Early Childhood Development and Learning BA (Hons)

Study level: Undergraduate
HNC/HND courses
Lady in a library sifting through books

Being involved in the educational and personal growth of children can offer a highly fulfilling profession. This course specifically concentrates on children aged 0-8, with the goal of equipping graduates to make valuable contributions to early childhood development.

Course option

Year of entry

Location

CU Coventry (Coventry)

Study mode

Full-time
Part-time
Sandwich

Duration

4 years sandwich
3 year - Degree
2 year - HND
1 year - HNC
Flexible part-time

UCAS codes

X300 / X301 / X302

Start date

September 2024
November 2024
January 2025
March 2025
May 2025
June 2025


Course overview

Success in this field demands a combination of creativity, empathy, logical thinking and extensive knowledge, coupled with the capacity to draw upon personal life experiences.

Given the dynamic nature of this industry, this course emphasises the exploration of policies, procedures, exemplary approaches and hands-on learning to provide a comprehensive understanding of the fundamental aspects of child development.

Why you should study this course

  • Opportunity to take part in invaluable practical placements2,5 (if taking the Graduate Practitioner route).
  • Additional option to work towards obtaining Graduate Practitioner status in early childhood settings*.
  • Undertake an investigation into a topic relating to early childhood enabling you to make informed recommendations for future policy, research and practice.
  • You are encouraged to draw on your own personal experience and make links between your study at university, your personal experience and your professional practice in the field of early childhood.
  • You can explore a range of international perspectives on early childhood, which you can apply to your own research area.
  • Opportunities to engage with students at other international universities and industry experts through initiatives like our Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) project2.
  • Opportunities to conduct critical research with our highly experienced staff. 


*Subject to meeting all the competencies set out by The Early Childhood Studies Degree Network (ECSDN), which includes securing and passing work-based assessed placements2,5. Successful completion of all modules (across all three levels) and assessed placements will lead to an Honours degree with Graduate Practitioner Competencies. Please check the ECSDN website for further information.

Membership

  • The Early Childhood Studies Degree Network (ECSDN)
  • Sector-Endorsed Foundation Degrees in Early Years Professional Association (SEFDEY)
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What you'll study

With a child-centred approach, this year is designed to introduce the key concepts and principles within childhood development and learning. Setting the framework for both academic and professional skills, you will seek to gain an understanding of factors that impact upon learning and development from both individual needs to environmental influences for children between the ages of 0 to 8 years. Within the first year you will be introduced to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), alongside various other international curricula.

Students who successfully complete year one are eligible for a Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Early Childhood Development and Learning.

Modules

  • This module examines fundamental core values and principles when working in early years settings, so that collaborative and supportive relationships are formed and sustained. You will develop an understanding of how effective communication is at the heart of early years practice. You will explore the importance of promoting inclusive relationships with children and families through equality, diversity and anti-discriminatory practice.

    Compulsory

  • This module introduces the key concepts surrounding safeguarding, Adverse Childhood Experiences, resilience and wellbeing in the early years. You will learn evidence based neurobiological development and the importance of nurturing healthy lifestyles and behaviours. You will seek to develop an understanding of how external and internal influences can affect the ability of children to reach their full potential and gain knowledge of safeguarding policy and practice.

    Compulsory

  • This module examines how the family unit has evolved over time and its impact on the developing child. You will explore the rationale for these social and economic changes and use this learning to analyse how the strength of a family can affect the development of healthy, happy and well-adjusted children. You will also study the role that home learning environments, family construction, parenting styles and cultural heritage play in shaping childhood.

    Compulsory

  • This module focuses on advocacy for play and how adults can encourage children to become independent thinkers and problem solvers. You will explore why and how children play and the sensitivities. As an early years practitioner you should be instrumental in providing play opportunities to children, and therefore must understand its importance and the range of influences to promote quality and appropriate experiences for children.

