Early Childhood Studies

Nature and extent of early childhood studies

ECS is the study of early childhood in context. It is an established and distinctive area of study and research. The focus is on the development of the child in context and the implications for practice. This focus may be interpreted in different ways in different degrees, but is likely to draw on, to a lesser or greater extent, disciplines such as psychology, sociology, philosophy and social policy, and areas such as education, health, history and cultural studies. However, all of these will focus on the development of the child in context.

The area of study should enable students to develop insights and understandings relating to how children and childhood are understood from a range of academic and professional perspectives, and to understand the philosophies, beliefs and attitudes that
inform them.

Academic subject knowledge will encompass both critical awareness and understanding of early-childhood issues, theories and research. Students will examine the various ways in which children and childhood can be understood. The discipline explores the multidisciplinary interpretation of constructions of children and childhood and the implications, the principles and theoretical base for practice. This incorporates pedagogy and the wider aspects of putting pedagogy into practice.

A critical consideration of children’s rights and antidiscriminatory practice underpins and permeates the subject.
Students will be exposed to the challenges and intricacies within multiprofessional practices and within constructions of childhood. Students will be encouraged to gain insights into the complex interrelatedness of, and potential professional barriers operating within, the provision of services for children and their families.

Research and inquiry are significant parts of the subject, and students will be encouraged to develop awareness and reflection upon self and others, and to develop appropriate communication, reading and writing skills. Students will gain an understanding of the processes and methodological and ethical debates required to conduct and complete a piece of research, and will be encouraged to develop the reflexivity necessary to explore the political, cultural and economic factors embedded in research and practice. This is a vital element of study for the future development of services, enabling professionals to initiate, evaluate and implement new research appropriate to different contexts.

The subject identifies the following groups of learning activities. You can view the potential challenges related to each here (please note some of these links contain large amounts of data and may therefore take some time to load).

key and transferable skills
knowledge and understanding
professional and practical skills

Learning Activities

Below are groups of learning activities. You can view the potential challenges related to each group or view all groups (please note some of these links contain large amounts of data and may therefore take some time to load).



Warning: This area is still under development.

Learning activity groups Post title Challenge categories
Key and Transferable Skills Communicate Effectively Anxiety / Stress
Key and Transferable Skills Communicate Effectively Auditory Difficulties
Key and Transferable Skills Communicate Effectively Information Processing
Key and Transferable Skills Communicate Effectively Language / Comprehension Difficulties
Key and Transferable Skills Communicate Effectively Motor / Manual Dexterity Difficulties
Key and Transferable Skills Communicate Effectively Organisational Difficulties
Key and Transferable Skills Communicate Effectively Speech Difficulties
Key and Transferable Skills Communicate Effectively Visual Difficulties
Key and Transferable Skills Critical Thinking Information Processing
Key and Transferable Skills Critical Thinking Language / Comprehension Difficulties
Key and Transferable Skills Critical Thinking Organisational Difficulties
Key and Transferable Skills Critical Thinking Visual Difficulties
Professional and Practical Skills Critically Reflect and Evaluate Self Anxiety / Stress
Professional and Practical Skills Critically Reflect and Evaluate Self Memory / Recall Difficulties
Professional and Practical Skills Critically Reflect and Evaluate Self Motivation
Professional and Practical Skills Critically Reflect and Evaluate Self Organisational Difficulties
Knowledge and Understanding Demonstrate Evidence Based Practice Language / Comprehension Difficulties
Knowledge and Understanding Demonstrate Evidence Based Practice Motor / Manual Dexterity Difficulties
Knowledge and Understanding Demonstrate Evidence Based Practice Visual Difficulties
Professional and Practical Skills Manage Sessions with Children Auditory Difficulties
Professional and Practical Skills Manage Sessions with Children Information Processing
Professional and Practical Skills Manage Sessions with Children Language / Comprehension Difficulties
Professional and Practical Skills Manage Sessions with Children Organisational Difficulties
Professional and Practical Skills Manage Sessions with Children Speech Difficulties
Professional and Practical Skills Manage Sessions with Children Visual Difficulties
Professional and Practical Skills Manage Sessions with Children Ability to Empathise
Professional and Practical Skills Manage Sessions with Children Mobility Difficulties
Knowledge and Understanding Operate within a Legal Framework Motivation
Knowledge and Understanding Operate within a Legal Framework Organisational Difficulties
Professional and Practical Skills Plan Time Effectively Anxiety / Stress
Professional and Practical Skills Plan Time Effectively Memory / Recall Difficulties
Professional and Practical Skills Plan Time Effectively Motivation
Professional and Practical Skills Plan Time Effectively Organisational Difficulties
Key and Transferable Skills Team Work Ability to Empathise
Key and Transferable Skills Team Work Auditory Difficulties
Key and Transferable Skills Team Work Information Processing
Key and Transferable Skills Team Work Language / Comprehension Difficulties
Key and Transferable Skills Team Work Speech Difficulties
Key and Transferable Skills Team Work Visual Difficulties
Key and Transferable Skills Team Work Organisational Difficulties
Key and Transferable Skills Team Work Anxiety / Stress


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