BA single honours or in combination with another subject Early Childhood Studies 2019/20

Year of entry

The content of this course is currently being reviewed and is subject to change. Applicants will be informed of any changes that impact on the structure of the course.

This captivating area of study considers the influences that shape children’s development and learning, their personalities, and the critical periods that will shape their journeys to adulthood.

Under the guidance of expert tutors, you will draw on perspectives from the fields of psychology, sociology, education, health, law and science, and gain practical experience working with children and their families.

You will explore areas including:

  • being, belonging and becoming
  • child development and learning
  • inclusive practice
  • working with children and families
  • perspectives on childhood and children’s lives.

Many of our students are clear they want to work with children and although many feel they will want to become a teacher many move to other areas within the early childhood field. For many students, having the opportunity to understand and consider children and childhood in a wider context gives them the opportunity to reaffirm their choice or equally enables those with other or more diverse aspirations to gain invaluable knowledge, skills and attributes to inform their future careers and employment. This enables individuals to enjoy a wider experience shaped by them and their aspirations and goals.

Canterbury Christ Church University was one of the first universities to offer the Early Childhood Studies degree. We continue to pioneer an innovative, creative and exciting approach to the study of children and their childhoods. This captivating area of study draws on multiple perspectives of early childhood from the fields of psychology, sociology, education, health, law and science. In doing the degree the complexities of child development and growth, children’s earliest experiences from the moment of conception to the end of their early childhood are captured and explored.

At Canterbury Christ Church University we invite our students to enter the diverse worlds of children’s lives as they are lived and experienced by children themselves and to consider the influences that shape their development and learning, their personalities and the critical periods that will ultimately shape their journeys to adulthood.

The first early childhood studies degrees were developed for two reasons. The first was to provide an important area of study that brought together knowledge and understanding about children and their childhoods from many different perspectives such as sociology, education, health, science and psychology, and to develop this knowledge and understanding further through research.

The second reason was to develop a graduate workforce who, having been immersed in studying children and their childhoods from many perspectives during their degree, would be effective advocates for babies and young children in whatever capacity they were working.

At Canterbury Christ Church University, early childhood studies has expanded significantly since the degree was first established. In 1996, there were approximately 60 students. We now have a thriving early childhood studies community of approximately 600 students studying online or at three of the university campuses, and who are taught by a team of approximately 25 tutors bringing a diverse range of expertise to ensure students experience early childhood studies as a stimulating, thought provoking, multi-disciplinary degree.

  • 94% of our Early Childhood Studies students were satisfied with the quality of their course
    (National Student Survey 2018)
  • 91% of our Early Childhood Studies were satisfied with the teaching on their course
    (National Student Survey 2018)

As a student on this course, you will explore multiple perspectives including the influences and processes that shape children’s lives. The focus of the degree is on children’s journeys through childhood within the unique contexts of their lives. The degree draws on the subjects of education, psychology, sociology, history, health and welfare, the law, political and economic perspectives. This will enable you to develop your knowledge and understanding, to analyse and debate the concept of childhood, the theories of child development and growth and the implications for practice in a range of professions working with young children and their families.

The early childhood studies degree is designed to provide an academic area of study supporting you to develop the necessary skills, knowledge and understanding to enter the children and families workforce. Over the last ten years, the national agenda in relation to children’s earliest years has placed considerable emphasis on raising the profile and quality of work undertaken with children within the education, health and care sectors. This has led to the need for highly qualified and motivated graduates with knowledge and understanding of children and their childhoods, as well as the importance of working with many professionals and agencies.

You can study French, German, Italian, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish as part of, or alongside, your course.

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This degree makes a significant contribution to meeting the demands of the sector and it will provide you with a broad in-depth, theoretical underpinning of issues facing children and their families as well as providing an opportunity, through options, of undertaking some practical experience.

You will study a degree which is embedded within a socio-cultural perspective towards children. This means that we reflect and explore significant influences on how children develop and learn from a biological and cultural perspective that recognises the importance of children’s lives within their families, communities and societies. When you study the Early Childhood Studies degree, the ideas of ‘being, belonging and becoming’ are a central theme. Not only in relation to children’s development and learning, but also in relation to the journey that you as a student will embark on when you start at Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU). For example, the state of ‘being’ values your experiences, knowledge and participation as the foundation of your professional identity; the notion of ‘belonging’ supports you and your feelings of inclusion and participation at University and in the wider early years community; and finally, the notion of ‘becoming’ supports your critical engagement with diverse perspectives on children, childhood and the wider political, societal and global issues influencing the lives of children and their families.

