Our part-time Early Childhood Foundation Degree provides a unique opportunity to bring together the components of your individual and professional identity, with your own inner wisdom and experiences of engaging with young children. Our aim as tutors is to promote student empowerment and to support you in developing your personal, professional and academic identities.
You will be taught by a highly experienced and passionate teaching team, who are actively involved in early childhood research, and who have their own subject specialisms and expertise within the early childhood field.
The Foundation Degree will help you to develop a range of academic, professional key skills and builds upon your knowledge and understanding of early childhood and your confidence as a person, professional and scholar.
It provides a unique blend of professional practice and academic rigor and you can progress from the part-time foundation degree to honours level in the 3rd year of study and achieve a BA (Hons) Early Childhood within four years.
Our Early Childhood programme offers you the chance to combine your study with work and family commitments. You might be an early years educator, a parent, a grandparent or a health worker, or simply wish to build on your relevant experience in a professional, personal or voluntary context. The degree is designed to support people who are new to university study.
The Foundation Degree:
- Combines academic rigour with professional practice
- Promotes key and transferable skills, e.g. leadership, communication
- Prepares for career progression and is a route to further study
- Builds on prior experience and learning
- Runs on one evening per week and two Saturdays per term
Following the Foundation Degree, students can progress to the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Degree. This degree offers optional modules in the third year, which allows you to choose a named award in your study choices:
- BA Early Childhood
- BA Early Childhood (Teaching, Learning and Assessment)
- BA Early Childhood (Leadership)
- BA Early Childhood (Inclusion and Special Educational Needs and Disability)
For more information on the programme structure of this course, please see our Programme Details page.
- NVQ Level 3 or prior academic/vocational study and experience is an advantage
- GCSE grade C in English and maths is a distinct advantage
- A willingness to gain substantial and broad experience in one or more Early Years contexts, either as a volunteer or employee
On the course, you will need to complete 150 hours practice, paid or voluntary, in a suitable early years setting (birth to 8)
The programme if for people working in private or public contexts with responsibility for young children and families, including
- Early years practitioners in childminder, private, voluntary and independent settings
- Teaching and learning support assistants, classroom assistants and early years educators working in schools and other educational settings
- Health workers, parents and grandparents involved in supporting children's learning, welfare and development
Part-time, modular structure linking theory and practice
- Core and optional modules
- Flexible delivery methods including seminars, workshops, professional tasks, lectures and online learning opportunities
- A commitment to attending one (evening / twilight) session per week and two Saturdays per term in the first year
- A commitment to gaining substantial and broad experience in one or more Early Years contexts, either as a volunteer or employee
- A Certificate in Early Childhood may be awarded (FHEQ Level 4) for those who do not choose to progress to FHEQ Level 5
- The Foundation qualification is at FHEQ Level 5 and provides an opportunity to progress to our BA (Hons) Early Childhood
There are a variety of assessments and these may include coursework assignments, presentations and research projects. You can expect to commit to around 10 hours a week for each module you take which includes contact time and independent study. You study three modules in year one, three in year two and two in year three of the Foundation Degree. You then do a further 30 credit module in the summer of the third year if you are progressing to the BA and 90 credits in the fourth and final year.
As you may work full or part-time, the taught sessions take place at a time to suit normal working hours so that your time with us on the course can align with your day-to-day job and working commitments.
Foundations for Learning:
This module aims to lay the foundations of knowledge, understanding, attitudes and skills that underpin effective Degree-level study. You will therefore explore a range of concepts, strategies and resources to support the development of your academic study and writing skills. Accompanying this will be specific attention to the ways in which the universal art of storytelling can enhance human learning and development irrespective of age, language or socio-cultural factors. We will explore what makes a good story, we will seek to better understand the ultimate storyteller - the human brain (therefore exploring the science of storytelling) and also determine the power of story in the lives of young children.
The understanding and skills you acquire through this module are intended to help support your future studies and practice in early childhood contexts.
Contemporary perspectives in early childhood:
What are the beliefs and principles that shape how people educate and care for young children? What are some of the theories and assumptions that govern practice? Who speaks for children? What is childhood? Within this exciting module, you will be encouraged to question taken-for-granted ways of working in and speaking about early childhood. You will explore different values, theories and views, and consider our own perspectives on different aspects of early childhood education.
You will be encouraged to read widely, discuss deeply, raise more questions than answers and explore the meaning of different words and practices in early childhood.
How children learn and develop from birth:
Theories about child development and learning from birth, as well as those from associated disciplines such as sociology, psychology and medicine are introduced with the intention of supporting you to recognise the inter-relationship between aspects of child development theories and practice in a range of early childhood contexts. This module will also support you to develop an understanding of how to plan for and meet children's health, well-being, protection and safety needs, acknowledging and respecting the conditions that enable them to flourish.
