Our part-time Early Childhood Foundation Degree provides a unique blend of professional practice and academic rigor. It offers 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.
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 field. Our tutors aim to promote student empowerment and to support you in developing your personal, professional and academic identities.
You will progress to Honours level in the 3rd year of study, and achieve a BA (Hons) Early Childhood degree within 4 years. We are accredited with Graduate Practitioner Competencies* from September 2022 — this means that you have the option to work towards what the Department of Education terms as a 'Full and Relevant' level 3 practitioner status that will enable you to be counted in ratios in the Early Years sector.
Students who wish to progress into teaching are supported by the Centre and the University. You will be guaranteed an interview for the Early Years or Primary Core (university-led) PGCE courses delivered in the Centre for Teacher Education as long as you achieve the entry requirements of the programme.
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
At the end of year 2, you will proceed 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)
If you choose to continue to the BA (Hons) route you will receive a letter and transcript from the University to confirm you have met the expectations of a Foundation Degree but graduate only at BA level.
- 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
- This programme offers people the chance to combine study with work and family commitments.
- The degree is designed to support people who are new to university study.
- It is for people who can:
commit to attending one (evening / twilight) session per week and two Saturdays per term in the first year
commit to gaining substantial and broad experience in one or more Early Years contexts, either as a volunteer or employee
- It is 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
- 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.
- On the course, you will need to complete 150 hours practice, paid or voluntary, in a suitable early years setting (birth to 8)
You study 3 modules in year one, 3 in year two and 2 in year three of the Foundation Degree.
You then do a further 30 credit module in the summer of the third year of the BA, and 90 credits in the fourth and final year.
Foundations for Learning:
This module will focus on the ways in which the universal art of storytelling can enhance a child's 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 at the start of their learning journey. This module will also support students to consider the responsibilities of the early childhood practitioner in providing storytelling experiences to support young children's development.
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:
This module focuses on learning and development from birth to eight. This is to acknowledge the importance of the very earliest experiences and the impact these have on people’s lives. Children’s development from birth to eight years of age is an exciting journey of exploration and discovery of the world around them. In this module we will explore theories of developmental psychology and sociology, and along with other disciplines such as health, wellbeing and nutrition, illustrate the interdisciplinarity of early childhood studies.
Policy into practice in Early Childhood
In this module we will be exploring the relationship between what we want for children as practitioners, parents and as a nation. We will make connections between national policy and legislation and the pedagogy and policies we offer for children and families. You will be invited to reflect on your own practice and experiences, undertake some independent research 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 that illuminates the latest findings from early childhood research is explored, in order for 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
During this module we will explore the notion of safety and risk for a child in the 21st century. We will consider different perspectives and investigate how safety and risk is interpreted by parents and practitioners and the influences that have an impact on their behaviour as carers. Policy legislation, frameworks and guidance will be explored to investigate the challenges of safeguarding children. We will research a range of contemporary and historic judicial and serious case reviews to understand the process of safeguarding children in the UK. We will also explore international and cross cultural approaches to safe play, practice and learning spaces, to consider health and safety, risk assessments and safe use of ICT and virtual learning spaces.
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
Within this module, students develop the knowledge and skills required to become an agent of change within an Early Childhood context and beyond. This also encompasses reflection upon professional identity, ethical and collegiate practice. This module supports students to develop the knowledge and understanding of leadership and management theories and key concepts as understood within and applied to educational contexts.
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 and 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.
Career benefits of attending this course include:
- Achieve a University of Warwick degree
- Gain knowledge and understanding of early childhood
- Build up your confidence as a scholar and professional
- This is a recognised programme approved by the Sector Endorsed Foundation Degree in Early Years
This degree is accredited with Graduate Practitioner Competencies by Early Childhood Study Degree Network from September 2022. If you have opted to work towards, successfully meet the criteria and gather an evidence portfolio based on your vocational practice, you will be qualified under the DfE to work with children in a variety of roles. Upon graduating with BA Hons in Early Childhood, you gain a full level 3 practitioner certificate that will help you progress in the Early Years sector. Please refer to the Certificate section on this page for more detail.
