What is the nature of childhood? Is it different around the world? Study early childhood studies with us to explore international perceptions and realities of childhood. Expand your learning further on field trips across the UK and Europe.
Life comes at us fast in our early years. On this early childhood studies degree, you’ll explore the nature of childhood, of young children and their families, and the provision made for them. We’ll look at the latest developments in the field from all over the world.
There are lots of job opportunities in the early years sector. We’ll help you develop your interest in children’s early years development, or plan for a career working with children aged 0-8.
You’ll develop transferrable skills. You’ll go on field trips in the UK and Europe. You’ll also have the chance to achieve an Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner Certificate (ECGPC) – this will allow you to enter the job market for professional early education roles up to level 6. You’ll be a step ahead of graduates who don’t have the certificate.
The degree starts with an introduction to early childhood studies to equip you with the analysis tools you need for Year 2 and 3. We’ll talk about childhood in the broad context of world development and change. We’ll also introduce you to social and developmental psychology, social policy, and education studies. In Year 1, you can enrol on the Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner Certificate (ECGPC) which you’ll complete across all three years of your degree.
Child Developmental and Social Psychology identifies and explores the major issues and debates of relevance to early childhood studies and childhood & youth studies within the discipline of psychology. In considering the importance and impact of developmental psychology on the study of childhood and youth, the module focuses on cognitive development, attachment theory, personality theories and views of intelligence in psychology. It additionally addresses key perspectives in social psychology including theoretical perspectives concerning social identity and group processes, psychological explanations of aggression and attitude, and wider interpersonal influences.
Module code: SPY1102
Children and Young People in Society
Children and Young People in Society explores both historical and contemporary dimensions of childhood and youth. The module introduces the idea that childhood is a social construction dependent on the history, cultural values and power structure of the society in which children live. You will consider the way in which the social, economic, political, scientific, legal and institutional contexts in which children have lived and live today shapes their experience of childhood. The module challenges some commonly held beliefs about children and the institutionalisation of childhood. It also provides a personal development programme that will develop essential academic skills including time management, academic reading and writing, information retrieval, critical thinking and analysis.
Module code: SPY1103
Early Years Pedagogy
Early Years Pedagogy will help you to understand the fundamental principles that underpin early years pedagogy by exploring a range of concepts from the pioneers of early years education, together with the impact of this on current early years provision. You will also research the history of early years education as well as the development of children’s rights with consideration of the impact on the early years curriculum. You will examine and evaluate a number of key educational theorists and their associated ideas, comparing and contrasting these in order to understand the educational context and principles of teaching.
Module code: EYT1003
Introduction to Social Policy and Welfare
Introduction to Social Policy and Welfare provides an overview of some of the key areas of social policy and welfare, such as education, health, employment, poverty and child welfare. The module offers a critical introduction to key approaches to the development of social welfare policy and the political ideologies that have influenced it in historical and contemporary perspective, exploring how these approaches to the provision of welfare compare and contrast with one another. You will also discover different philosophical and ideological understandings of key concepts in social policy, including equality, rights, liberty, social justice and deservingness and how they have – and might – influence the development and implementation of contemporary social policy.
Module code: SPY1104
Working with Young Children and Families
Working with Young Children and Families introduces you to notions of professional work with children and young people including issues around inter-professional working, law and policy. The module will introduce issues for discussion which may arise when working with young people as a professional and begin to unpick the contrasting notions of professionalism and managerialism. You will focus on the contexts of working collaboratively with children, young people and their families and will introduce a variety of areas, for example education, training work and care, health and well-being, safeguarding and child protection, play and learning. The module will also begin to deal with issues such as equality and diversity, children’s rights and participation, and principles of anti-discriminatory and anti-oppressive practice. It is designed to enable you to examine work with young people from theoretical, policy, legal and practice perspectives.
Exploring the Social World offers an opportunity for you to explore your personal beliefs and attitudes towards a range of social issues. Visiting speakers will talk to you about particular issues and related social campaigns. Working in teams, you will choose a social issue to focus on and you will be introduced to basic research skills so that you can look further into them. You will be supported in collecting, describing and evaluating a range of materials and you will use your findings in order to design a leaflet and poster campaign in support of (or in opposition to) your chosen issue.
