Early Childhood Studies BA Honours | Middlesex University London
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Early Childhood Studies BA Honours

Learn about the course below
October 2019
3 years full-time
Flexible part-time
£9,250 (UK/EU) *
£13,000 (INT) *
Course leader
Vicky Burghardt

Early Childhood Studies explores the needs and experiences of younger children, empowering you to make a difference in a wide variety of careers. Our degree is taught by expert tutors with extensive experience in early years settings and investigates how education shapes child development.

Why study BA Early Childhood Studies at Middlesex University?

Early Childhood Studies has young children at its focus. It is concerned with children growing up in a global world. Ideas and practices are drawn from many disciplines including history, psychology, philosophy, sociology, law, health, and management, all of which contribute to the field of childcare and education. Our extensive history of delivering courses in the Department of Education means you benefit from the guidance of passionate academics who bring a wealth of professional experience from related sectors to their teaching. As research leaders, our academics are widely published across areas of multilingualism, diversity, and childhood development.

Employers increasingly expect higher Early Childhood Studies graduates to gain not only a qualification, but also a well-developed battery of personal transferable skills such as communication, problem-solving, reflection and teamwork, as well as a coherent sense of personal values to which they are committed. This is achieved by the Early Childhood Studies course by ensuring that the learning process is one where you participate actively in the interpretation, evaluation and application of knowledge, engaging in individual, group, and e-learning activities. Assessment is conducted via presentations, essays, reports and a final dissertation based on your own interests and research. A wealth of preparation and support is available to help you to succeed in your assignments.

Work experience is one of the most valuable assets for completing module assessments, and in planning a successful career. The timetable is arranged so that there is space to arrange voluntary or paid, on-going work-experiences or shorter placements within, for example, early years’ settings, learning centres, special schools, museums or summer camps. You receive a Placement Pack which gives you a structure for planning to get the most from your work experience, and you are guided to build a digital portfolio which compiles and showcases your developing knowledge and skills applicable to your future employment.

Course highlights

  • Our tutors are active researchers who bring the latest findings into their teaching, placing you at the cutting-edge of education practice in the UK
  • Our degree is the perfect foundation to postgraduate teacher training such as PGCE Primary Education
  • We'll help you to identify the ideal career route or postgraduate programme and support you to plan a successful future
  • You can take part in work experience in an early years or other educational setting. Experiences can be evidenced in a digital portfolio
  • Our placement office will support you through the placement process, including identifying a suitable host and making a winning application
  • As a student of this course you'll receive a free electronic textbook for every module.

Find out more

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What will you study on the BA Early Childhood Studies?

In Year 1 you will examine both historical and contemporary approaches to education policy development in the UK and study an introduction to philosophy in relation to education. Alongside this, you will explore the psychological approaches to learning and also study an Early Childhood module (which includes the social construct of childhood and child development).

In Years 2 and 3 you will continue to broaden your knowledge of these key theoretical areas. You will also study the National Curriculum Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1, alongside: special needs and inclusion, comparative education, equality issues and research methods.

In Year 3 you will also conduct an independent research project, gain practical experience on placement and select from a choice of modules to complement your learning, including: leadership and management in early years settings, the social and emotional aspects of teaching and learning, children's rights, education and the law and children's literature.


  • Year 1

    • Infant Health and Well-being (30 credits) – Compulsory

      This module aims to extend your knowledge and understanding of factors contributing to infant health and well-being. You will examine theories of attachment and consider cross-cultural practices aimed at promoting attachment relationships and supporting early development. The module will enable you to evaluate the impact of early intervention strategies, policies and practices to provide support for parents/carers in meeting the health and well-being needs of babies and very young children.

    • Reflective Professional Practice in Early Years (30 credits) – Compulsory

      A consideration of the historical, social and global context of the child within the family and community will lead to an evaluation of the influence of social policy on children and families. Critical discussion and debate will explore key issues regarding contextualised childhoods and the role of reflective early years professionals in promoting equality, and safeguarding children. Professional identity, accountability and impact will be reflected on and critiqued at a micro and macro level. An analysis of policy impact in educational and care settings will be evaluated to consider approaches and professional impact towards behaviour management and the safeguarding of children.

