical, socio-cultural and political contexts and consider curriculum as a social construct
 Develop skills in implementing a broad and balanced, child-centred curriculum

Prior learning requirements

Enhanced DBS
Students are expected to undertake 60 hours work placement providing for children in the birth to six age range as part of this module, normally in a group setting.


In this module, students will study significant learning theories underpinning early childhood curricula including behaviourist theories, Piagetian and post-Piagetian theory and recent work in the field of neuroscience. These theories will be related to a historically and culturally diverse range of curriculum models, such as Steiner, Montessori, Te Whariki and High Scope as well as the Early Years Foundation Stage. The philosophical underpinning of different pedagogical approaches will be considered and students will examine the interface between theories of learning, pedagogy and curriculum in early childhood and the implications of these for their practice. Students will examine and discuss holistic and child-centred approaches to implementing a broad and balanced curriculum, indoors, outdoors and beyond the early childhood setting. LO1,LO2,LO3,LO4

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

For taught course students theoretical input will be through lectures and seminars. Online 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 online as well as by e-mail or by telephone.

All students will benefit from a blended learning approach through the use of Web Learn 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.

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. Critically analyse aspects of early childhood curricula in relation to theories of learning and pedagogy and relate this to practice in their settings
2. Describe, analyse and constructively critique a range of perspectives on early childhood education in England and some other countries
3. Identify the relationship between the history of early childhood provision in the UK and its present form
4. Articulate the practitioner’s role in planning and implementing a broad and balanced, child-centred curriculum indoors, outdoors and beyond the early childhood setting


Bruce, T. (2015) Early Childhood Education, London: Hodder & Stoughton

Dahlberg, G., Moss, P. and Pence, A.  (2013) Beyond quality in early childhood education and care: languages of evaluation, (3rd Ed), Abingdon: Routledge E book

Lee, W., Carr, M., Soutar, B. and Mitchell, L. (2013) Understanding the Te Whariki Approach: Early years education in practice, Abingdon: Routledge

MacBlain, S. (2018) Learning Theories for Early Years Practice, London: Sage

MacNaughton, G. (2003) Shaping Early Childhood: learners, curriculum and contexts. Maidenhead: Open University Press E book

Miller, L. and Pound, L. (2011) Theories and Approaches to Learning in the Early Years, London: Sage
Mortimore, P. (Ed) (1999)  Understanding pedagogy and its impact on learning, London: Paul Chapman E book

Thorton, L. and Brunton, P. (2015) Understanding the Reggio appproach : early years education in practice (3rd Ed), Abingdon: Routledge

Klaar, S. and Ohman, J. (2014) ‘Children’s meaning-making of nature in an outdoor-oriented and democratic Swedish preschool practice’, European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, Vol. 22, No. 2, pp. 229–253

Soler, J. and Miller, L. (2003) ‘The Struggle for Early Childhood Curricula: A comparison of the English Foundation Stage Curriculum, Te Whariki and Reggio Emilia’, International Journal of Early Years Education, Vol.11, No. 1, pp 57-67

Ministry of Education (2018) Early Learning, available at:

OECD (2018) Early Childhood Education and Care – Home, available at:

Pikler UK Association (2018) Home, available at:

Sightlines Initiative (2015) In Dialogue with Reggio Emilia, available at: