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.
As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from those shown here.
These compulsory modules will provide you with the knowledge, understanding and skills you will need to successfully complete the course.
Working with Children 1 (double)
Combine theory and practice, with opportunities to visit Early Years and childcare settings, alongside exploring UK Early Years policy
Research and Professional Practice (double)
You will become skilled at interpreting texts critically and becoming familiar with the ways in which knowledge is produced and shared in the field of early childhood studies.
Growing up in the 21st Century (double)
Understand the contested, evolving nature of childhood, while gaining knowledge of the importance of family and culture in the learning and development of young children.
- Young Children's Outdoor Learning
- Listening to Young Children
- Language Acquisition
- Education, Childhood and Youth Culture: Film and Literature
Years 2 and 3
- Child Development (double compulsory)
- Research in the Early Years (compulsory)
- Preparing for the Dissertation (compulsory)
- Working with Children 2 (double)
- Gender and 21st Century Education
- Cultural and Arts-Based Learning
- Literature for Young Children
- Children's Outdoor Learning
- Young Children's Health and Wellbeing
- Children in the Digital World
- Independent Study: Work and Community related learning
- Dissertation (compulsory double honours component)
- Controversial and Contemporary Research in Education (double honours component)
- Becoming a Reader (double honours component)
- Independent Study (honours component)
- Researching Child Development (honours component)
- International Comparisons in Early Childhood Care and Education (honours component)
- Reflective Practice (honours component)
- Equality and Identity (honours component)
- Professional Roles in Early Years (alternative compulsory honours component)
- Unequal Childhoods(honours component)
- Philosophy of Education (honours component)
Modules in detail » Module diagrams »
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 or with educational charities. The work placement modules in your second and third years are optional. Please note - the Early Childhood Studies Placement module in your second year is a prerequisite for the Reflective Practice module, so students are expected to take the second year module before they progress to the third year one.
You will be asked to cover your travel costs to and from placements. However there is no extra cost incurred for the placement itself.
We always seek new and innovative ways to expand your work experiences; currently, for example, we are linking with Schools and Early Years provision in South America.
It offers the ideal opportunity to gain work experience and employment skills, whilst also giving you the chance to live abroad and immerse yourself in the local culture.
We are always keen to explore ways in which you broaden your experience of education and development. In the past we have visited The Gambia developing long standing relationships with schools and colleges and we are actively exploring international opportunities in other parts of the world, aiming to be responsive to students' needs and interests.
These field trips are optional and will incur extra costs. The approximate cost for the Gambia trip in 2018 is £1200.
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.
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.
We do not expect students to purchase any compulsory course books, as they are all available in the library. If students wish to purchase additional books to supplement their reading this is at their own discretion.
On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published
on the website. For more information, please visit our
Changes to programmes