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This course is awarded as a Pearson BTEC Level 5 Higher National Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care.

The early childhood education and care sector is dynamic, requiring resilient and adaptable people. This course focusses on developing students as professional, self-reflecting individuals able to meet the demands of employers and adapt to a constantly changing world.

The course will also provide opportunities for students to develop their knowledge, skills, personal attributes and techniques for future employment and study in this sector.

Course description

This course is normally studied for 2 years full time, with teaching based at our Digbeth campus: https://www.sccb.ac.uk/digbethcampus

A variety of learning and teaching opportunities will be available on your course, approximately 32% of your learning will include lectures, tutorials and class room based learning supplemented by workshop activities. Studying can include individual and group working.

Higher education courses also require students to undertake independent study and so approximately 68% of your studies will be through independent learning, research, reading and completing assessments. Independent study can also include working in the library or joining a study workshop at the College where you can gain support on study skills.

In preparing to work in the early childhood education and care sector, students are required to undertake a significant placement or employment of a minimum of 525 cumulative hours over the duration of the course. Placements or employment must be undertaken in an early years education and care setting. Placement hours are usually around 375 in year one and 150 in year two.

Assessment: Approximately 78% of assessments are course work based, 22% are in person which may be a presentation or time constrained tasks and there are no exams. Assessments are designed to reflect the diverse business sector and so could be for example a live project, a case study, observation, report or project.

Units: The course aims to develop a broad knowledge and awareness of key aspects of the Early Childhood Education and Care sector through the study of an average of 120 credits per academic year with a total credit value of 240 credits (equivalent to the first 2 years of an honours degree).

At Level 4, students develop a broad knowledge and awareness of key aspects of the early education and care sector through eight core units valued at 120 credits.

At Level 5, students continue to build on the essential skills, knowledge and behaviours necessary for all early childhood practitioners whilst working through a number of subject-specific specialist and optional units, again valued at 120 credits.

Year 1 - Level 4 Units

  • Personal and Professional Development through Reflective Practice
  • Protecting Children in Early Education and Care Environments
  • Play and Learning in Early Childhood
  • Supporting and Promoting Children's Development (Babies and Toddlers)
  • Supporting and Promoting Children's Development (Young Children)
  • Promoting Healthy Living
  • Preparing for Research (Pearson-set assignment unit)
  • Promoting Inclusive Early Education and Care Environments

Year 2 - Level 5 Units

  • Investigating Childhood: Action Research for Early Childhood Practitioners
  • Improving Quality in Children's Early Education and Care Environments
  • Impact of Curriculum on Early Childhood Education and Care
  • Innovative Approaches to Children's Play and Learning in Practice
  • Child-centred Practice with Children, Families and Communities
  • Managing and Leading People in Children's Early Education and Care Environments

The overall qualification will be graded at Pass, Merit or Distinction depending on unit achievements.

What areas will I study?

You will study 14 units on this course, each unit has a credit value of 15 or 30 credits, and the total number of credits to be studied is 240.

The units to be studied are:

Personal and Professional Development through Reflective Practice (15 credits).

Holistic child-centred practice is embedded into the daily roles of early childhood practitioners working with children in the age ranges of 0–8 years. It is essential that practitioners within this arena take time to develop the skill of reflection and ensure they are able to do this in relation to their practice. Engaging in a continuous cycle of reflection and improvement is critical to ensure the best outcomes for the child are paramount in decision-making.

Protecting Children in Early Education and Care Environments (15 credits).

People working in the early childhood education and care sector, have a responsibility for safeguarding, protecting children and their health and safety through the development and implementation of policies and procedures in their settings in relation to practices for safeguarding and protecting children. Students will review their home country’s legislation, guidance, policies, practices and procedures that underpin the protection of children through the provision of a healthy and safe environment. This unit clarifies child protection principles, practices and opportunities for leadership of principled practice that positions people at the heart of safeguarding and child protection, rather than policy and procedure.

Play and Learning in Early Childhood (15 credits).

Play is a complex subject that is important to explore in early childhood research and practice. The Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) field benefits from knowledgeable practitioners who are also advocates for play. There is a wealth of material written and a vast array of research and opinions on the value and status of play which this unit will begin to explore. It is necessary to examine the idea of play being 'harnessed' for learning in early childhood, as well as whether play needs to have the words 'development' or 'learning' attached, as if to validate a process that is intrinsically motivated and not easy to measure. Play is very important to children and it is well-established that children have a right to play (United Nations Convention of the Rights of a Child (UNCRF), UNICEF, 1989). This means that those working with young children have a duty to understand and support children’s play. This unit will support students’ understanding of historical and theoretical perspectives and how the dominant discourses that influence play may require updating and application in practice. Students will examine the complexities and challenges that play provides in early childhood practice. Considering the differing perspectives on play through a a range of disciplines such as psychology, sociology, play work, health and social care.

