Plymouth Institute of Education

BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies with Foundation

Take a look at childhood and explore children’s early years. This course will help you find your niche and graduate with a clear view of where your career is going. You'll investigate childhood through sociology, social psychology, history, and philosophy. You will work with young children and families through course activities and placements. If your qualifications don’t allow direct entry to degree level or you have been out of formal education for some time, this course is for you.

We offer high-quality teaching, a stimulating learning environment where you'll feel supported and ready for degree study. In your first year, you'll develop your knowledge of the ways children and adults come to know what they know. You’ll acquire a toolkit of skills and the confidence to know how to use it. Upon successful completion, you’ll join the undergraduate BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies programme where you'll develop a deeper understanding of children’s lives and experiences.

Key features

This four-year course is designed to give you the grounding necessary to progress through your undergraduate programme in BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies giving you a broader view of children’s development by studying the subject in practical, historical and international contexts.

Your first year will:

  • enable you to enter University from non-traditional entry routes, whether you are returning to education after a break or if you come with qualifications other than A levels
  • introduce you to supportive and accessible academic staff in a welcoming community with personal tutor support
  • prepare you for level 4 study in a research-rich environment, establishing relationships with the University, support services, teaching staff and other education students
  • provide research-informed teaching opportunities which build on your prior learning, encouraging you to draw on your work/professional/personal experiences
  • provide you learning experiences which offer small group work, problem-solving and interactive approaches through a wide range of diverse and innovative teaching methods
  • support you in developing essential study skills through a variety of coursework-based inclusive assessments – from essays and presentations to creative projects, personal development plans and written projects.

This course is an integrated part of the Early Childhood Studies degree at the University of Plymouth. Successful completion of the foundation year (Year 0) will not lead to a separate award or qualification its own right but provides progression onto Year 1 of the Early Childhood Studies degree.

When you join the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies with Foundation, you will:

  • explore the relationships between play and learning in your own studies as well as in child development
  • see for yourself how theories and policies are applied in practice by visiting a wide range of provision for children and families
  • expand your options beyond traditional teaching and open up further career opportunities in education, social care, community work, psychology, management and research
  • learn from experienced lecturers and tutors who are
  • actively engaged in national and international research projects.

Course details

  • Foundation Year
  • In your Foundation Year (year 0), you’ll acquire the knowledge and skills you’ll need to progress through your studies and become a confident, independent learner. You’ll take four 30 credit modules which will introduce you to a range of education-related topics whilst preparing you for degree-level study at the University of Plymouth.

    Core modules
    • ED001 Questioning Education

      The module introduces students to the key debates within education in its widest sense. It takes a sociological perspective, exploring how education has been shaped throughout history, policy and society. Exploring both popular, political and personal perspectives of education and the education system.

    • ED002 Studying Learning and Learning to Study

      The module introduces students to the theories and approaches of learning. Key ideas of how learning is facilitated will be explored and considered in light of students own learning and transition to university study. Academic skills will be introduced and embedded in the learning activities engaging in application and development of these.

    • ED003 Children and Stories

    • ED004 Independent Enquiry

      This module centres on a desk-based enquiry into an aspect of education and learning. Students will be supported to undertake a detailed exploration of their chosen topic using a range of secondary data.

  • Year 1
  • In your first year of your extended degree, you’ll get an overview of the factors that affect children’s lives and begin considering your own professional identity within the sector. You’ll explore how children grow and develop, drawing on the latest research around thinking, playing and learning. You’ll also gain an understanding of different approaches to observing children. Modules on social policy and equality and diversity will introduce you to key contemporary issues.

    Core modules
    • EEC406 Places and Spaces for Learning and Playing

      Throughout this module students will be introduced to a range of places and spaces that facilitates children¿s learning and play. There will be opportunities to link these experiences with academic theories with an aim to support the students¿ skills in noticing and understanding the process of learning.

    • EEC411 An Introduction to Early Childhood Studies

      A series of lectures given by members of the Early Childhood Studies team, focusing on their own research, interests and enthusiasms, and weekly seminars, will introduce students to the wide range of areas of study which are included in Early Childhood Studies. The diversity of interests and approaches introduced in lectures will be balanced by process of developing study skills and dispositions and integrating themes and ideas by means of active engagement in small seminar groups.

    • EEC413 Children in Society

      This module will focus on the complexity and diversity of young children¿s experiences of growing up in contemporary societies. It will examine some of the key structural changes in important social institutions and early years¿ services and how these affect and influence the lives of young children.

    • EEC414 Understanding Development; Biology and Psychology

      In this module we will explore the nature of the disciplines of biology and psychology. We will look at how biologists and psychologists study young children. We will look at some current biological and psychological perspectives of child development. Students will carry out psychological tasks with young children and reflect upon the implications of what they have found and the nature of their own learning and understanding of children and themselves.