Module code: SPY1107
Language 1 is ideal if you want to learn a new language, or further develop your current language skills, as an integrated part of this degree. You can study French, German, Arabic, Italian, Mandarin or Spanish (subject to minimum numbers for your preferred language). Delivered at the Edge Hill Language Centre, the module will be taught in an interactive, communicative manner, using authentic materials in the target language. Emphasis will be placed on all four areas of reading, writing, speaking and listening. You will play an active role in the weekly two-hour classes, engaging in role-plays, short conversations, videos, authentic texts and listening materials. You will also be encouraged to reflect on your own learning needs. On enrolment to the module, you will complete a language induction form and be placed into a language level group appropriate for your prior knowledge of your chosen language. Please note, while we will endeavour to accommodate varying language levels per module, this is not always possible. While you can join the module with some prior experience of your target language, you will not be able to study a language you are already fluent or proficient in.
Module code: TLC1010
Year 2 of the early childhood studies course is about developing your academic and research skills and investigating contemporary perspectives on early childhood education and care. With optional modules, you can explore a range of topics in early childhood studies including early years education, health and social care, or social work. If you’re working towards the ECGPC, you’ll do more work placements and use the knowledge you’re gaining from your modules to add to your portfolio.
Contemporary Perspectives on Early Childhood Education and Care
Contemporary Perspectives on Early Childhood Education and Care recognises that early childhoods in the UK have become increasingly institutionalised with more and more very young children spending time in some form of childcare provision. This module invites you to consider what this means for both the children in such settings and the practitioners who work there. The module introduces you to policy and practice in the UK and looks in detail and with a critical focus at various elements of the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage in order to investigate how UK provision contributes to constructions of early childhood.
Module code: SPY2120
Research Methods One
Research Methods One provides you with an important grounding in social research methods. The module gives you an overview of the fundamental aspects of social research including philosophical approaches to knowledge production, literature searching, sampling and ethics. It addresses both quantitative and qualitative approaches. You will have the opportunity to choose a topic and design, conduct and report on a piece of your own research. This will involve the use of a range of different methods including interviews and questionnaires and you will be supported in this process through the module’s seminar programme.
Child Welfare, Family and the State provides you with the opportunity to explore the focus and structure of child protection and welfare services for children and young people. The module considers the complexity of the relationship between the state, the family and the child in the context of children and young people’s welfare and well-being. You will be given the opportunity to explore and assess key legislation and policy initiatives that focus on child welfare and the protection of children and consider their influence on practice with children and their families.
Module code: SPY2123
Children, Food and Sustainability
Children, Food and Sustainability examines children’s food practices, environmental issues and the links between the two. The module introduces the analysis of children’s food practices and relations with animals and the environment under the rubric of understanding connections between children, childhood and nature. Themes to be studied include food practices in schools, food poverty, children and climate change and child-animal relations. These topics provide rich areas for investigating important developments in early childhood studies including children’s agency, voice and rights, in addition to children’s health, childhood consumption and children’s ethical engagement with the natural world. The module also illuminates debates on educational philosophy and explores childhood as a time and space for democratic and ecological renewal.
Module code: SPY2125
Children’s Cultural Worlds
Children’s Cultural Worlds introduces you to some of the ways in which children experience and organise their social worlds. You will learn about a variety of children’s cultural practices from this perspective such as their play, friendships, family, sexuality, food, literature and language practices. In order to do this you will study a range of research which has taken a ‘naturalistic’ approach to children’s cultural practices. Naturalistic studies are those which seek to remain faithful to the nature of the phenomena which they investigate. In the study of human social life, this requires being faithful to how the people we study actually experience things. It involves refusing to impose our own views on other people but trying to gain an appreciation of how they look at things, how they understand things and how they organise their lives from their own points of view. This module will help you to develop this particular analytic sensibility.
Module code: SPY2124
Early Years Specialism
Early Years Specialism explores various contrasting philosophies and theories of development and learning within the field of early years education and care. There will be a focus on the investigation of both traditional and contemporary theories which will support your understanding of how children develop and learn best. On successful completion of the module you will be able to recognise and identify key patterns of behaviour displayed by children in early years settings, and be able to explain how you might further support them in order to make good progress.