Supporting and Promoting Children’s Development (Infants and Toddlers) (15 credits).

The first eight years of a child’s life are said to be the most critical period to ensure a child’s long-term health and wellbeing. A child’s development starts in the prenatal stage where the brain develops rapidly, neural networks expand and grow at a prolific rate and continues after birth. A child’s early experiences have a significant impact on the architecture of the brain and by the time a child reaches three years old, their brains are twice as active as an adult’s. This unit explores the neuroscientific evidence and critical questions some of the widely held neuromyths that circulate within early childhood education. The role of the early childhood education and care practitioner in supporting and promoting children’s learning and development through the first three years of life. This unit will explore and question the theoretical evidence base which justifies approaches adopted to work with infants and toddlers in the early year’s sector.

Supporting and Promoting Children’s Development (Young Children) (15 credits).

Early childhood experiences influence individual differences in many aspects of a child’s development, such as behaviour, cognition, emotional responses and friendship orientations. These influences birth, even prenatally, having a significant impact on later growth and development. A child is not a passive observer but an active participant in their learning. The early childhood practitioner is crucial in promoting and supporting learning and development in partnership with parents, caregivers and the community. They can play a significant role in enabling the child to make sense of their world, through providing them with the tools and experiences that enable their learning, development and progress. In this unit students will learn about perceptions of children’s development and factors that influence the way children develop. Students will explore theories of development and examine how these influence policy and practice. This unit will also cover key milestones of children’s development up to twelve years.

Promoting Healthy Living (15 credits).

Early childhood practitioners are responsible for supporting and promoting the health and wellbeing of children aged 0–8 years in a range of early education and care settings. In this unit, students will develop knowledge, understanding, skills and behaviours to practise effectively in this regard. To be able to fulfil their role in supporting children’s health and wellbeing, it is important that students have an understanding of the contemporary health issues that affect children’s health and wellbeing globally, nationally and in their own settings. It is also important that students are familiar with how healthcare is organised and delivered in their local region, as well as having an appreciation of the roles of different healthcare professionals who may also be involved in the care of children in their settings. Students will explore these aspects of their roles in early childhood education and care provision in this unit. Students will reflect on their roles in relation to supporting children’s health and wellbeing, towards developing the skills and behaviours in themselves and others they may lead, which demonstrate they are able to work in respectful, ethical and inclusive ways with children, families, caregivers and other professionals.

Preparing for Research (15 credits).

Early childhood practitioners are faced with a range of challenges, ideas and issues relating to both policy and practice in their everyday work. Practitioners will have individual passions that motivate them to enhance their knowledge and this will be an opportunity for students to embark upon this for themselves via the writing of a literature review. This unit explores and promotes early childhood practitioners as researchers within the field and introduces students to essential research skills. It is anticipated this will then inform their practice as well as support their academic competence through the sourcing, reading and analysis of contemporary literature. This unit will promote students’ critical thinking and writing skills, as they explore and assess a broad range of texts around their chosen research topic. This unit will also explore data collection methods that are currently used in educational research with a view to students conducting their own action research at a later date.

Promoting Inclusive Early Education and Care Environments (15 credits).

The purpose of this unit is to ensure that students develop a clear understanding of what inclusive education and care look like within provision; and the importance of this in relation to ensuring the best possible outcomes for children from the earliest opportunity. Students will be encouraged throughout to explore and share their own thoughts on inclusion and the fundamental role they play in supporting the children and families they come into contact with in their role. They will reflect on the significance of parents or other primary caregivers as partners in relation to supporting children’s needs, and as such ensure they are a valued part of processes both in the setting and as part of any relevant multi-agency involvement. Students will consider how they reflect on the practice in setting, to ensure that any changes implemented impact on the effectiveness of the setting as a whole, to embed inclusive practices. From the perspective of interventions for children, students will reflect on these as part of the observation, assessment and planning cycle and the tracking process in setting. They will consider the importance of showing progress and impact ensuring that children, irrespective of need, are able to fulfil their potential and that changes and appropriate support are sought in a timely way.

Investigating Childhood: Action Research for Early Childhood Practitioners (30 credits).

Early childhood practitioners operate in a diverse range of early childhood-related institutions and often need to evaluate their practice and initiate changes to their work. This is often based upon research they have undertaken into particular issues that have arisen within their practice and/or establishments.

This unit aims to support students in evaluating practice and initiating a small change to practice in their settings, based upon the reading and research they have undertaken. They will explore what is meant by action research and what it might involve. They will consider a range of research methods and data collection tools before deciding upon and justifying an action research project in their settings. Students will also explore the ethical implications involved in undertaking their research project, referring to own institution’s ethical guidelines and the literature on ethics in research.