    Compulsory

  • Students wishing to obtain the ECSDN graduate competencies must complete 3 zero credit modules (one per year) in order to evidence and assess placement2,5 hours in line with the ECSDN requirements.

    Students who undertake the Early Childhood Development and Learning degree will have the opportunity to undertake assessed placements at each level (levels 4, 5 and 6)2,5. Upon successful completion of these placements, you will obtain a licence to practise, in line with best practice in the early childhood sector as you will have acquired the ECSDN graduate competencies in early childhood settings. The competencies have been developed by members of the Early Childhood Studies Degrees Network (ECSDN) in consultation with students and employers, with an aim of ‘strengthening a graduate-led Early Childhood workforce that is responsive to workforce needs and improves outcomes for children’ (ECSDN, 2018).

    Students who achieve the Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner competencies will meet the nine competencies through assessed observations of practice, practice-based tasks and academic assessment.

    The Early Childhood Graduate Competencies are:

    • Advocating for young children’s rights and participation
    • Promote holistic child development
    • Work directly with young children, families and colleagues to promote health, well-being, safety and nurturing care
    • Observe, listen and plan for young children to support their well-being, early learning, progression and transitions
    • Safeguarding and child protection
    • Inclusive practice
    • Partnership with parents and caregivers
    • Collaborating with others
    • Professional development

    Optional

As the course progresses, you will continue to build on knowledge gained in year one to solidify core principles. Critical appraisal of childhood perception is introduced, alongside evaluations of diversity in development methods. You will analyse the role of statutory guidance for early years practice and legislation. Finally, you delve into the global sphere, interacting with students from international universities to understand global methods (subject to availability). This research is then used to compare different countries’ early years policies with the UK educational system. Students who successfully complete year two are eligible for a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Early Childhood Development and Learning.

Modules

  • This module examines approaches to the early childhood curriculum and how these curricula relate to a range of theories of learning and pedagogical approaches / practices. We will encourage you to develop an understanding of early childhood education worldwide and how this is reflected in government policies and ideologies. You will assess the value of different curricular and pedagogical approaches in promoting children’s learning and development and gain appropriate subject and pedagogical knowledge.

    Compulsory

  • From Jean Piaget to Lev Vygotsky, theorists over time have developed different perceptions of childhood development. You will explore the evolution of teaching and learning methods in line with postmodern theorists and contemporary practices. This module is designed to develop your child theoretical knowledge and how it is rooted in children's social, cognitive and biological development.

    Compulsory

  • The ethos of this module will be to look at early years for sustainable development, both as an active citizen and an educator, within the context of increasing consumption and diminishing resources. You will aim to develop conceptual knowledge about nature, the environment and sustainability in relation to contexts and theories of early years. You will draw on literary, philosophical and scientific approaches to explore the relationship between education and nature.

    Compulsory

  • This module is a desk-based research project that focuses on developing the analytical and personal skills required to research and assess children and families. You will learn a range of research methods such as qualitative and quantitative data, structured interviews, ethical research and observations.

    Compulsory

  • Students wishing to obtain the ECSDN graduate competencies must complete 3 zero credit modules (one per year) in order to evidence and assess placement2,5 hours in line with the ECSDN requirements.

    Students who undertake the Early Childhood Development and Learning degree will have the opportunity to undertake assessed placements at each level (levels 4, 5 and 6)2,5. Upon successful completion of these placements, you will obtain a licence to practise, in line with best practice in the early childhood sector as you will have acquired the ECSDN graduate competencies in early childhood settings. The competencies have been developed by members of the Early Childhood Studies Degrees Network (ECSDN) in consultation with students and employers, with an aim of ‘strengthening a graduate-led Early Childhood workforce that is responsive to workforce needs and improves outcomes for children’ (ECSDN, 2018).

    Students who achieve the Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner competencies will meet the nine competencies through assessed observations of practice, practice-based tasks and academic assessment.