Module code: SPY2140
Professional and Personal Reflective Development
Professional and Personal Reflective Development prepares you to reflect on your learning and development and supports you in recognising the importance of being a critical, reflective practitioner within the early years workforce. You will have the opportunity to develop resilient, reflective, critically analytical, proactive strategies to enable you to meet the diverse needs of very young children. In this module you will identify a current issue within early years practice to support your professional development and employability. The module is focused upon fostering an understanding of the important role of an early years practitioner working with very young children.
Module code: SPY2141
Promoting Equality in Childhood
Promoting Equality in Childhood provides you with an overview of strategies to promote equality and social justice for children in institutional settings. The module will explore processes of discrimination and oppression and focus on the ways in which practitioners and those working with children and families might promote equality and raise children’s awareness of issues relating to diversity and equality. You will also focus on policy and practice with those who might be considered to come from some of the most marginalised sections of society and enhance your appreciation of the importance of anti-oppressive practice in working with such children, young people and their families.
Module code: SPY2126
Representations of Childhood and Youth in Popular Culture
Representations of Childhood and Youth in Popular Culture explores and analyses the ways in which childhood and youth are represented in popular culture in historical and contemporary genres. These representations will be examined in the context of popular culture about, and specifically for, children and young people. A critical approach will be adopted by drawing on theoretical perspectives including cultural theory and constructions of childhood and youth. In taking this approach, consideration will be given to representations of social divisions such as age, gender, sexuality, race and disability. Areas of study will include children as adventurers and heroes, children and young people in war and conflict, representations of children and young people’s experiences of education, and the globalisation of childhood.
Module code: SPY2128
Research Methods Two
Research Methods Two enhances your knowledge of social research and your skills in applying this knowledge. You will have the opportunity to explore a wide range of methodologies and methods including a variety of innovative approaches to social research, such as visual methods. An introduction to evaluation is also provided. You will get the opportunity to carry out your own innovative research project using photography. This will be on a topic of your choice and you will be given support to design and carry this out through the module’s seminar programme.
Module code: SPY2122
Work-based Learning and Employability 1
Work-based Learning and Employability 1 is designed to bridge the world of higher education with the world of work. You will develop a critical understanding of the changing context of work and of social, economic and political factors shaping the labour market and contemporary patterns of employment. There will be an opportunity to apply theory and disciplinary specialist knowledge to practical experience within a work-based setting with students undertaking a 60 hour placement. You will also enhance and develop a range of transferable skills to enhance your employability.
Module code: SPY2127
TLC2000 Language 2 enables you to build on and develop your previous language knowledge in French, German, Arabic, Italian, Mandarin or Spanish. You must have either studied the prior language module in the previous year or be able to demonstrate equivalent knowledge of your target language (though you will not be able to study a language you are already fluent or proficient in). The language levels available will be determined by the continuation of corresponding groups from the previous language module. You will gain the language skills necessary to become a more proficient user of the language. Classes will be taught in an interactive and communicative manner using authentic materials to promote meaningful communication. They will be conducted in the target language as much as possible. Emphasis will be on speaking and listening, with appropriate attention also being paid to other communication skills. Other work will include a variety of tasks which may be completed in the Language Centre.
Module code: TLC2000
Focus on critical theory and practice of the early years sector, including education, social services, and social work with children and their families. Explore ways of working with young children in an anti-oppressive and inclusive way. In this year you can also study early childhood education and care in an international context, take part in an international field trip, complete a supervised dissertation on a topic of your choice, and complete your ECGPC.
Contemporary Issues in the Early Years establishes contexts for critically understanding young children’s developmental issues and the disciplinary frameworks that inform and underpin services for children. Topics include the new sociology of childhood, masculinities and fatherhood and a focus on the recent work of Peter Moss. With an applied focus on the concept of ‘quality’ in early years provision, you will be encouraged to move from a characterisation of quality as the measurement of predetermined outcomes to a model of quality that privileges process and partnership between key stake holders.
Module code: SPY3102
Dissertation provides an opportunity for you to engage in an independent study of a relevant area of social science area of your choice, supported by tutorial guidance and supervision to deliver an extended piece of writing.
