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EQ935-30 The Young Child in Context

Department Education Studies

Level Taught Postgraduate Level

Module leader Dr Sarah Dahl

Credit value 30

Module duration 10 weeks

Assessment 100% coursework

Study location University of Warwick main campus, Coventry


This module provides an interdisciplinary analysis of contemporary policy and practice, in early childhood in diverse societies and at different points of time, for instance, in education, health and social work. It examines the interplay between family, work, schooling and other influences in the lives of young children. It considers the distinct cultural worlds they inhabit by exploring their everyday activities, their friendships, relationships and identities, including the role of media and information technology in their lives.

Early childhood is now high on the agenda of policy makers across the world and the module explores the status of young children, their rights and participation in a global context. Significant are the effects of poverty and other adversities such as war on life-chances, health and well-being.

Principle Module Aims and Outcomes
  • To explore different perspectives on early childhood in diverse societies, at different times and shaped by different disciplines.
  • To examine what theories are being used to guide and inform concepts of learning and development.
  • To identify the dominant methodological approaches and methods being used.
  • To interrogate the agendas of policy-makers with respect to provision for young children and equitable services for low-income families.
  • To critically analyse the array of maintained, private, voluntary and independent early childhood settings available and consider the range of services provided (childcare, schooling, learning, family support and early intervention) in terms of quality, access and affordability.

The module introduction will consider issues relating to constructions of childhood that rely on a knowledge base from the global North. The next 8 sessions cohere round four themes of:

  • Multiple perspectives
  • Current and emerging theoretical viewpoints
  • Policy and provision
  • What counts as effective practice

Each one will have preparatory reading, a formal presentation followed by a seminar/reading group activity for discussion and debate that will include examples from the global North and the South with a view to theorising new perspectives. The concluding session will review the module and issues raised in session 1, considering how we might interrogate future directions for early childhood global policy.

Study time
Type Required
Lectures 15 sessions of 1 hour (5%)
Seminars 15 sessions of 1 hour (5%)
Private study 270 hours (90%)
Total 300 hours
Essay 100%
Module Information

This is an optional module for MA Childhood in Society, MA Education, MA Educational Innovation, MA Educational Leadership and Management, MA Islamic Education: Theory and Practice, and MA Psychology and Education.