You may participate in a wider variety of field trips and other opportunities to expand their learning and gain wider experiences of children, childhood, families, communities and cultures. These trips are voluntary and information on additional costs are provided. These opportunities may include day field trips to local facilities such as museums, art galleries, local children’s services and wider opportunities such as Erasmus study and longer field trips to destinations such as Southern India, Germany or Norway.

Work experience In years two and three you can choose optional practice-based modules. These modules support you to gain valuable experience in a range of employment contexts related to children and their families. There are opportunities for you to participate in networking and communities of practice events which may offer opportunities to meet others within the early childhood field and to share learning opportunities, research and developments. You will need to apply for and receive from the University a satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service check (DBS) to undertake practice-based modules.

I was one of the first students to experience ECS at CCCU and now I am astonishingly privileged to be one of the Course Directors for ECS. Over the last 20 years it has been incredible to watch how ECS has become one of the largest and most successful courses within the university, but also how our students have experienced a transformation in how working with the youngest members of our society is now respected. Wherever you find children, one of our graduates could be working with them as advocates for a particular way about thinking and doing early childhood. Our students know that children are the experts in their own lives and how as children they will know more than we will ever know. They are making a difference and it is this that drives all of the ECS team to provide the best degree we possibly can.
Siobhan O'Connor. Course Director

This course can also be studied over four years with an initial foundation year (Year 0) for those without the formal entry qualifications. It is designed to provide you with the grounding you need to progress on to this degree.

Year 1 (all core modules)

Introduction to Early Childhood

The purpose of this module is to provide an introduction into early childhood studies.  It aims to allow you to develop a foundation of knowledge and understanding of the complexity of early years policy, practice and provision.

Discover, Inquire, Explore

This module aims to introduce you to research with regard to children. The module explores a variety of pieces of research that have been carried out in relation to children, as well as exploring the different methods that can be used to undertake research in relation to children and families.

Child Development and Learning

The module aims to provide an introduction to human development that will establish a framework for understanding the developmental stages and domains involved. The module focuses specifically on the learning and development that occurs from conception to eight years of age.

Being, Belonging and Becoming

This module aims to introduce you to an approach to early childhood studies that is values-based and which explores the notion of being, belonging and becoming, not only in relation to children’s lives but also to your experiences as an early childhood studies (ECS) degree student.

Child Health and Well-being

The module aims to explore the concepts related to the health and well-being of all children from conception throughout their lifespan. You will analyse and evaluate the contexts of health including physical, mental/emotional, environmental and social contexts.

Perspectives of Childhood

The aim of the module is for you to develop a basic but critical understanding of the social, cultural, historical, environmental, economic and political contexts that have shaped and continue to influence childhood and children’s lives, particularly from birth to eight years of age.

Year 2  (core modules)

The Developing Child

The module will focus on the growing, development and learning that occurs with an emphasis on the period from conception to eight years of age. The module will also enable you to recognise and discuss the changing nature of developmental theories and their application.

Exploring Research with Children

The module aims to provide you with the knowledge you need to conduct a small-scale research project with or about children. Appropriate research methods will be introduced in addition to methodological constructs and concepts and ethical considerations within social science research.

 (likely optional modules)

  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Working with Children and Families
  • Global and International Perspectives of Early Childhood
  • 21st Century Childhood
  • Early Years Practice 2
  • Gender Issues in the Early Years
  • Children and the Media
  • Physical Development and Movement in the Early Years
  • Creativity, Imagination and Play

You may be offered other optional modules replacing some of the above. The modules available will be subject to minimum group sizes on each campus and timetabling restrictions. Modules may be offered to respond to student feedback and developments in the early childhood field.

Year 3 (Core Module)

Contemporary Issues and Advocacy in Early Childhood

The module aims to bring together the knowledge, skills and concepts you have been developing through the previous levels of the course, and to utilise your growing sophistication in critically analysing the various factors which impact upon the growth and development of young children.

(likely optional modules)

Early Childhood Independent Study 40 credits* or;
Early Childhood Independent Study 20 credits*

These modules aim to provide you with an opportunity to follow a sustained line of enquiry in an area of interest area related to early childhood and to produce a high quality structured and relevant research project which may inform your future career development.