Contemporary Theory, Policy and Practice in Education Services
Contemporary Theory, Policy and Practice in Education Services enables you to critically examine the world of children’s education. Lying at its heart is the claim that education is a political activity which confronts a range of issues to do with ideology, politics and values which in themselves function at a variety of different levels of power, status and influence. Themes of the module include the marketisation of education, the equal opportunities trap, educational philosophy, and globalisation and education. You will focus on competing discursive narratives which demonstrate the intensely political nature of education, teaching and learning.
Module code: SPY3105
Creative and Musical Early Childhood
Creative and Musical Early Childhood is focused on creative and expressive arts and music for early years. Within this module you will be required to reflect upon the benefits of creativity and musicality in early childhood. You will develop knowledge and understanding of the creative and musical nature of early interaction and communication, as well as the role of art and music in social and emotional development and learning. Throughout the module, you will reflect on the links between theory and practice and have the opportunity to analyse your experiences in a manner that matches your style of learning.
Module code: ECS3001
Critical Autism Studies
Critical Autism Studies adopts a critical approach to understanding autism and seeks to challenge the dominant medical model of neurological deficit. Rather than viewing autism as a cognitive development disability, you will be encouraged to consider it as a naturally occurring form of cognitive diversity. The module will examine the argument that autism has been constructed as a neurobiological deficit in a context of neurotypicality or cognitive normality. Understanding autism as neurodiversity opens up spaces for more positive interpretations of autistic people’s experiences, skills and identities. The module is underpinned and, in part, informed by, research by members of the programme team which is focused on areas of sexuality and autism and, specifically, what professionals and care workers should do when providing support for people whose intellectual disability or mental condition makes their consent – being informed, competent and free from coercion – legally unreliable.
Module code: SPY3048
Critical Perspectives on Children’s Health and Wellbeing
Critical Perspectives on Children’s Health and Wellbeing presents you with the opportunity to explore key social, political and cultural perspectives on children’s health and wellbeing. In recent years, health programmes have focused on promoting good physical health, mental health and emotional wellbeing by encouraging children, young people and their families to develop healthy lifestyles and, in doing so, tackle health inequalities. Opportunities will be provided to reflect upon current legislation, policy and the socio-political and cultural influences that impact on the health and wellbeing of children and young people. A key feature of the module will be its emphasis on the position of children and young people’s voices in theory, policy, research and practice and their participation in the decisions that impact their lives.
Module code: SPY3106
Graduate Practitioner Professional and Reflective Practice
Graduate Practitioner Professional and Reflective Practice provides you with the opportunity to integrate early childhood theory and policy with practice experience. You will compile a portfolio that evidences a number of competencies relating to early years practice. Successful completion of the module will mean that you are eligible for the Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner Certificate, which is endorsed by the Early Childhood Studies Degree Network. You will also be eligible to enter the early years education workforce as a Level 3 practitioner.
Module code: SPY3128
International Perspectives on Early Childhood, Education and Care
International Perspectives on Early Childhood, Education and Care investigates the way in which childhood and family are understood and shaped in different countries by policy and practice. You will compare provision and policy in different countries and develop a critical and comparative approach in order to understand the way in which what we provide for children and families in terms of education, health and social care is influenced by, and influences how, we see the place of children and the role of the family in particular societies.
Module code: SPY3103
Issues for Professional Practice
Issues for Professional Practice involves a critical examination of professions, professional identity and professional practice in the context of welfare, health and education services for children, families and adults. The module will provide you with the opportunity to consider and critically analyse the meaning and development of professionalisation, frameworks for ‘best practice’ and the implications of current policy and strategies for intervention. The module will enable you to critically engage with such ideas, concepts and issues as professional power, partnership, developmentalism, inter-professional and multi-agency working, in addition to anti-oppressive, reflective and ‘critical practice’. The aim is to provide opportunities for critical analysis of the links and relationships between theory and practice and to encourage the use of learning from previous experience and learning.
