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Undergraduate study
Children and Early Childhood

Children and Early Childhood BA (Hons)

This degree gives you an in-depth specialism around the distinct and specialised nature of working with babies and young children in the early years phase of life, considering children from birth throughout the primary school phase. You focus on the holistic view of children and early childhood, developing a deep understanding of the early years and beyond of a child’s life.



Course routes:


Course overview

Foundation year

A wide range of professions are open to you, including child protection roles, working in schools or other educational settings, parent support workers, play workers, and further study in teaching and social work.

Course content is intellectually stimulating and current. It is interdisciplinary, drawing on contemporary research and discourse, ensuring your knowledge of children and families is relevant to current developments in sociology, psychology, education, health, legislation and policy.

You develop theoretical, practical and reflective skills to lead to good practice when working with early years and young children, parents and other disciplinary services. You focus on child development and behaviours, assessment of children, comparison of children in the UK and across the world, and children’s services.

If you don't have a full level 3 qualification in early years, we offer an Early Childhood Studies Degree Network approved pathway. After graduating, you are a fully qualified level 6 practitioner.

The teaching team have an array of relevant and professional experience in childhood and early years. Active researchers and authors on the team, include the pedagogy of early literacy; poverty and the impact of childhood; early years pedagogies, which benefits your learning experience.

Top reasons to study this course

  • Sector speakers and experts share their experiences, giving you authentic and up to date views.
  • A range of theoretical and transferable skills make you career ready for a range of professions.
  • Teaching and support staff with specialised skills enrich your understanding and application to practice.
  • University services, such as careers and Volun-Tees, support your graduate employment skills and experiences.
  • Your final year project is an opportunity for you to focus and research on your own specialist interest

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Course details

Course structure

Year 1 core modules

Child Development - Ages and Stages

Focus on the importance of understanding children's holistic development when working with babies, children and their families. Consider the development domains central to children's growth and development and the provision that is made to ensure children develop to reach their own potential. You also consider the ages and stages of children’s development and consider individual unique development profiles and factors that may impact on development.

Child Development: Theory

Understanding the development of children from birth through to maturity is central to working with babies, young children and their families. Explore a range of principles and values, and traditional and contemporary theoretical perspectives to develop your knowledge and understanding in this area, and make links between how understanding theory supports practice with babies and young children.

Childhood and the State

Study the importance of policy when working with babies and children. Develop your understanding of the development of policy and the role of politics in this, as well as the national context in which policy is formulated and implemented. There is a focus upon several key policy areas to allow you to recognise the importance of historical, political, economic, social and geographical contexts to the shaping of policy. Gain an appreciation of the contested nature of policy within the early years and how its impact upon children, families and practitioners is under continuing critical scrutiny about its effectiveness.

Constructing Childhood

Gain an understanding of the concept of childhood and how childhood has evolved over time and is socially constructed, identifying various perspectives that enables an understanding of this process.

Explore a critical understanding of the ways in which children’s daily lives are shaped by society and how the ideas held about childhood affect the way we understand and treat children, considering the ethical implications of this.

Contemporary Landscapes of Childhood

Consider current issues and influences that impact on babies, young children and their childhood. Modern children are growing up in a world that is fast-paced and changing, both at a national and international level, and you explore constructs of societal influences and factors that impact discourses relating to childhood. Through consideration of current key issues, you develop your knowledge and understanding of contemporary childhoods.

Knowledge and Skills for Studying

Develop your academic skills and gain an awareness of the importance of research in the areas of children and early childhood as well as considering aspects of academic reading, writing and referencing. Explore the academic support across the University, including the library services and how to access and utilise them to support your academic skills as well as the Student Life team and the services they offer. Develop and extend your digital literacy skills and their use in education through an introduction to the IT facilities and electronic support materials provided by the University.


Year 2 core modules

Employability and Work Experience

Gain academic credit for participating in work experience related to criminology, criminal justice and sociology. You may find your own work experience (subject to approval from your module tutor) or you can take advantage of work experience opportunities offered as part of the module.

Work experience must be performed to an agreed job description and person specification for a minimum of 60 working hours. To take part you must complete a DBS check, along with any other security checks required by your work experience provider. You must also agree to and sign a legal agreement outlining the obligations of yourself, the University and the work experience provider. Alongside your work experience you explore employability issues and skills through a number of interactive workshops led by professionals from within and outside the University.

This module has limited places and participation is subject to a selection process involving an application, shortlisting and interview.