  • Protection, Power and Participation
  • Law, the Child and the Family
  • Leadership and Management in the Early Years
  • Values into Action
  • Early Years Practice 3
  • Global Perspectives of Children’s Health
  • Language and Play
  • Social and Emotional Development
  • Children, Charities and the Third Sector

You may be offered other optional modules replacing some of the above. The modules available will be subject to minimum group sizes on each campus and timetabling restrictions. Modules may be offered to respond to student feedback and developments in the early childhood field.

Our students have moved into early years teaching posts as well as a wide range of other roles including art gallery /museum education officers, play and art-based therapists, policy and service consultants and policing. They have also followed various postgraduate routes into teaching, Masters in early childhood education, social work, speech therapy and occupational therapy.

Others have worked abroad in varying roles, some have become researchers and others have undertaken their Masters and PhD studies in the field of early years.

We also have students working for charities and other organisations all over the world (including Africa, China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, USA, Middle East) and one who is hoping for a role as Minister for Education.


The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for this course are:

  UK / EU Overseas
Full-time - Foundation Year 0 £6,575 £8,500
Full-time - years 1-3 * £9,250 £11,900
Part-time £4,625 N/A

Tuition fees for all courses are payable on an annual basis, except where stated.

* The tuition fee of £9,250 relates to 2019/20 only. Please read the 2019/20 Tuition Fee Statement for further information regarding 2019/20 tuition fees and mid-course year on year fee increases.

Additional course costs

Although we aim to minimise any additional costs to students over and above the course tuition fee, there will be some additional costs which students are expected to meet.

Costs applicable to all students

Text books Own purchase text books
Travel to other sites Where travel to other sites is required, this will be payable by the student
Library Fees and Fines Where students fail to return loaned items within the required time they will be responsible for the cost of any Library Fees and Fines applicable
Printing & Photocopying The cost of printing and photocopying undertaken by students to support their individual learning are payable by the student
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire / photography are additional costs payable by the student

Course specific costs

Field Trips

All learning enhancement activities are non-credit bearing and entirely voluntary. Students (and prospective students at Open Days) are told the nature of these activities and the funding model underpinning them. e.g. The contributions of 6 x students covers 80% of cost for one (1) accompanying staff member. The students are made aware that staff make all logistic arrangements and are academically and pastorally available 24/7 during such activities.

The university provides full travel insurance for all students and staff undertaking such activities.

*All costs are approximate and subject to change. Field trips are reviewed annually and those offered are subject to change.

South India – Annually in July. Three (3) weeks duration. Cost per student £1100* which includes airfares, ground transport, accommodation and two (2) main meals per day. Students are advised to budget a further £200 as personal spending money.

Working in partnership with staff and students from Gandhigram Rural Institute

Oslo, Norway – Annually in May. One (1) week duration. Cost per Student £900* which includes airfares, ground transport, accommodation and two (2) main meals per day. Students are advised to budget a further £200 as personal spending money.

Working in partnership with staff and students from Oslo-Akershus University.

Berlin, Germany – Annually in May. One (1) week duration. Cost per Student £900* which includes airfares, ground transport, accommodation and two (2) main meals per day. Students are advised to budget a further £200 as personal spending money.

Working in partnership with Berlin City Council staff who deal with children and outdoor education and care.

Kansas State University, USA – Annually (Either May or October from 2017) One (1) week duration. Cost per Student 1100* which includes airfares, ground transport, accommodation and two (2) main meals per day. Students are advised to budget a further £200 as personal spending money.

Working in partnership with staff and students from Kansas State University.

General principle policy

The University’s general principles policy for additional course fees are set out here

CategoryIncluded in the tuition feeAdditional cost to student
Field trips (including trips abroad and trips to museums, theatres, workshops etc) No, if the trip contributes to the course as an optional module. Yes if the trip is optional.
Travel and accommodation costs for placements  No

Travel and accommodation costs for professional placements within the Education and Health & Wellbeing Faculties.