    The Early Childhood Graduate Competencies are:

    • Advocating for young children’s rights and participation
    • Promote holistic child development
    • Work directly with young children, families and colleagues to promote health, well-being, safety and nurturing care
    • Observe, listen and plan for young children to support their well-being, early learning, progression and transitions
    • Safeguarding and child protection
    • Inclusive practice
    • Partnership with parents and caregivers
    • Collaborating with others
    • Professional development

    Optional

There’s no better way to find out what you love doing than trying it out for yourself, which is why a work placement2 can often be beneficial. Work placements usually occur before your final year of study. They’re a great way to help you explore your potential career path and gain valuable work experience, whilst developing transferable skills for the future.

If you choose to do a work placement year, you will pay a reduced tuition fee3 of £1,250. For more information, please go to the fees and funding section. During this time, you will receive guidance from your employer or partner institution, along with your assigned academic mentor who will ensure you have the support you need to complete your placement.

Modules

  • This module2 provides you with an opportunity to reflect upon and gain experience for an approved placement undertaken during your programme. A placement should usually be at least 26 weeks or equivalent; however, each placement will be considered on its own merits, having regard to the ability to achieve the learning outcomes.

    Optional

  • This module2 provides you with an opportunity to reflect upon and gain experience for an approved international study/work placement undertaken during your programme. A work/study placement should usually be at least 26 weeks or equivalent; however, each placement will be considered on its own merits, having regard to the ability to achieve the learning outcomes.

    Optional

In year three, you explore cultural diversification and management as well as delving into international perspectives of children. You’ll examine family structures and different environments, analysing and understanding diverse ethnic backgrounds and educational differences. You will be trained at an executive level, learning the skills required to manage a nursery, including key components such as the recruitment of staff and the Management of Special Needs and Disabilities (SEND) requirements. By successfully completing year three you will be awarded a BA (Hons) degree in Early Childhood Development and Learning.

Modules

  • With a critical mindset, this module will address issues regarding the effectiveness of policy and practice for the child and family around the world. Delving into wealth and poverty, child exploitation and the impact of conflict and migration on families, you will discuss how socio-economic and environmental incidents can affect the development of children.

    Compulsory

  • This module supports the development of advanced professional skills and academic knowledge relevant to a graduate working in the Early Years Sector in the areas of leadership and partnership working. You will learn how the nature of leadership and management is examined within a theoretical context when leading and supporting others in practice within the Early Years Foundation Stage, uncovering issues associated with the changing early years workforce.

    Compulsory

  • This module examines the concepts of inclusion, equality and diversity with reference to the experiences of some children in the early years. You will be involved in debating topics such as poverty, gender or ethnicity in order to consider how we might use different theoretical ideas and approaches to promote social justice and rights-based practice when working with children. Building upon understanding of inclusive practice, the focus is to develop your critical thinking skills within the early years setting as you examine and critique recent significant legislation and policy initiatives, reports and research.

    Compulsory

  • This module is an accumulation of the theories, holistic knowledge and practices learned over the duration of the course compacted into a research project of your choice. Choosing any subject covered over the course, you can work autonomously, conducting individual research.

    Compulsory

  • Students wishing to obtain the ECSDN graduate competencies must complete 3 zero credit modules (one per year) in order to evidence and assess placement2,5 hours in line with the ECSDN requirements.

    Students who undertake the Early Childhood Development and Learning degree will have the opportunity to undertake assessed placements at each level (levels 4, 5 and 6)2,5. Upon successful completion of these placements, you will obtain a licence to practise, in line with best practice in the early childhood sector as you will have acquired the ECSDN graduate competencies in early childhood settings. The competencies have been developed by members of the Early Childhood Studies Degrees Network (ECSDN) in consultation with students and employers, with an aim of ‘strengthening a graduate-led Early Childhood workforce that is responsive to workforce needs and improves outcomes for children’ (ECSDN, 2018).

    Students who achieve the Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner competencies will meet the nine competencies through assessed observations of practice, practice-based tasks and academic assessment.

