module specification

SE7001 - Distinctive Approaches in Early Childhood Education and Care (2024/25)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2024/25
Module title Distinctive Approaches in Early Childhood Education and Care
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 300
225 hours Guided independent study
75 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Observational visit and essay
Running in 2024/25

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

Module summary

This module explores a range of distinctive approaches in early childhood education and care.  Students will demonstrate an understanding of the philosophical roots of these different approaches and consider the impact they have had or might have on their own provision.

Module aims

This module aims to enable students to:

  • Understand that there are a range of distinctive approaches to early childhood education and care – each with its own history and distinctive philosophy
  • Understand how these distinctive approaches have impacted on their own practice as well as the practice of others in the early childhood profession
  • Consider how these distinctive approaches might inform the development of their own professional practice
  • Consider their own values and philosophies of early childhood


This module explores a range of distinctive approaches in early childhood. In so doing students will examine the impact such approaches have made on their own provision or the potential impact of such approaches.

Approaches explored include:

  • Steiner
  • High Scope
  • Montessori
  • Froebel
  • Forest/beach school approach
  • Supplementary/community provision
  • Vivian Gussin Paley
  • Reggio Emilia approach
  • Te Whariki
  • Integrated provision

Learning and teaching

Students will receive 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 reflective tasks.

Reflection and discussion are key to teaching – reflection will be promoted by the discussion-board exercises incorporated into the web-based materials. 

Teaching and learning strategies and methods will link module content to workplace skills and professionalism in the early years.

Learning outcomes

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

1. outline and discuss in depth distinctive approaches in early childhood education and care and their philosophical underpinnings
2. explain and analyse how these approaches have informed early childhood practice
3. critically examine their own values and philosophies of early childhood education and care in the light of the distinctive approaches discussed in the module


Carlina, R. (2004). Early Childhood Education in Reggio Emilia: dialoguing, listening and researching. London: RoutlegdeFalmer

Cooper, P. (2009). The Classroom all Young Children Need: lessons in teaching from Vivan Paley. Chicago: University Chicago Press

Dahlberg, G. and Moss, P. (2005). Ethics and politics in early childhood education. London: RoutledgeFalmer

Edwards, C., Gandini, L. and Forman, G. (1998). The Hundred Languages of Children: the Reggio Emilia approach – advanced reflections. London: Ablex

Froebel, F. (2005). The Education of Man. New York: Dover Publications

Gussin Paley, V. (1990). The Boy Who Would Be a Helicopter. London: Harvard University Press

Holt, N. (2010). Bringing the High/Scope Approach to your Early Years Practice. London: Routledge

Janni, N. (2012). Understanding the Steiner Waldorf Approach: early years education in practice. London: Routledge

Knight, S. (2009). Forest Schools and Outdoor Learning in the Early Years. London: Sage

Melhuish, E. (2006). Early Childhood Care and Education: international perspectives. Oxon: Routledge

Montessori, M (1996). The Secret of Childhood. New York: Random House

Montessori, M (1988). The Absorbent Mind. Oxford: Clio

Parker-Rees, R. (2011). Meeting the Child in Steiner Kindergatens: An exploration of beliefs, values ana practices. Oxon: Routledge

Pound, L. and Miller, L. (Eds), (2010). Theories and Approaches to Learning in the Early Years. London: Sage

Rosaleen, J, (2012). Outdoor Learning: past and present. Maidenhead: Open University Press

Seddon, R. (2005). Philosophy as an Approach to the Spirit: an introduction to the fundamental work of Rudolf Steiner. Forest Row: Temple Lodge

Schweinhart, L. (1997). Lasting Differences: the High/Scope preschool curriculum comparison study through age 23. Michigan: High/Scope Press

Steiner, R. (1996). The Education of the Child and Early Lectures on Education. New York: Anthroposophic Press

Weston, P. (2000). Friedrich Froebel: his life, times and significance. Roehampton: University of Surrey Roehampton

Williams-Siegfredson, J. (2012). Understanding the Danish Forest School Approach: early years education in practice. London: Routledge