    • EEC415 Politics for Equality

      This module explores the concepts of equality, inclusion, diversity and anti-discrimination and investigates cultural structures, discrimination, social exclusion, power and participation. Students will consider the impact of political and policy developments at global, European, UK and local levels drawing on theoretical frameworks and real examples, including students¿ own experiences, to explore how culture and policy impact on young children and their families.

    • EEC432 Multi Professional Perspectives

      An introduction to the diversity of early childhood settings, their structures and the varied heritages of the practitioners that work with them/in them. Notions such as communication, team work, working with parents and as part of a multi-professional team are explored along with an understanding of self as a reflective practitioner

  • Year 2
  • Your second year of the extended degree focuses on developing your analytical and reflective skills and expands your hands-on experience of early years roles. You will develop your understanding of research while studying children’s development and communication. You’ll choose two modules from a range of options including outdoor learning, the developing world and working with professionals. You’ll work directly with young children and families, learning both academically and practically from these experiences.

    Core modules
    • EEC521 Introduction to Research in Early Childhood Studies

      This module is an introduction to research methods and approaches in Early Childhood Studies. Students will critically examine methodological approaches and existing research studies in the field of early childhood. Students will consider how theoretical positions, practice and policy can shape research agendas and how research looks to inform both policy and practice.

    • EEC524 Perspectives on Child Development

      The module will draw on approaches from Sociology, Psychology, Education and Biology to explore physical, emotional, social and cultural influences on child development. Multidisciplinary study of early childhood and children¿s roles as active agents in their own development will be emphasised. Students will construct an informed personal perspective on early development, based on a critical and playful understanding of relationships between theoretical models and research findings.

    • EEC526 Work-based Learning

      This module is intended to provide students with the opportunity to maximise learning opportunities which accrue from work-place experience in a setting which involves work with young children (0-8) or with children and their families. This could include paid or unpaid work. There is recognition that such work-based learning can take place in a wide variety of situations and settings, but for this module it will normally involve more than one child and more than one family.

    • EEC527 Developing Communication in the Early Years

      This module has two related purposes: to give students a sound understanding of how children develop their ability to communicate and to help them develop their own communication skills. Language development is a central focus, but set within a wider understanding of different forms of communication.

    Optional modules
    • EEC522 Working with a Range of Professionals

      This module is intended for those who wish to understand more about working with other professionals whose work impacts on young children and their families in some way; in Case Conferences; strategy meetings as well as report writing, producing and implementing developmental and/or safeguarding plans, etc.

    • EEC533 Families in Focus

      This module introduces the key sociological perspectives on families and their place in society. It offers a critical examination of young children¿s position and relationships within families, highlighting changes and continuities in families across generations.

    • EEC535 Childhood and Well-being in the Developing World

      This module focuses on childhood and well-being of young children in the developing world (defined as those that are low on the UN Human Development Index), by looking critically at issues such as poverty, global inequalities, access to resources, education, health, conflict, livelihoods and sustainability. It will offer students a critical perspective on what factors provide opportunities for, and challenges to, improving outcomes for children.

    • EEC556 Placement for Practitioner Options

      This module is intended to provide students with the opportunity to maximise professional learning opportunities during a work-place experience (paid or unpaid) with young children (0-5) or with children and their families. They will also develop their understanding of professionalism and the instrumental approaches of training the ECEC workforce.

  • Final Year
  • In the final stage of the course, you will be helped to make the transition from ‘knowledge consumer’ to ‘knowledge producer’. You will use your developing knowledge and experience to challenge, extend and critique other people’s ideas and your own. You will plan and carry out a research project to develop and disseminate understanding of what you have identified as an area of interest and you will continue to develop your capacity to act as a strong advocate for young children and families. If you are joining the final stage from a partner college you may choose to study on our FLECS (Flexible Learning in Early Childhood Studies) route.

    Core modules
    • EEC601 Research in Early Childhood Studies

      This module is an introduction to research in Early Childhood Studies. Students will critically examine a variety of approaches and methods of data collection and consider the ethical issues involved in carrying out investigations in naturalistic settings. It provides students with the opportunity to design an investigation in their chosen aspect of ECS, carry out a sustained and rigorous piece of work, and analyse and discuss their findings through both a written study in appropriate ways using ICT and an oral presentation.

    • EEC603 Adults' Concepts of Childhood: their impact on the past and present treatment of children

      This module will explore how childhood and adulthood are related concepts with deep historical roots. It will explain contemporary changes in young children's lives by tracing the historical forces that have shaped different concepts of childhood, defining the ways in which adults think, act and behave with young children.

    • EEC635 Current Issues in Early Childhood Studies

      This module will enable participants to focus on current debates related to early childhood studies. By its nature the content of the module will change each year, as issues change, new understandings emerge and different perspectives apply. The module will debate current issues critically, analytically and theoretically, whilst considering the implications for practice.

