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Early Childhood

Are you interested in how young children learn and develop? Perhaps you are already working in an early years setting and want to know how to really listen to children. Or you may want to find out more about why play and creativity is so important. This practice-focused degree will develop your understanding of young children’s lives and how they are shaped by their experiences. At the same time, you will explore what makes high quality education and care. As you learn about the important role that research plays in developing pedagogical practice, informing policy and promoting children’s rights, you will examine key values, beliefs and pedagogies of early childhood education and care so that you know how to support high quality experiences for children.

Our students

There is no such thing as a typical Early Childhood student. They can be of any age, gender and come from diverse backgrounds and geographical contexts.  The common thread is that they want to make a difference to the lives of children. Many of our students already work or volunteer in early years settings, but this is not a requirement. You may be a parent or grandparent who wants to find out more about the fascinating world of young children.

An expert team

As an Early Childhood student, you will be supported by a highly knowledgeable and experienced team of tutors. Like you, they are passionate about the difference that informed adults can make in the lives of young children. This team includes academics with experience in teaching, social work, playwork, health care and policy development. They engage in important research which focuses on areas such as: 

  • Young children’s perspectives, experiences, and relationships 
  • Young children’s learning processes 
  • The Early childhood workforce and professional development  
  • Children’s wellbeing and health 

 Meet the core academic team and find out about their research work

 The team are proud of their working relationships with a wealth of organisations on both national and international projects. The EYPAG (Early Years and Primary Advisory Group) enables a variety of potential employers to comment on the content of the Early Childhood programme including ways it could be enhanced. Members include headteachers, PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate in Education) course leaders, voluntary sector representatives and independent specialist consultants. Have a look at our Early Childhood blog to find out more about some of our work.

Quality resources 

Early Childhood at the Open University has a long history of producing teaching materials of outstanding quality which are research-informed. They are responsive to the ever-changing landscape of Early Childhood and are designed to be engaging for all learners. The hard copy books and online activities will allow you to study around your other commitments – plus you will have the support and guidance of regular online tutorials from your own personal tutor. 

Where could this qualification take you? 

The important thing about the Early Childhood qualification is that it can lead to a wide range of careers. For example, many students after completing an Early Childhood degree will choose to take a postgraduate qualification so that they can become a teacher, health care professional or a social worker. They may even decide to carry their studies further and complete an MA. Regardless of which career path you choose, you will be part of an important workforce whose goal is to make a difference in the lives of young children and their families. 

Ready to choose your course?

Take a look at our modules and postgraduate courses.