All modes of study (Taught/Blended/Distance)
The MA Early Childhood Education programme reflects the range of expertise and specialisms within the Early Childhood Directorate teaching team, who are passionate about using insights from their research to enhance your learning experience. You will have the opportunity to develop your own research and specialist areas of expertise, based on personal interests and professional experiences.
You will take two 20 credit core modules, 80 credits of optional modules and complete a 60 credit dissertation based on your own research. The two core modules and the dissertation are completed by all students whichever mode of study you have chosen. They can be studied on a taught or distance learning basis.
Core module 1 (20 credits)
This module will help you develop key postgraduate academic skills with a particular focus on critical reading, writing and reflexivity. By engaging with a variety of sources including writing and multimedia, you will develop critical perspectives about the nature of early childhood education. You will be encouraged to explore your role as an adult learner and to reflect on your academic developments and/or your practice. You will explore how postgraduate research, personal learning and practice interact.
Core Module 2 (20 credits)
Research in Context: Investigating Early Childhood Education
This module seeks to bring research to life; it shows how it has been used to achieve certain outcomes, the knowledge it has generated and the extent to which this knowledge is valid, useful and/or relevant. By engaging with examples of research in the field, you will explore aspects of research design. Through the exploration of different research traditions, you will be supported in formulating a research focus for your dissertation . You must pass this module before undertaking the dissertation.
Dissertation (60 credits)
The dissertation module will allow you to undertake a piece of independent research. You will explore a specialist area in early childhood education and write a dissertation (15,000 words). You will need to have successfully completed the Research in Context module in order to undertake your dissertation. A supervisor will support you during the research process through individual/group tutorials.
OPTIONAL MODULES OFFERED ON A TAUGHT BASIS ONLY
These optional modules are experience-based. You will be able to draw upon the professional and research networks of the course teaching staff. The modules will allow you to develop your own empirical research and make professional connections.
Please note that modules are subject to having a viable cohort in order for them to run.
Learning Outdoors in Early Childhood
You will be encouraged to engage with current issues and debates around the issues of learning in outdoor environments. You will gain an in-depth understanding of the theories of child development, learning and well-being. Some of the sessions will take place outdoors.
Children and Charities in Early Childhood Education
This module will introduce you to the role of charities and wider third sector activity in the lives of young children. It focuses on three central themes of activity:
- How and why the third sector is involved in early childhood and families
- What the varied role of the third sector in children’s education looks like
- How the third sector is represented and used within children’s early intervention education policy.
You will gain a comprehensive and critical overview of current issues in the third sector both in policy and practice. You will investigate and evaluate a third sector provider, through placement based volunteering and/or desk top based research.
Early Childhood Education for Sustainability
You will explore the relationship between sustainability and early childhood education. Throughout the module, you will draw on critical theory and the conceptions of young children as active citizens capable of contributing to and creating change. You will conduct action research on an issue of that is of professional or personal interest.
OPTIONAL MODULES OFFERED ONLINE ONLY
The modules have a more conceptual orientation making them particular suited for distance learning. They are not offered on a taught basis.
Early Childhood Education: Curricular and Pedagogical Approaches
This module will enable you to develop an understanding of the pedagogical approaches in early childhood education (for children aged birth to 8 years). You will explore the development of curricula approaches in a variety of national and international contexts. You will consider how pedagogy and curricula are influenced by the constructs such as "quality" and "childhood".
Policy and Practice in Early Childhood Education
This module aims to enable you to evaluate the interaction of policy and practice in early years. You will also be able to explore your personal philosophy and a range of factors affecting provision in the UK and elsewhere. You will be able to critically analyse policy documentation, research and related literature.
COMMON OPTIONAL MODULES
The following modules are available as options for all students (whichever mode of study they are following):
Children’s Lives in Context: Historical and International Perspectives (Taught and Distance)
This module will help you to develop critical perspectives about the nature of childhood. You will be encouraged to consider how the concepts of children and childhood are constructed historically and internationally. You will develop research skills to explore, analyse and interpret both primary and secondary sources of evidence. Through the discussion of key issues and controversies, you will be introduced to philosophers and educationalists whose ideas and practices have influenced early childhood education.
Professional & Career Development in Early Childhood Education
This module may be taken as a one 20 credit or two 10 credit options.
Part 1 (10 credits)
This module will allow you to reflect upon personal and professional experiences drawing on theories from the field of career and professional development. You will complete a professional learning journal and have the opportunity to undertake voluntary experience if you are not already working in the early childhood sector. Throughout this module, you will be encouraged to identify your professional strengths and weaknesses and to develop an action plan to allow you to further your career.
Part 2 (10 credits)
You will have the opportunity to build upon the learning achieved in part 1 by responding to the professional action plan you have developed. By developing personal and professional networks, you will explore a range of career options within the field of early childhood education. You will take part in a guided learning process in which you interview someone working in a role within the field of early childhood and have the opportunity to reflect on their experience.
Early Childhood Education: Negotiated Project
This module will allow you to develop an early years project which is tailored to your own individual research or practice needs. The focus and design will be developed in negotiation with a supervising tutor.