    Optional modules
    • EDST604 Global Education: Teaching and Learning for an Interconnected World

      Global education is based upon the interconnectedness of everything. It asks the learner to explore contemporary global issues, development, environment, human rights, social justice, peace and conflict within the framework of the world as a system. This module offers an introduction to global education theory and practice. (This module is subject to availability)

    • EDST616 Sustainability and Environmental Education

      Teaching and learning about sustainability and environmental issues is crucial at all levels. Through direct experience in the natural world this module explores the central notions of education for sustainable development, ecological literacy and the practicalities of interpretation, teaching and learning outdoors.

    • EEC626 Work Based Learning in the Early Years

      This module is based on the recognition that learning takes place in a wide variety of situations and settings. It is intended the work placement provide students with further opportunities to develop their understanding and skills of reflective practice, as well as making links between the theories learned at university and experiences in practice.

    • EEC627 Enabling Environments for Young Children's Learning

      This module considers issues surrounding the spaces in which adults interact with children in teaching and learning relationships. Students will examine governments' and practitioners' beliefs and principles that influence the creation of these `spaces' and the pedagogic practices within them

    • EEC629 Politics, Welfare and Society

      Key social, political and educational issues that affect the lives of young children, 0-8, and their families will be studied in this module. Some comparisons will be made with Europe and other countries. Students will be encouraged to develop a considerable personal perspective on social questions related to early childhood services.

    • EEC638 Children and Risk

      Looking at the complexity of child protection issues, within a personal, institutional and community context, addressing the issue of risk and the decision-making process ¿ the right decision against the defensible decision, in order to develop a personal, and critical perspective on issues of protection and control. In addition an exploration of the concept of `Risk `In the wider context.

    • PSYC392 Current Topics in Applied Psychology

      This module allows students to develop a critical appreciation of recent research in applied psychology. Students study four topics in depth. These are introduced by staff teaching in their specialist research area. (This module is subject to availability)

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

BA Hons Early Childhood Studies with Foundation Programme Specification 2019 20 6662

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

32 - 48

UCAS tariff

32 - 48

Don’t have 32–48 UCAS tariff points? We will consider ‘non-standard’ applications on a case-by-case basis.

A levels: For Level 3 entry the Tariff points entry level will normally be 32–48 points from A level or equivalent. Non-standard applicants will normally be interviewed.

BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma/CACHE: All applications to be referred to the Admissions Tutor.

All Access courses: Pass a named Access to HE Diploma (preference to education/ social science/ health and social care, but all considered) with at least 33 credits at Merit/Dist.

Welsh Baccalaureate: Refer to the Admissions Tutor.

Scottish Qualifications Authority: 32–48 points at Advanced Highers – refer to Admissions Tutor.

Irish Leaving Certificate: Irish Highers, H5 in five subjects equivalent to 32–48 points.

International Baccalaureate: 24 overall

GCSEs: Applicants are recommended to have GCSE (or equivalent) Maths and English at Grade C/Level C or above. If applicants do not have the equivalent, completing this during this degree will be promoted.

Proficiency in English: Students for whom English is an additional language will need to demonstrate ability in spoken and written English equivalent to an IELTS score of 6.0 and/or successfully complete the university’s special test before entering the Foundation Year.

We are looking for applicants with good potential including with non-standard qualifications and background, so will consider every application on a case by case basis. Alternatively, if you have any questions or concerns about meeting the entry requirements listed above we would encourage you to contact the Admissions Team on 01752 585858 or email ug-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk, where a member of the team can offer you further advice.

Non-academic requirements

  • All candidates will be required to complete a satisfactory DBS (formerly CRB) Enhanced Disclosure, register with the Independent Safeguarding Authority and complete a criminal convictions self-declaration form.
  • All candidates will be expected to demonstrate an active interest in work with young children, evidenced through placement/practice experience.

For a full list of all acceptable qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

Fees, costs and funding

EU applicants should refer to our dedicated Brexit webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.

New Student 2019 2020
Home/EU £9,250 To be confirmed
International To be confirmed To be confirmed
Part time (Home/EU) To be confirmed To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances.

Additional costs

This course is delivered by the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and more details of any additional costs associated with the faculty's courses are listed on the following page: Faculty of Arts and Humanities additional costs.

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

DBS assessments and other requirements

It is important to note all offers of a place to study with us are made subject to receipt of satisfactory screenings prior to starting your course.

If you do not pass these checks satisfactorily you will not be able to start a course with us.

Learn more about DBS assessments and other requirements

Careers with BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies

Do you dream of working with young children, in a children’s centre, nursery or school setting or as a social worker or psychologist or as a researcher? Wherever you want to end up, BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies is a great place to start.

It’s the combination of academic knowledge and practical skills that makes graduates from this course stand out from the crowd.

Learn more about careers with BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies

Graduate insight

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