Module code: SPY3107
Perspectives and Practice in Forest School Education
Perspectives and Practice in Forest School Education enables you to develop the knowledge and practical skills that are integral to UK Forest School Education in early years. You will study key theoretical perspectives, practical woodland skills, den building, fire lighting, safety and base camp essentials. You will consider how learning and development can be promoted through the stimulating provision of a Forest School outdoor classroom environment. The module will explore risk management, care of children and the environment, ensuring you are fully equipped to deliver a range of safe, high quality Forest School activities to children in line with Health and Safety policies and procedures.
Module code: ECS3000
Researching Early Childhood
Researching Early Childhood recognises that engaging in the process of research is essential for both the academic and professional development of those working in early years. In this module you will be introduced to a range of qualitative research methods which have been used to study aspects of early childhood. You will explore what is meant by ‘research’ from philosophical, ethical and practical perspectives. You will be guided in the development of a research proposal and report on an area of investigation that is of real interest to them. As such this module provides a foundation for future professional practice or postgraduate research.
Module code: SPY3113
Self-Directed Study enables you to look in depth at a theme or issue covered over the duration of your programme of study. The module involves identifying a chosen area for study, developing and negotiating a learning contract (which will outline the what, how, when, where and why of the study period), as well as the means of assessment to showcase the acquired learning. You will be assigned a module supervisor who will help you to develop the negotiated learning and agree the nature of the assessment.
Module code: SPY3101
Social Work with Children and Families: Theory, Policy and Practice
Social Work with Children and Families: Theory, Policy and Practice provides you with an understanding of the role of social work in children and young people’s services. The module will examine the way that the needs of children impact on their position in family and society and how this impact affects theirs and their families/carers’ ability to navigate and articulate their experiences. The implications these features have for children and for family social work practice, relating to both safeguarding and family support roles, will be explored.
Module code: SPY3104
Socio-Cultural Issues and Questions
Socio-Cultural Issues and Questions provides you with the opportunity to intensively study a particular society and culture through some of its contemporary issues. The module allows for the comparative cultural analysis of a different society to the one you live in, focused around some preparatory lectures and reflective sessions and an intensive study trip to that country. The focus of the study trip will be to explore both comparisons and contrasts, and use the experience of difference to explore social and cultural issues and problems.
Module code: SPY3125
Work-based Learning and Employability 2
Work-based Learning and Employability 2 is designed to bridge the world of higher education with the world of work. You will develop a critical understanding of issues related to organisational structure, leadership and culture. There will be an opportunity to apply theory and disciplinary specialist knowledge to practical experience within a work-based setting through undertaking a 60 hour placement. You will develop your personal and professional profiles through continuous reflection on practice using student-centred learning opportunities. Throughout the module you will also develop your employability profile in preparation for career entry.
Module code: SPY3127
Language 3 further enhances your language skills in French, German, Arabic, Italian, Mandarin or Spanish and introduces you to a new culture and way of life. It is suitable if you have studied the prior language module in the previous year of this degree or if you can demonstrate equivalent knowledge of your target language (though you will not be able to study a language you are already fluent or proficient in). The language levels available will be determined by the continuation of corresponding groups from the previous language module. You will develop language skills to a level of proficiency that will enable you to spend time living or working abroad. Classes will be conducted as much as possible in the target language. They will be taught in an interactive, communicative manner, using authentic materials in the target language. Emphasis will be on speaking and listening, with appropriate attention also being paid to other skills. Other work will include a variety of tasks which may be completed in the Language Centre.
Module code: TLC3000
Optional modules provide an element of choice within the course curriculum. The availability of optional modules may vary from year to year and will be subject to minimum student numbers being achieved. This means that the availability of specific optional modules cannot be guaranteed. Optional module selection may also be affected by timetabling requirements. Some restrictions on optional module choice or combinations of optional modules may apply.
How you'll study
The programme is taught via lectures, presentations, seminars, workshops, small group work and tutorials. Sessions are often interactive and make use of tutor and student presentations, video recordings, newspaper articles, ICT-based learning and research evidence. The emphasis is on student-centred learning, which encourages you to raise questions, evaluate sources, critique theoretical debate and develop your own analyses.
All students can choose to build a national and a European field trip into their optional studies. This involves an intensive, brief period of study in London and/or a major European city such as Amsterdam.