    • Approaches to Learning (30 credits) – Compulsory

      The study of a selection of learning theories to encourage understanding of learning processes of children and adults, including their application to yourself as a learner. This module includes an exploration of influences and impact of parents, schools and wider social influences on development, educational experiences and achievement.

    • Early Childhood Development (30 credits) – Compulsory

      This module allows you to observe young children, using different observational techniques, and recognise key milestones achieved in the developing child. Ethical considerations involved with observing young children are examined and key learning and child development theories applied and evaluated. A holistic approach to observing young children is taken

  • Year 2

    • Researching Lives: Social Investigation in the Contemporary World (30 credits) – Compulsory

      The driving force behind this module is the idea that knowledge and skills of social research are today of fundamental importance in virtually all professions, but especially within the fields of education and early childhood. Therefore, the module encourages and trains you to go beyond the simply learning research skills and to engage with research critically and reflectively in your daily life.

    • Social Perspectives on Childhood and Education for Early years (30 credits) – Compulsory

      The module presents a variety of concepts of childhood and early years education across history and culture. By applying the most influential social theories of childhood developed in the 20th and 21st centuries, the module analyses the relationships between the social contexts and contemporary issues for EY practice, such as child’s well-being and achievement. The module reviews the political and cultural background of policies that aim to address inequality, promote children’s right and support educational achievement, engaging you in exploring the role of the child in a multicultural society.

  • Year 2 Optional Modules - choose two of the following:

    • Curriculum Studies: 0-7 years (30 credits) – Optional

      This module is will be the study of curriculum models and the work of the early education pioneers, the planning and evaluating of the early years curriculum, and National Curriculum Key Stage 1.

    • Comparative Education (30 credits) – Optional

      This module examines education systems across a range of cultures and countries and compares them with the English system. Issues such as teacher training, gender, access to free education and the impact of globalisation will be considered. The value of comparing and classifying education systems in diverse settings will also be discussed.

    • Education and the Social World: Who Educates Whom and Why? (30 credits) – Optional

      This module is aimed at those who want to engage with issues of education in a deep, serious and theoretically rich way. It challenges some of the ways education is usually approached and asks how we can change education for the better. You will be actively involved in designing and proposing changes and new models. It provides a range of theoretical frameworks –among them postmodern theory, diaspora theory, and anthropological perspectives – which are extremely important for better understanding and engaging with education. Uniquely, the module offers a weekly book club and a monthly film club.

    • Insights into Play (30 credits) – Optional

      This module is aimed at exploring what play is, why we play and how play can foster learning, development and well-being. It includes investigations of the role of play in different pedagogic approaches. Sociocultural factors that shape play including historical developments, gender, cultural background and class, and play in different parts of the world.

  • Year 3

    • Dissertation Module for Early Childhood Studies (30 credits) – Compulsory

      This is a small piece of detailed research of an existing field within early childhood, relevant to research in an early childhood setting. Organise and manage a small scale research investigation with insight, demonstrating skillful use of research tools and responsibility and display critical judgement in relating these to the wider educational and social context. Present a research report following generic academic conventions. It can be general research or Practitioner Enquiry. Practitioner Enquiry is suitable for those who are in an appropriate placement where you hold a fairly stable role within the organisation as it includes a self-reflective report related to work roles and responsibilities.

  • Year 3 Optional Modules - choose three of the following:

    • Leadership and Management in Early Years (30 credits) – Optional

      This module provides an in-depth insight into the role of management and leadership in the context of Early Years. This entails the development of current initiatives, leadership and management theory, the legal framework and working with change. The role of key professionals within statutory, voluntary and independent services who are working with young children and their families is analysed. Also, the advantages and barriers to working in multidisciplinary teams are critically evaluated.

    • Special Educational Needs, Disability and Inclusion (30 credits) – Optional

      This module looks at special educational needs, disability and inclusion in education and concentrates on the definitions of learning difficulty and disability and the extent to which parents, pupils and students with Special Needs and Disabilities have access to the same educational opportunities as others.