Policy into practice in Early Childhood
The relationship between what we want for children as practitioners, parents and as a nation are examined through global and national policy drivers, legislation and the pedagogy and policies created for them and their families. You will be invited to reflect upon your own practice and experiences and consider approaches that keep children at the centre of our vision for the future.
Researching Early Childhood
This module embraces some of the skills that we already have as practitioners or those who support young children within the home and enables you to develop these skills within the context of conducting and reviewing early childhood research. High quality academic literature, illuminating the latest findings from early childhood research are explored in order to you to examine the design and decision making process associated with conducting ‘high quality’, ethical early childhood investigations.
Safety and Risk in Early Learning Spaces
This module supports you to critically examine safeguarding practices within an early childhood context in light of current research, policy texts and associated practices. To explore the notion of safety and risk for a child in the 21st century, we also consider different perspectives and experiences of ‘risk-taking’. We discuss how this concept is interpreted by parents and practitioners and the influences that have an impact on their behaviour as carers.
Inclusion and Special Educational Needs and Disability in Early Childhood – core module
By exploring the meaning, history and context of the term ‘inclusion’, this module considers the dilemmas and tensions associated with inclusive practice in early childhood. Critically reviewing government policy, frameworks, and guidance in relation to inclusion and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) enables you to reflect upon the roles and responsibilities of the practitioner in identifying and supporting children with a variety of needs.
Leadership in early childhood contexts – optional module
In this module you will critically explore big questions about leadership and management in contemporary Early Years and Educational contexts, whilst examining policy frameworks that inform leadership and management. We consider what is leadership? What policy frameworks inform leadership and management? What are the challenges and opportunities of inter-professional working? How can reflective practice support us in our leadership development? How can critical and reflective practice support us to lead in an ever-changing landscape?
Teaching, learning and assessment in early childhood – optional module
The focus of this module is that through a developed understanding of how young children learn, you as a practitioner will critically explore methods of facilitating learning and the use of assessment to inform and guide stakeholders, such as; parents, carers, other professionals, to ultimately, empower children. You will be encouraged to become a reflexive practitioner through observation of and reflection on your experience and evaluation of your own progress. Together we will consider a range of psychological, sociological, educational, health, historical and philosophical perspectives to assess their impact on approaches to working with babies and children.
- Achieve a University of Warwick degree
- Gain knowledge and understanding of early childhood
- Build up your confidence as a scholar and professional
- Progress to an Honours degree
- This is a recognised programme approved by the Sector Endorsed Foundation Degree in Early Years
- Opportunities to progress in your careers during and beyond the course, with your study with us opening up a number of avenues for future career development in areas such as:
- Teacher training
- Family support worker and other roles within local authorities
- Engaging with Non-government organisations such as the NSPCC and international charities
- Progression within Early Years settings
- Opportunities within the NHS
- Further studies in Early Childhood at postgraduate level
It is important to note that some of these may require further training/qualifications, of which course tutors and the dedicated careers team can support you with.
Tuition fees for Home/EU Students in 2021/22 are as follows:
£4,620 (90 credits)
The University of Warwick is not currently sponsoring students on part time or distance learning courses with a Tier 4 visa and so if you require a visa to study a part time/distance learning course in the UK which is longer than 6 months, you may wish to consult the 'right to study' page on our Student Immigration & Compliance website: https://warwick.ac.uk/study/international/immigration/othervisas/whatvisa before you make an application.
We offer the course at The University of Warwick (Tile Hill, Coventry) and at our partner college, North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College (Nuneaton).
The course will be taught on Wednesday evenings at Warwick (6-9pm) and Tuesday afternoons (12:30pm-5:30pm) at North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College.
Students at both Warwick and NWSLC will attend a number of Saturday sessions (9:30am-3:30pm) each year at the University of Warwick. There will be an induction day on Saturday 2 October 2021.
Our Saturday teaching days at Warwick for 2021/22 are tbc.
This prezzi was recorded by Teaching Fellow, Maggie Crowley, in 2021.
This video was recorded via teams in 2021.
This video was filmed in 2019.
Starts: 2 October 2021
Level: Foundation Degree
Length: Just under three years (8 terms) part-time to the Foundation Degree and just over a further year (4 terms) to the BA (Hons) degree
Venue: University of Warwick and North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College
"The lecturers were very knowledgeable and extremely adaptable to our learning needs, understanding our work and family commitments and respecting our multi-disciplinary backgrounds and incorporating our individual knowledge and experience into our learning. I found this shared knowledge a valuable resource in my own learning journey."
Charlie, 2020 graduate