    The Early Childhood Graduate Competencies are:

    • Advocating for young children’s rights and participation
    • Promote holistic child development
    • Work directly with young children, families and colleagues to promote health, well-being, safety and nurturing care
    • Observe, listen and plan for young children to support their well-being, early learning, progression and transitions
    • Safeguarding and child protection
    • Inclusive practice
    • Partnership with parents and caregivers
    • Collaborating with others
    • Professional development

    Optional

We regularly review our course content, to make it relevant and current for the benefit of our students. For these reasons, course modules may be updated.


How you'll learn

This course is available as a full-time three-year course without placements, a full-time three-year course with local placement in years one, two and three or an optional four-year sandwich course where you undertake a work placement or study year in a related field2,5.

Students who undertake the Early Childhood Development and Learning degree will have the opportunity to undertake assessed placements at each level (levels 4, 5 and 6)2,5. Upon successful completion of these placements, students will obtain a licence to practise, in line with best practise in the early childhood sector. As they have acquired the ECSDN Graduate Practitioner Competencies in early childhood settings. The competencies have been developed by members of the Early Childhood Studies Degrees Network (ECSDN) in consultation with students and employers, with an aim of ‘strengthening a graduate-led Early Childhood workforce that is responsive to workforce needs and improves outcomes for children’ (ECSDN, 2018).

Our teaching methods are varied, offering a number of teaching styles to suit the needs of all our students, so in addition to lectures, we also utilise online aspects, workshops and group work. We also operate an open-door policy, with additional availability via email and our current online learning platform, Aula.

Progression through the modules develops knowledge and skills, including communication (written and oral), study skills, research methods, project management, presentation and career development. We will also encourage you to consider your employability and/or entrepreneurial development.

Unlike traditional institutions, there are no end of year exams. Instead, learning is assessed through coursework and practical assessments, which is more reflective of our learning model.

This course can be offered on a part-time basis. Whilst we would like to give you all the information about our part-time offering here, it is tailored for each course each year depending on the number of part-time applicants. Therefore, the part-time teaching arrangements vary. Request further information about part-time study.


Teaching contact hours

Full-time
If you choose to study full-time you can expect up to 20 hours of learning activities per week, made up of face-to-face teaching, individual and group tutorials, online classes and independent learning.

Additionally, you will be expected to undertake significant self-directed study of approximately 30 hours each week, depending on the demands of individual modules.

Part-time
If you choose to study part-time you'll usually receive up to 11 hours per week of learning, including classes, tutorials and online learning. Outside of this, there will also be independent study and online support. Please note part-time courses run subject to numbers.

As an innovative and enterprising institution, the university may seek to utilise emerging technologies within the student experience. For all courses (whether on-campus, blended, or distance learning), the university may deliver certain contact hours and assessments via online technologies and methods.

Since COVID-19, we have delivered our courses in a variety of forms, in line with public authority guidance, decisions, or orders and we will continue to adapt our delivery as appropriate. Whether on campus or online, our key priority is staff and student safety.


Assessment

This course will be assessed using a variety of methods which will vary depending upon the module.

Assessment methods include:

  • Essays
  • Group work
  • Presentations
  • Reports
  • Projects
  • Coursework
  • Individual assignments

The Coventry University Group assessment strategy ensures that our courses are fairly assessed and allows us to monitor student progression towards achieving the intended learning outcomes.

Our BA (Hons) Early Childhood Development and Learning degree is your first step to a successful and worthwhile future. It aims to provide theoretical and practical learning modules that underpin knowledge and understanding of concepts of early years, education and teaching, and are relevant to both current practice in early years and the changing context of the sector.

Angela Bonehill, Course Leader, 2023
Two women training for childhood learning and development

Entry requirements

Typical offer for 2024/25 entry.