Research in Childhood

Learn about the place and importance of research in the context of childhood and prepare a plan for the completion of your dissertation research in year 3. You are assisted in making a choice between secondary or primary research for the completion of your dissertation. Therefore, the identification and development of the skills needed to review and critique others' research and to carry out aspects of new fieldwork in a specific area of professional concern are covered. You cover a range of issues pertinent to secondary and primary research within childhood.

Explore using the research of others as part of a secondary research process, review methodologies and methods used to complete this process. You also focus on the process of conducting primary research to collect new data and consider research methodologies, sampling, data collection and data analysis methods. Ways of ensuring ‘good practice’ within both the secondary and primary research process are also covered.

Special Educational Needs

Learn about understanding and supporting children with special educational needs (SEN) in the context of understanding policy and how society has progressed from the medical model to the social model of disability.

Explore the systems and processes in place to identify and support children with special educational needs, and the practitioner’s role in supporting children with these needs. Expectations and ways of working with children’s families and other agencies who support the child are explored. Positive ways of including children with SEN into mainstream provision are considered. You also explore the tensions and debates around such provision.

Speech, Language and Communication

Study the major theories of language development and learn about the developmental progress. You consider the factors that affect children’s developmental progress and explore positive interaction strategies to support children’s developing language. Examine the role of speech language and communication on early literacy. Other important aspects of speech and language are explored including, bilingualism, the role of books, and the impact of digital media on children’s speech, language and communication.

Understanding Pedagogy

Explore pedagogical approaches to supporting the learning and development of babies and young children. You examine in detail the importance of play for children's learning and consider differing approaches from a range of early play pioneers as well as more contemporary theories. You build upon your understanding of child development to explore the relationship between play and learning, and the use of observations and assessments to develop an appropriate resource to support and enhance children's learning.

Wellbeing and Safety

Explore the wellbeing and safety of children in the early years and how this is shaped by legislation and policy. You look deeper into the role of adults in promoting and maintaining safety for children in their care. A critical theoretical approach is taken to the outcomes of children regarding their safety and wellbeing. You also explore how children’s safety and wellbeing are conceptualised in the UK and also consider world health organisation conceptions around children’s wellbeing.

Consider wider wellbeing issues such as emotional and physical wellbeing and how these issues may have evolved for children in the early years to endemic proportions as the result of attitudes towards children and policies that have shaped their lives.


Final-year core modules

Children and Early Childhood Dissertation Project

Complete your own research topic and work on this over an extended period of time. This enables you to draw together learning from other modules encouraging your development of a range of skills while independently researching a focused area of interest in childhood. Tutorial support is available to assist you in this process and you are encouraged to reflect upon the knowledge, understanding and skills (including practice skills if you wish) which you have developed throughout your studies so far. However, the programme will emphasise your autonomy in appropriate decision making and will challenge your capacity for independent learning.

Inclusion and Diversity

Develop a deeper understanding of a range of influences that impact on children's learning and development. Develop an understanding of diversity in society and examine some of the ways in which the care and education systems can respond to issues. The limitations of institutional responses to complex issues are examined. Issues of professional practice in inclusion and anti-bias education are also explored. You are assessed by a 4,000 word report.

Leading in Practice

Explore the complex nature of leadership across the wider children's workforce at different levels of practice. Make the most of opportunities for critical engagement with leadership theory and research. Explore theories of leadership, reflection, professionalism, and multi-agency working and considers the application of these in the context of working across professional roles in children's services.

You are supported to reflect on your own skills and experience in preparation for employment in children’s services and their ability to take a lead, for example in promoting ethical practice and anti-discriminatory practice.

Pedagogical Practice

Consider pedagogy in early childhood settings to develop your critical awareness of current pedagogical approaches and explore contemporary debates in education, situating pedagogical practice within these debates. The pedagogy of alternative approaches and to meet the needs of identified groups of children is also examined and situated in early years practice.


and one optional module

Supporting Families

Explore the complex nature of parenting and how we work to support families in different contexts as well as considering the challenges families face that leads to them being identified as in need of support. Enjoy opportunities for critical engagement with theory and research about working with families, parenting and early intervention. You also use and develop your knowledge of reflective practice, considering ethics and values in relation to parenting and family life and the role of professionals in supporting families. Explore theories of parenting, early intervention, reflection, professionalism and multi-agency working and consider how practice in supporting families can be understood by theoretical approaches.

You research early intervention as a support for families and identify a case study of a family that may be identified as requiring support and what this support may be. The final assessment will engage you in critical analysis of parenting and family life, and the support typically offered to families under the Early Help Policy as well as other early interventions such as children’s centre services.