Travel and accommodation costs for other work placements. 
Text books No Own purchase text books.
DBS / Health checks No Yes
Professional Body registration No Yes
Travel to other sites (e.g. travel to swimming pool for lessons) No Yes
Clothing / Kit Yes, where the clothing / kit is essential for Health & Safety reasons. Yes, where the clothing is kept by the student and not essential for health and safety reasons.
Learning materials Essential learning materials (excluding text books) in connection with the course. Additional materials beyond the standard provision essential for the course or where the costs are determined by the student’s area of interest and the outputs are retained by the student.
Library fees and fines No Yes
Printing and photocopying No Yes
Social events No, unless the event forms an essential part of the course. Yes, unless the event forms an essential part of the course.
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire/ photography are additional costs payable by the student.

The course consists of three levels of study: year one (Level 4), year two (Level 5) and year three (Level 6). You will study 120 credits per year made up with modules valued at 10 or 20 credits. The majority of modules are 20 credits.

If you are studying a Single Honours or Online Learning pathway you will take 120 credits per year. There may be optional modules to choose at Levels 4, 5 and 6.

You will be offered optional modules although this will be subject to a minimum group sizes on each campus and these will be subject to timetabling restrictions. Other modules may be offered subject to demand and new developments in the early childhood field.

Student contact hours are allocated within each module of study and equate to approximately 50 hours of tutor time for each 20 credit module. Expected self-study time for students is the equivalent to 150 hours per 20 credit module. The Independent Study module in the third year has 20 taught hours and 4 hours supervision per student; the remainder of the hours are for independent study and the conduct of research.

The fact that lecturers are from different professional backgrounds has given me a real insight into their different ways of working and really helped me in my modules. Talking to them has really helped me decide on my future career as I initially wanted to be a teacher but realised that I didn’t in the end. They (academic staff) helped me broaden my ideas and supported me to look wider then teaching

Learning and Teaching Strategies

The learning and teaching strategies are intended to address the interdisciplinary divergences and ethical concerns that underpin the discipline of early childhood studies.

You will be encouraged to take a critical stance in relation to the theories, findings and approaches of the discipline. This will typically involve progression from initially supported and guided study to more independent study. Throughout, there will be emphasis given to active learning and the acquisition of both generic and subject-specific skills and abilities.

Teaching and learning may comprise of, but not be limited to lectures, seminars, workshop, personalised tutorials, guided learning, independent study, email or discussion forums, student groups, blended learning, individual project supervision.

The teaching strategies and learning experiences will support an increasing proportion of individualised and self-directed learning approaches as you progress through the course.  You will be encouraged to take personal responsibility for achieving the learning outcomes through your own efforts.  You will be expected to supplement the knowledge presented through additional enquiry reading and discussions. Independent study using reflection, analysis, enquiry, synthesis and evaluation will be essential elements in learning.

Academic input

Staff within the team include lecturers, senior lecturers, course directors and directors. Several staff members are also continuing their own education at varying levels of higher education from Masters degrees to education doctorates as well as undertaking professional-based studies and work in other areas of their own professional development.

Professionally our staff come from a diverse set of backgrounds including policing, education, social care, health, psychology, local authority, third sector workers, commissioning services, charities and other agencies. This gives our students a unique learning environment and opportunity given the dynamic nature of staff and their professional diversity as well as specialist knowledge, adding to their learning experience. 

All staff have a recognised teaching qualification for higher education and fellowship of the Higher Education Academy or are working towards a qualification and fellowship.

Assessment strategies are varied and offer you an opportunity to develop skills for the workforce as well as succeeding within your studies.  Assessment strategies include presentations, essays, artefacts, rationales, posters, portfolios, online tasks, an individual study and an unseen examination within an optional module.

“I loved every moment of this course. The lecturers were great and passionate, and believed in what they taught. A good range of theoretic and practical learning meant that learning never got stale or repetitive. I went on to do a primary PGCE and I’m now a teacher.”

Sara, Early Childhood Studies, BA (Hons) graduate


Full-time study

Apply via UCAS


Full-time study

Need some help?


For advice on completing your application please contact the Course Enquiry Team:

Email:  courses@canterbury.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0)1227 928000
Tel:+44 (0)1227 928000  (0)1227 928000


Contact our International Team

Fact file

UCAS course code

  • X310 Early Childhood Studies
  • X390 Early Childhood Studies (Online)
  • X391 Early Childhood Studies with Education Foundation Year

UCAS institution code

  • C10


  • 3 years full-time

    4 years full-time including a Foundation Year


  • September 2019

Entry requirements



Last edited 27/03/2019 09:07:00

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Last edited: 27/03/2019 09:07:00