Entry level What we're looking for
HNC 64 UCAS tariff points. Minimum 5 GCSEs graded 9-4 / A* - C including Maths and English. Minimum two A2 levels or BTEC equivalent qualification.
HND 80 UCAS tariff points. Minimum 5 GCSEs graded 9-4 / A* - C including Maths and English. Minimum two A2 levels or BTEC equivalent qualification.
Degree 104 UCAS tariff points. Minimum 5 GCSEs graded 9-4 / A* - C including Maths and English. Minimum two A2 levels or BTEC equivalent qualification.

Students will be subject to a DBS check before enrolment5

We recognise a breadth of qualifications, speak to one of our advisers today to find out how we can help you.

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Access Course 
Successful completion of our Health and Human Sciences Access to HE course will guarantee you progression onto this degree programme, subject to meeting specified criteria.

If you undertake an Access to HE course, you may qualify for an Advanced Learner Loan. If you are eligible and awarded an Advanced Learner Loan, and successfully complete an eligible Higher Education course, the outstanding balance from your Access course could be written off. For full information and to check your eligibility visit www.gov.uk/student-finance/who-qualifies.

Are you eligible for the CU Support Scheme?

We believe every student should have the opportunity to dream big, reach their potential and succeed, regardless of their background.

CU Support Scheme

Entry level What we're looking for
HNC 64 UCAS tariff points. Minimum 5 GCSEs graded 9-4 / A* - C including Maths and English. Minimum two A2 levels or BTEC equivalent qualification.
HND 80 UCAS tariff points. Minimum 5 GCSEs graded 9-4 / A* - C including Maths and English. Minimum two A2 levels or BTEC equivalent qualification.
Degree 104 UCAS tariff points. Minimum 5 GCSEs graded 9-4 / A* - C including Maths and English. Minimum two A2 levels or BTEC equivalent qualification.

Students will be subject to a DBS check before enrolment. Please refer to the full requirements in the disclaimer section5.

Alternatively, visit our International hub for further advice and guidance on how to apply and travelling to and living in the UK.

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 6.0

If you don't meet the English language requirements, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course. 

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Fees and funding

2024/25 tuition fees

Student Full-time Part-time
UK, Ireland*, Channel Islands or Isle of Man £7,950 per year Not available
EU £7,950 per year with EU support bursary**
£18,300 per year without EU support bursary**
Not available
International £18,300 per year Not available

For advice and guidance on tuition fees and student loans visit our undergraduate finance page and see the University’s Tuition Fee and Refund Terms and Conditions.

We offer a range of international scholarships to students all over the world. For more information, visit our international scholarships page.

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessments, facilities and support services. There may be additional costs not covered by this fee such as accommodation and living costs, recommended reading books, stationery, printing and re-assessments should you need them.

The following are additional costs not included in the tuition fees:

  • Any optional overseas field trips or visits: £400+ per trip.
  • Any costs associated with securing, attending or completing a placement (whether in the UK or abroad).

Facilities

All our facilities are located at Mile Lane. Our building has been designed to enable collaboration, creativity and innovation to flourish, and includes (subject to availability)4:

  • Indoor and outdoor social spaces, including a café
  • A library that includes loan laptops, over 115,000 eBooks and a silent study area
  • Open access IT suites and 83-inch teaching screens
  • Engineering lab, science lab and a moot courtroom
  • Student support and careers advice teams

Careers and opportunities

Upon successful completion of the Early Childhood Development and Learning degree, graduates will possess a wide range of knowledge, skills, and abilities that will enable them to make a meaningful impact in the field.

These key areas include expertise in Child Development including cognitive, social, emotional, and physical aspects. They will understand how to create engaging and inclusive learning environments that foster holistic development and cater to the diverse needs of children. Graduates will have a repertoire of effective teaching strategies and techniques tailored to early childhood education. They will be adept at using play-based learning, hands-on activities, and inquiry-based approaches to facilitate children's learning and promote their curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking skills.  

Graduates will be proficient in assessing children's progress and learning outcomes. They will be able to use various assessment tools and strategies to gather data, track individual progress, and make informed instructional decisions to support each child's development. Graduates will possess strong interpersonal and communication skills, enabling them to effectively collaborate with families, colleagues, and other professionals in the field.  