Teaching in a Primary School

Explore teaching and learning across early years foundation stage and into Key Stages 1 and 2. The different pedagogical approaches between the key stages are also explored with a focus on key subject areas, as well as different models of curriculum and their influence on the teaching environment. This module is particularly relevant if you are wanting to work in school-based educational settings.

Working with Vulnerable Children and Young People

Develop your theoretical knowledge and understanding relating to issues of vulnerability in early childhood and how social services work to support and safeguard children who are deemed vulnerable. This includes a critical approach to the concept of vulnerability.

Consider the issues that children can experience that may require considerable support to overcome such as child protection issues and children in the looked after care system as well as children at risk. A range of social and cultural issues relating to vulnerability and trauma are considered including the social construction of vulnerability. The role of the state, private, voluntary, and charitable organisations, as well as communities in creating and addressing childhood vulnerability are analysed. You also examine issues relating to the rights of children and their agency.


Modules offered may vary.


How you learn

We provide you with a range of opportunities to develop the skills and understanding you need for working with babies and young children. You study relevant, contemporary material, applying theory to practice.

How you are assessed

Assessment is through essays, reports, exams, as well as case studies and presentations to demonstrate your academic and developing professional skills, and reflective practice.

Our Disability Services team provide an inclusive and empowering learning environment and have specialist staff to support disabled students access any additional tailored resources needed. If you have a specific learning difficulty, mental health condition, autism, sensory impairment, chronic health condition or any other disability please contact a Disability Services as early as possible.
Find out more about our disability services

Find out more about financial support
Find out more about our course related costs


Entry requirements

Entry requirements

A typical offer is 72-96 tariff points from at least two A levels, T level or equivalent. You must have GCSE English at grade 4 (grade C) or equivalent. And, if you intend to progress into teaching, you must have a grade C in science and maths.

For general information please see our overview of entry requirements

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting Your Country

You can gain considerable knowledge from work, volunteering and life. Under recognition of prior learning (RPL) you may be awarded credit for this which can be credited towards the course you want to study.
Find out more about RPL



Career opportunities

Career opportunities are working with families and children in a range of different roles: for example as support workers and assistants in schools, local authority or health services. Students progress into roles in nurseries, schools and children centres supporting both children and parents. With a good honours degree, you can progress to post graduate professional study such as for teaching in the early years or social work.

The programme incorporates broad employability skills development that will help to prepare you for future employment. You will be encouraged to volunteer and will have opportunities to take part in projects. There are guest lectures from professionals working in relevant areas and opportunities for site visits. Workshops are available for skills development.

All programmes are designed to incorporate employability skills development alongside your degree course. Our staff utilise their extensive connections to provide many and varied opportunities to engage with potential employers through fairs, guest lecture sessions, live projects and site visits. In addition we offer a series of workshops and events in the first, second and third year that ensure all students are equipped with both degree level subject knowledge PLUS the practical skills that employers are looking for in new graduate recruits.

Our award-winning careers service provide information sessions each year to help students prepare for employment and they work with regional and national employers to provide careers fairs advertise graduate positions, in addition to providing postgraduate support for all Teesside University alumni.

If you complete your degree through the Early Childhood Studies Degree Network, you graduate as a fully qualified level 6 practitioner. This is valued and sought after in the sector.


Information for international applicants


International applicants - find out what qualifications you need by selecting your country below.

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Useful information

Visit our international pages for useful information for non-UK students and applicants.

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Other course routes

Foundation year

Study this course with a foundation year if you need additional preparation or if you don't have sufficient grades to join Year 1.

BA (Hons) Children and Early Childhood (with Foundation Year)


Entry to 2023/24 academic year

Fee for UK applicants
£9,250 a year

More details about our fees

Fee for international applicants
£15,000 a year

More details about our fees for international applicants

What is included in your tuition fee?

  • Length: 3 years
  • UCAS code: X310 BA/CEC
  • Start date: September
  • Semester dates
  • Typical offer: 72-96 tariff points from at least 2 A levels (or equivalent)

Apply online (full-time) through UCAS



2023/24 entry

Fee for UK applicants
£4,500 (120 credits)

More details about our fees

  • Length: Up to 5 years
  • Attendance: Daytime
  • Start date: September
  • Semester dates

Apply online (part-time)


Choose Teesside

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    Hear from our early childhood studies students

    Why they choose Teesside University, what they have found rewarding and their career aspirations.


Education, Early Childhood & Youth

The facilities available to Education, Early Childhood and Youth students at Teesside University are ideal preparation for a career in education. Students have access to many of the kind of resources that you would expect to find in an educational setting.


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UK students


Telephone: 01642 738801

Online chat (general enquiries)

International students


Telephone: +44 (0) 1642 738900

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