- Some modules within this degree offer opportunities for you to obtain the Warwick Award, which helps you to get recognised for employability
Your study with us opens up a number of avenues* for future career development in areas such as:
- Education: teaching, educational leadership and management, allied services relating to Inclusion and SEN, safeguarding
- Health: Children’s mental health, speech and language therapy, play therapy
- Social Justice and community engagement: Family support worker, social work
- Academia: early childhood education and care research, publication
- Arts and culture: children’s author, storyteller
- Further studies in Early Childhood at postgraduate level
*It is important to note that some of these may require further training/qualifications. Your course tutors and our dedicated careers team can support you with these.
Our Early Childhood students who wish to progress into teaching are supported by the Centre for Lifelong Learning and the University.
Our Early Childhood programmes are accredited Graduate Practitioner Competencies* by Early Childhood Study Degree Network from September 2022. Upon graduating with BA Hons in Early Childhood, you gain a full level 3 practitioner certificate that will help you progress in the Early Years sector. Having gathered an evidence portfolio based on your vocational practice, you will be qualified under the DfE to work with children in a variety of roles. Read on to find out more about Graduate Practitioner Competencies, or visit ECSDN’s webpage.
The Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner Competencies aim to:
- Remove the confusion in the sector about how ECS Degrees are aligned to practice requirements in the four nations of the UK.
Address the inherent challenges of different types of Early Childhood degrees and study pathways, enabling the wider workforce to be clear about individual early career graduates’ expected level of knowledge, skills and actual experience in practice.
- Acknowledge the different pathways that lead learners to undertake the degrees, enhance their practice experience and enhance employability skills.
- Ensure that Higher Education academic routes are responsive to the changing needs and training routes in early years practice, education and the wider Children’s Services workforce.
- Make a significant contribution to strengthening a graduate-led Early Childhood workforce that is responsive to workforce needs and improves outcomes for children.
- Afford students with placement opportunities to critically apply theory to practice in a range of Early Childhood settings and/or schools, social care and health settings. This will enable students to develop graduate skills in the application of the inter-disciplinary Early Childhood knowledge base to reflective practice.
- Provide new opportunities for graduates who want to strengthen their practice in Early Childhood and/or progress to post-graduate academic programmes or professional training, including Early Years Teacher (0-5), Teacher (3-11), Social Work and health professions.
Full and Relevant Criteria in England
The Early Childhood Studies Degrees Network agree that a graduate can be counted as ‘Full and Relevant’ in Early Years settings in England if:
- They had an Early Years Educator, or equivalent Level 3 qualification before joining the degree.
Or their ECS degree is:
- mapped on to the ECS QAA benchmark statement – which it is with Warwick CLL.
- Includes placements with:
- academic assessment
- practice which is observed, assessed and developed by setting mentors
- one visit per placement by HEI staff to observe, assess and develop practice.
Note: It is the responsibility of the HEI to ensure that students have relevant assessed and observed practice that meets the Level 3 requirements. They cannot be counted as ‘Full and Relevant’ if they do not meet the criteria above. They need to undertake a relevant level 3 qualification.
Applications for 2022/23 are now open, which will close on Monday 11 September 2022.
View the video below to hear Rachel Striniso, Assistant Professor in Early Childhood, talking about the application process.
This video was filmed in 2019.
Tuition fees for Home/EU Students in 2022/23 are as follows:
- £4,620 (90 credits)
Currently, the University of Warwick is not sponsoring students on part-time or distance learning courses with a Tier 4 visa. Therefore, if you require a visa to study a part-time or distance learning course in the UK which is longer than six months' duration, you may wish to consult the 'right to study' page on our Student Immigration & Compliance website before you make an application.
View potential Additional Fees.
See Student Fees and Funding for more information on financial support for your study.
We offer the course at The University of Warwick (Tile Hill, Coventry) and at our partner college, North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College (Nuneaton).
- Induction Day for 2022/23 is: Saturday 1 October 2022.
- The course will be taught on Monday between 6:00pm-9:00pm at Warwick, and Thursday between1:00pm-4:00pm at North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College.
- Students at both Warwick and NWSLC will attend up to 6 Saturday sessions between 9:30am-3:30pm each year at the University of Warwick. The Saturday teaching days for 2022/23 are:
- 3 December 2022
- 11 February 2023
- 18 March 2023
- 20 May 2023
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Starts: October 2022
Level: Foundation Degree
Length: Just under three years (8 terms) part-time
- University of Warwick (evening study)
- North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College (daytime study)
"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