Early Childhood Studies BA (Hons)

Full-time, part-time undergraduate (3 years, 4-6 years)

University Centre West Anglia (King's Lynn)



Complete this course successfully and you’ll be an honours graduate authorised to work with early years children in the UK. We've designed our course around sector requirements such as the Common Core of Knowledge and Skills for the UK Early Years Workforce.

Full description


This course will equip you for a variety of early years roles and is useful in other sectors too, such as educational psychology and social work. It’s also a good basis for postgraduate study and research.

Modules & assessment

Level 4 modules

  • This module introduces you to your own learning as well as children’s and links to existing theory. It explores the difference between learning and development and considers the influence of adults on children’s learning. The key topics will be: human development, understanding learning, study skills and the roles of parents and key persons.
  • Nowadays the link between lifestyle factors such as activity levels, diet and health is becoming increasingly clear, and greater importance is being placed on the need for children to access outdoor environments. It is crucial to get children making choices and enjoying a healthy balanced diet and active lifestyle from as young an age as possible. Play is recognised as being crucial to children's physical, mental, social and emotional well-being, yet opportunities and encouragement for free play are becoming increasingly limited. You’ll consider children’s well-being and how it relates to their rights. You’ll learn how well-being can be supported through healthy eating, regular physical activity and a play based environment. The key topics will be: well-being, healthy eating and exercise, outdoor play and forest schools.
  • You’ll be introduced to essential research skills relating to children and learn about the importance of linking theory to your practice. The aim is for you to develop skills in child observation and apply general research methods to childhood studies. You'll be expected to work in small groups and share your experience and ideas with your class. The key topics will be: research methods, ethics involved in working with children, types of observation and studying children.
  • This module will explore the growth and development of children in interaction with their environment and consider the implications for practice. You will observe a child for one semester to consolidate your understanding of the principles of child development. You will then use these insights to analyse how the characteristics of the individual and features of his / her environment interact to influence growth and development in early years; the value of early years and the role of early years practitioner in promoting the learning and development of children.

Level 5 modules

  • In this module you’ll explore children’s welfare and well-being. You’ll learn about the complexities attached to the notion of risk, child abuse, protection and safeguarding. This module will offer a comprehensive cover of English legislation, policy and procedures for keeping children safe from abuse. You will gain an understanding of the range of provision available to support children’s needs. The key topics will be: child protection, support and intervention, policy and legislation, multi-disciplinary working and welfare and well-being.
  • This module is about the ways in which children play and learn and the means by which adults can mediate and support their experience. You’ll discuss pedagogic strategies and learn about the importance of creative practices and children learning through play. Different early years’ curricula (Steiner Waldorf, Montessori method, Experiential Education, High Scope, Reggio Emilia and Te Whariki) will be compared and contrasted with England’s curriculum. The key topics will be: early years’ curricula, learning through play, creative learning and pedagogy as well as documenting care and learning.
  • In this module, you'll discuss disability, differences and special educational needs in relation to debates on inclusion and exclusion, needs and rights, and the importance of seeing every child as an individual. You’ll explore different cultural practices to enable an empathetic understanding of how to help all children feel welcome in a setting. Theories for this module are drawn from different backgrounds such as psychology, sociology and education. The key topics will be: history and language of inclusion, cultural differences and EAL, family structures and lifestyles, policy and legislation as well as special educational needs.
  • This module aims to develop your understanding of children's learning and development in the context of organisational policies and practices. You’ll be asked to choose a policy and its related practice in your placement setting and study its implications on the role of an early years’ practitioner. You’ll also be expected to participate in the day-to-day running of the setting while undertaking the tasks relating to this module.

Level 6 modules

  • A critical exploration of children's rights with the focus on rights to education, protection, human rights and participation. The legal position of children has been enhanced by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) 1989 to encompass principles of protection, provision of services and participation. However, not all children's lives are the same and it is important that students of early childhood develop a broader perspective by using evidence from international and national contexts. Successful completion of this module will be relevant to your future employment in voluntary and statutory agencies working with young children.
  • This module will give you an overview of childhood from a range of different perspectives: geographical, historical, philosophical, psychological, sociological, educational and economic. It links concepts from different disciplines to contextualise childhood and update your knowledge of the subject at the end of the course. The key topics will be: how notions of childhood vary across time and place, philosophies and constructs of childhood, the psychosocial interface and the social, political and economic world.
  • Your Undergraduate Major Project is chance to raise and address significant questions relating to your chosen topic/issue. You will be supported by a tutor with similar interests and research profile. This module requires autonomous study and it is your chance to demonstrate that you have met our University’s expectations and are ready to graduate.
  • You’ll work closely with your placement mentor and identify the strengths and gaps in your professional skills and knowledge, particularly in relation to leadership and management in early years. This module builds on the principle that good quality in early years’ practice requires creative and effective leaders who are able to encourage effective team development. You’ll be expected to identify an area of practice that you would like to study through the use of case study.


We’ll assess your progress from your written assignments, presentations, major project and professional development portfolio. There are no exams on this course.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

The Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care is the largest in ARU, with over 7,000 students. Our Faculty is teeming with expertise and primed to meet the demand for creating health professionals, teachers, doctors, scientists and educators for the three districts we serve: Chelmsford, Cambridge and Peterborough.

We have been training undergraduates for professional roles for over 25 years, with a reputation for quality, dedication and ambition balanced with student satisfaction.

We know that to give our students the very best experiential learning, prior to getting into the workplace, simulation is second to none, for safe, realistic, learning environments. We have invested heavily in purpose built simulated wards, science labs and skills space, to support our students through their learning.

Where can I study?

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students, 2019/20 (full-time, per year)


UK & EU students, 2018/19 (per year)*


Important fee notes

The part-time course fee assumes that you’re studying at half the rate of a full-time student (50% intensity, or 60 credits per year). Course fees will be different if you study over a longer period, or for more credits. All fees are for guidance purposes only. Your offer letter will contain full details of credits and fees, or you can contact us if you'd like more information.

How do I pay my fees?

You can pay your fees in the following ways.

Tuition fee loan

UK students can take out a tuition fee loan, which you won’t need to start repaying until after your graduate. Or there's the option to pay your fees upfront.

Loans and fee payments


We offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Some of these cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Explore ARU scholarships

Funding for UK students

Most new UK undergraduate students can apply for government funding to support their studies and university life. This also applies to EU, EEA and Swiss nationals who have citizens' rights following Brexit.

Government funding includes Tuition Fee Loans and Maintenance Loans. There are additional grants available for specific groups of students, such as those with disabilities or dependants.

We also offer a range of ARU scholarships, which can provide extra financial support while you’re at university.

Entry requirements

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You will need:

  • 80 UCAS tariff points from a minimum of 2 A levels or equivalent Level 3 qualification
  • 5 GCSEs at grade 4 (C) or above, including English language
  • Evidence of working with young children
  • An enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.

Learners who studied an Access to HE Diploma with 30 level 3 credits at Merit grade will also be considered.

Whether you're studying entirely online or through a blend of face-to-face and online learning in September 2020, you'll need a computer and reliable internet access to successfully engage with your course. Before starting the course, we recommend that you check our technical requirements for online learning.

Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email answers@aru.ac.uk for further information.

You'll need a computer and reliable internet access to successfully engage with your course. Before starting a course, we recommend that you check our technical requirements for online learning. Our website also has general information for new students about starting at ARU.

We don't accept AS level qualifications on their own for entry to our undergraduate degree courses. However for some degree courses a small number of tariff points from AS levels are accepted as long as they're combined with tariff points from A levels or other equivalent level 3 qualifications in other subjects.

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