You will begin by learning about how very young children grow and develop, both in the family and in different cultures, examining how toddlers make sense of the world around them through play and interaction with adults.
Underpinning the theory is an important strand of practical, hands-on work in which you may observe and work with young children in different settings. We have strong links to local settings and providers of early childhood care and education, through placement opportunities and a regular forum on early years research.
As you progress through the course, you can focus on particular areas of study that interest you by selecting from the diverse range of modules available.
In addition you research particular topics in early years education. Research interests of our staff include children’s language acquisition; the nature of children’s thinking; children and new technologies/media; outdoor learning; children’s spirituality; and children’s identity. There is also a strong strand of research related to the understanding of professionalism and multi-agency working in the early years.
All our courses are reviewed regularly to ensure that they respond to developments in the subject area, the sector and the needs of employers. The list below is indicative of the range of modules that we expect to be available.
You will be studying modules such as:
- Early Years: the UK Context
- Families, Culture and Context
- Play and Pedagogy
- Legal Aspects of Social Care
- Constructions of Childhood
Years 2 and 3
You can expect to choose from a range of modules, including:
- Child Development
- Child Development: Researching Development
- International Comparisons in Early Childhood Care and Education
- Early Childhood Studies Placement
- Reflective Practice
- Equality and Identity
- Professional Roles in Early Years
- Literature for Young Children
- Outdoor Learning
- The Social World of Childhood
- Children and the Media
- Spirituality and Children
- Research Methods in Childhood and Education
- Controversial Issues in Education
- Social Work with Children
- Social Work with Looked After Children
There are opportunities for placements across a wide range of early years settings throughout the course. In one of the first year modules you will undertake a number of observational visits to settings that enable you to begin to make links between theory and research, and practice.
During your second and third years there are extended placement modules that will give you direct practical experience of working with young children and early years professionals.
You can choose a third-year placement according to your particular interests, for example working with children with special educational needs. Our close links to the local authority also mean that some students are able to become involved in particular projects such as local mentoring schemes for children.
You may be able to go on a European or international study exchange while you are at Brookes. Most exchanges take place in the second year.
Studying abroad provides an amazing opportunity to add value to your studies by:
- increasing your employability within an international market
- boosting your language skills
- building your confidence in adapting to new situations
- improving your knowledge of different cultures.
While on exchange you will gain credits which count towards your degree.
We have more than 100 partner universities around the world. Funding is available through the Erasmus scheme, and also via some international programmes such as the Santander Student Awards.
There is also a European work placement programme which gives you the chance to work abroad as part of your studies.
For more information, visit our pages on studying abroad and exchanges.
Departmental research highlights
Several of the lecturers on the Early Childhood Studies course have contributed to the book "Themes and Debates in Early Childhood" co-edited by Mary Wild, Principal Lecturer in Child Development and Early Years Education and Alison Street, Associate Tutor.
Free language courses for students - the Open Module
Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.
Please note that the free language courses are not available if you are:
- studying at a Brookes partner college
- studying on any of our teacher education courses or postgraduate education courses.