    • Children's Literature (30 credits) – Optional

      From fairy tales and the picture book to books for older readers, this module is an analysis of some key concepts in Children’s Literature. It examines the historical framework in which literature for children emerged and includes opportunities for theoretical analysis of individual authors’ works as well as studies of different genres. In addition the important role of literature for engaging children in the written word and their role in the early classroom experience will be explored.

    • Social and Emotional Aspects of Teaching and Learning (30 credits) – Optional

      This module aims to encourage you to evaluate social and emotional aspects of teaching and learning in educational contexts. It considers the many social and emotional influences on the child and how these affect their learning and educational experience. You are asked to reflect on, and evaluate your own emotions and interpersonal skills, with a view to using this to help you to explore the social and emotional aspects of teaching and learning. A range of theories and skills used by those working with children in education, such as teachers and counsellors, are studied.

    • The Child in Context: the Influence of Socio-Cultural Factors on Development (30 credits) – Optional

      The module uses Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems model as a vehicle through which to explore a range of issues from a local, social, cultural and global perspective. These will include a number of the following; socio-cultural constructions of parenting and childhood, the ways in which geography, community and neighbourhoods influence developmental outcomes, cultural variances in family types and child rearing practices and the impact of these on children’s outcomes, an exploration of the issues surrounding day-care and the effect of day-care practices on the child, cultural influences on play, migration and childhood, theories of moral development. The module takes an international focus on the wide ranging factors influencing childhood health and well-being looking at child development research beyond the home and family.

    • Children's Rights and Self-Determination: Theory into Practice (30 credits) – Optional

      This module is a study of the concept of children’s rights in law and policy and how these apply in a variety of settings. Legal and policy documents such as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and the Children Act, aimed at promoting children’s rights are debated. Philosophical issues around ‘rights talk’and ‘can children have rights’ are discussed in the context of young citizens, best interests, paramountcy and childhood as social construct, alongside other topical issues.

    • Creativity and the Arts in Education (30 credits) – Optional

      Psychological and sociological approaches to creativity, looking at what creativity is and how creativity is linked to the learning and well-being of individuals. Examining the role of the arts in early childhood and how they are differentiated through education and developmental processes. Comparing and evaluating the role of creativity and the arts in different educational systems, approaches and curricula.

You can find more information about this course in the programme specification. Optional modules are usually available at levels 5 and 6, although optional modules are not offered on every course. Where optional modules are available, you will be asked to make your choice during the previous academic year. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, or there are staffing changes which affect the teaching, it may not be offered. If an optional module will not run, we will advise you after the module selection period when numbers are confirmed, or at the earliest time that the programme team make the decision not to run the module, and help you choose an alternative module.

  1. Overview
  2. Teaching and learning
  3. Assessment and feedback
  1. UK & EU
  2. International
  3. How to apply
  1. UK & EU
  2. International
  3. Additional costs

How can the BA Early Childhood Studies support your career?

Early Childhood Studies can lead to a range of careers in early years education across management, administration and research within a wide range of educational settings, as well as training organisations, charities, parents' advisory-support groups, local authorities, health authorities, charities, housing associations and day nurseries. It is also the ideal foundation to becoming an early years teacher through completing a postgraduate qualification.

Our graduates find employment as teaching assistants, childhood development officers and children's centre managers as well as leadership and management roles.

Please note, the Early Childhood Studies degree is not a direct route to Qualified Teacher Status.

  • Polly Aktar

    Early Childhood Studies BA graduate

    I always knew I wanted to work with children. I've found that this course has provided me with a good background to ideas and practices that are taken from various disciplines such as psychology, history, law and management. The course also enabled me to take part in a nursery-based placement and I enjoyed every minute of it!

    I am eager to pursue a career as a primary school teacher. I've applied to do the PGCE (Primary Education) with Middlesex and have received a conditional offer. All the tutors are extremely supportive and have been helping me to pass the Skills test which is a requirement for the PGCE. The Early Childhood Studies course has made my desire to become a teacher even stronger and I've already been recommending Middlesex University to other people.

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