Timetables for your first week are normally available at the end of August prior to enrolment in September. You can expect to receive your timetable for the rest of the academic year during your first week. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week. Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and cultural activities.
How you'll be assessed
Progress and achievement are assessed using a variety of methods, such as essays, case studies, portfolios, poster and oral presentations, analysis of interview findings, completion of directed tasks, and enquiry reports.
There are no formal written examinations as part of the current assessment methods on this degree.
Who will be teaching you
Staff are engaged in cutting-edge research in a number of crucial areas of social science, including subjects of contemporary significance, such as child protection, disability, mental health and sexuality and gender studies.
Your degree will be supplemented by a series of research seminars and other talks. These will feature academic staff and visiting guest speakers from a range of professions and organisations.
Typical offer 104-112 UCAS Tariff points. No specific subjects are required.
BTEC Extended Diploma (or combination of BTEC QCF qualifications)
Distinction, Merit, Merit (DMM).
Overall grade of Merit.
International Baccalaureate (IB)
We are happy to accept IB qualifications which achieve the required number of UCAS Tariff points.
Access to Higher Education Diploma
45 credits at Level 3, for example 9 credits at Distinction and 36 credits at Merit or 15 credits at Distinction and 30 credits at Merit. The required total can be attained from various credit combinations.
Please note, the above examples may differ from actual offers made. A combination of A Level and BTEC awards may also be accepted.
If you have a minimum of two A Levels (or equivalent), there is no maximum number of qualifications that we will accept UCAS points from. This includes additional qualifications such as Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), AS Levels that haven't been continued to A Level, and General Studies AS or A Level awards.
English language requirements
International students require IELTS 6.0, with a score no lower than 5.5 in each individual component, or an equivalent English language qualification.
If your current level of English is half a band or one band lower, either overall or in one or two elements, you may want to consider our Pre-Sessional English course.
Should you accept an offer of a place to study with us and formally enrol as a student, you will be subject to the provisions of the regulations, rules, codes, conditions and policies which apply to our students. These are available at www.edgehill.ac.uk/studentterms.
Did you know?
If you join a full time undergraduate degree at Edge Hill University, we will guarantee you the
offer of a room in our halls of residence for the first year of your course.
The University may administer a small inflationary rise in tuition fees, in line with Government policy, in subsequent academic years as you progress through the course.
EU/EEA and Swiss students who have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, as well as Irish nationals, may be eligible for the UK tuition fee rate.
Subject to eligibility, UK students joining this course can apply for a Tuition Fee Loan from the Government to cover the full cost of tuition fees. UK students enrolling on the course may also be eligible to apply for additional funding to help with living costs.
Please view the relevant Money Matters guide for comprehensive information about the financial support available to eligible UK students.
EU/EEA and Swiss students who have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme may be eligible to apply for financial support. Irish nationals should ordinarily apply to Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI).
If you are an EU student who does not have settled or pre-settled status, or are an international student from a non-EU country, please see our international student finance pages.
Your future career
This course will help you prepare for a wide range of careers, in areas like:
the early years sector
the voluntary sector
the private sector
You’ll have specialist knowledge of children’s development from ages 0-8, and transferrable skills that will help you in any role. You might also like to complete further specialist study and postgraduate studies.
Achieving an Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner Certificate (ECGPC) alongside your degree could significantly enhance your employability and bring you more opportunities. You will have over 80 hours of work experience, as well as a portfolio of evidence to show what you’re capable of.
Having the ECGPC means you can apply for roles requiring an early education professional up to level 6. You’ll be at a real advantage compared to graduates without the certificate.
Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this information, however our courses are subject to ongoing review and development. Changing circumstances may necessitate alteration to, or the cancellation of, courses.
Changes may be necessary to comply with the requirements of professional bodies, revisions to subject benchmarks statements, to keep courses updated and contemporary, or as a result of student feedback. We reserve the right to make variations if we consider such action to be necessary or in the best interests of students.
Track changes to this course
Change of Module - 30 June 2021
SPY1107 Exploring the Social World (20 credits) replaces SPY1115 Learning in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) (20 credits) as an optional module in Year 1.
Update to Example Offers - 2 March 2021
Example offers updated to include the Education and Childcare T Level with an overall grade of Merit.