This unit builds on students learning’ from Unit 7: Preparing for Research, which is a prerequisite for students undertaking Unit 9: Investigating Childhood: Action Research for Early Childhood Practitioners, and provides underpinning knowledge and skills which students will utilise in carrying out their research project for this unit.

Improving Quality in Early Education and Care Environments (15 credits)

Defining quality in early childhood education and care (ECEC) settings is a complex issue as it covers a range of provision, a range of ages (e.g. 0–1, 2–4, 5–8), a range of practitioners and varied regulations. All practitioners have a responsibility for contributing to quality improvement. This unit defines quality, how it can be measured and what impacts on how it is measured. At a setting level, quality can be assessed in different ways; it can involve work with individual children or groups to understand their response to different learning experiences, both child and practitioner directed; it can also include self-reflection and continuing professional development with colleagues. To implement change effectively, practitioners must work with others, and this requires thought and planning to achieve the best outcomes.

This unit explores quality from these different perspectives and encourages students to reflect critically on their role, the role of others in settings and how broader factors impact on quality.

Child-centred Practice with Children, Families and Communities (15 credits).

This unit explores the value and nature of child-centred practice in the early childhood practitioner’s role. It is central to the role of the effective practitioner to retain a focus on the wishes, feelings, interests and needs of the child throughout their interactions with the child in early education and care environments. This also means that the practitioner must understand that the child is part of a social network that influences their wellbeing and outcomes, and that practitioners should develop the skills and knowledge to work with and support the child’s network to provide the most effective play and learning environment for growth, development and progress.

The unit will enable students to examine these ideas and develop the skills to engage effectively in these processes, emphasising the need to listen and develop a dialogue between practice and theory. Students will discuss the principles and values of working within a child-centred environment for children, families and communities. The unit examines different transitions that children may experience throughout early childhood and how to work in partnership with parents and other family members and/or caregivers.

Impact of Curriculum on Early Childhood Education and Care (15 credits).

Children’s early education and care environments need early childhood practitioners who are committed to developing practice to support children’s current needs and promote future learning and development. This unit will develop students’ understanding of the impact of early childhood care and education curriculum models and frameworks and the ways these are used in early childhood settings. Through examining their own role, students will use knowledge gained to develop appropriate opportunities to effectively carry out holistic assessment and use home country curriculum models and frameworks in children’s early education and care environments, including promoting positive frameworks to improve quality. Students will reflect on their own role and responsibilities when working with others and evaluate their own knowledge of curriculum. This unit builds on students’ learning from Unit 3: Play and Learning in Early Childhood, which is a prerequisite for students undertaking this unit and provides underpinning knowledge and skills which students will utilise in completing assessments for this unit.

Managing and Leading People in Children’s Early Education and Care Environments (15 credits).

Children’s early education and care environments need strong management and leadership of people to be effective for children, staff and parents. The impact of the management of people will determine a setting’s outcomes at inspection and those responsible will need to have knowledge and understanding of the processes of managing and leading people in children’s early education and care environments. Effective managers are also leaders and the development of these skills will promote the quality of provision of the setting and will improve outcomes for children. Those in leadership and management positions will also need to recognise their responsibilities in relation to their own developmental needs, as well as those that they are responsible for. This unit will develop students’ understanding of the relationship between leadership and management and the methods by which these are applied in early year settings.

Innovative Approaches to Children’s Play and Learning in Practice (30 credits).

Play is a complex subject that has never been easy to define in research or practice. The field of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) needs not only knowledgeable practitioners but also those who have an understanding of how to provide innovative approaches to engage young children and families in play and learning. Building on previous theoretical and practice knowledge of play and learning, those working in the field need to develop a critical eye to consider how to develop their own creativity and innovative practice. A deep understanding of how research should be embedded into Early Childhood practice, through consideration of global practice, is essential to support and develop quality practice in supporting play and learning.

This unit will support students to explore new initiatives in global practice and reflect on how this could impact on their own practice. Practical skill development in the use of observation as a research technique and how to comply with complex ethical procedures will be supported. Students will use observation in practice to create a small-scale innovative change. Students will be encouraged to reflect on this experience with reference to key literature. The voice of the child is a strong focus in this unit

Unit information has been adapted from Pearson Edexcel unit specifications. For further information on unit specifications please see https://www.pearson.com/uk/

Course options

Age range Start Fees Duration Further Information
- 14 September 2021, Duration: 2 Academic years £6165.00 (Per Academic Year) Exam Fee:£280 2 Academic years -

UCAS Application Information

Institution Name: South & City College Birmingham
Click here to apply for this course on UCAS website.