Graduates should uphold high ethical standards and demonstrate professionalism in their interactions and practices. They will understand the importance of ongoing professional development.

There are opportunities to progress in your career during and beyond the course, with your study with us opening up a number of avenues for future career development in areas such as:

  • Teaching in early years and primary schools, educational leadership and management
  • Working in services relating to Inclusion and SEND, safeguarding
  • Children’s mental health, speech and language therapy, play therapy
  • Family support worker, social work
  • Early childhood education and care research, publication
  • Further studies in Early Childhood at postgraduate level

Where our graduates work

Graduates from previous Early Childhood Development and Learning BA (Hons) degree have gone onto work in:

  • Primary schools
  • Private day nurseries
  • Forest schools
  • Local authority
  • Further education colleges and schools
  • Child-minding

Previous CU graduates have progressed into successful careers within industry, for a number of organisations such as Busy Bees Nursery and Angels Childcare Recruitment.

Further study

  • Early Childhood MA
  • Education MA
  • Leadership and Management MA
  • PGCE
  • SCITT
  • EYITT

How to apply

  • Coventry University together with Coventry University London Campus, CU Coventry, CU London, CU Scarborough and Coventry University Online come together to form part of the Coventry University Group (the “University”) with all degrees awarded by Coventry University.

    1Accreditations

    The majority of our courses have been formally recognised by professional bodies, which means the courses have been reviewed and tested to ensure they reach a set standard. In some instances, studying on an accredited course can give you additional benefits such as exemptions from professional exams (subject to availability, fees may apply). Accreditations, partnerships, exemptions and memberships shall be renewed in accordance with the relevant bodies’ standard review process and subject to the university maintaining the same high standards of course delivery.

    2UK and International opportunities

    Please note that we are unable to guarantee any UK or International opportunities (whether required or optional) such as internships, work experience, field trips, conferences, placements or study abroad opportunities and that all such opportunities may be subject to additional costs (which could include, but is not limited to, equipment, materials, bench fees, studio or facilities hire, travel, accommodation and visas), competitive application, availability and/or meeting any applicable travel COVID and visa requirements. To ensure that you fully understand the visa requirements, please contact the International Office.

    3Tuition fees

    The University will charge the tuition fees that are stated in the above table for the first Academic Year of study. The University will review tuition fees each year. For Home Students, if Parliament permit an increase in tuition fees, the University may increase fees for each subsequent year of study in line with any such changes. Note that any increase is expected to be in line with inflation.

    For International Students, we may increase fees each year but such increases will be no more than 5% above inflation. If you defer your course start date or have to extend your studies beyond the normal duration of the course (e.g. to repeat a year or resit examinations) the University reserves the right to charge you fees at a higher rate and/or in accordance with any legislative changes during the additional period of study.

    4Facilities

    Facilities are subject to availability. Due to the ongoing restrictions relating to COVID-19, some facilities (including some teaching and learning spaces) may vary from those advertised and may have reduced availability or restrictions on their use.

    5Placements

    Satisfactory health clearance may be required. However, an enhanced criminal record disclosure will be required. As part of the health clearance checks you will be required to provide information about your immunity and vaccination status. You will also be required to provide information about your COVID-19 vaccination status. We therefore recommend that you are fully vaccinated including the COVID-19 vaccine. The information you provide will be used to determine your eligibility to go on placement(s). Placements are provided at the placement provider’s discretion. The University is therefore unable to guarantee the provision of placements or the location and type of placement offered.

    Student Contract

    By accepting your offer of a place and enrolling with us, a Student Contract will be formed between you and the university. A copy of the 2023/24 Contract can be found here. The Contract details your rights and the obligations you will be bound by during your time as a student and contains the obligations that the CU Group will owe to you. You should read the Contract before you accept an offer of a place and before you enrol at the university.


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