Early Childhood Studies Foundation degree (FdA) – Awarded by Staffordshire University
What is this course about?
Throughout this Foundation degree you will examine a range of areas and disciplines that focus upon a comprehensive and multi-disciplinary understanding of children, families, policy and practice. This course offers a holistic approach to understanding early childhood, relating appropriate theory to practice. You will look critically at the role of play, consider differing curriculum models and examine the impact of early childhood researchers, theorists and government legislation on current practices. Studies in the theory of childhood development and the rights and diversity of young people are complemented by a consideration of leadership in the workplace and a range of multi-professional perspectives to the field of early years.
The programme is studied over two years and two terms and delivered one day a week in the late afternoon/evening, with study time sub-divided into contact time and self-directed learning. The strategies for teaching and learning are designed to provide practical contexts for the analysis of contemporary issues and problems of a practical nature. You will also be required to complete work related tasks in all modules. This will provide you with the opportunity to link theoretical perspectives to your practice. It will also enable you to reflect on values, practices, assumptions and policies. Work-based activities, supported by a critical friend will help you to establish connections between practice and issues raised by the programme.
How is it taught
Case-study activities will be used to support the above approaches as a means of establishing connections between the workplace and issues raised by the programme. Methods will be chosen to achieve the acquisition of relevant knowledge and understanding in order to develop an informed appreciation of practice. It must also be recognised that much learning will take place in the work place setting.
The theoretical perspectives explored will enable you to reflect upon and share your experience, and relate this to current thinking. You will be encouraged to develop your observational skills and to question your own practice and that of others, to investigate how this is influential in the development of the ‘whole child’. The teaching and learning experience will offer a range of opportunities to develop the skills of the reflective practitioner, a theme which is integral throughout all modules within the programme.
Each module will vary slightly in the learning and teaching styles adopted. However, in general all modules will include traditional learning materials, such as hand-outs, PowerPoint presentations, OHTs and occasionally specialist visiting speakers. Throughout the programme you will be encouraged to reflect critically; to listen carefully to the views of others; to question values and opinions; to investigate evidence and draw upon your own informed conclusions. The teaching approach will often be activity based and participatory and you will be expected to take a full and responsible part. You will be expected to undertake work-based activities in preparation for your teaching and learning sessions within the college. Observations of children or work processes in the work setting may be used to inform discussion such as analysing children’s needs, involvement in the planning process or the preparation of work focused learning materials. Identified work based guides will provide support for you whilst undertaking such activities.
How will I be assessed?
The assessment tasks set over the duration of the programme have been designed to develop and build upon a wide range of personal and professional skills, whilst strongly reinforcing links between theory and practical application. The assessment strategy has been constructed to reflect the changing role of the early childhood studies practitioner at all ages from 0-7.11 years, especially in the light of the Children’s Workforce Strategy and the requirements of the Early Years Professional National Standards, Common Core of Skills for the Children’s Workforce and Early Years Foundation Stage Framework/National Curriculum, thereby embracing the need for evaluation and reflection throughout.
A range of assessment methods will be used on the programme to assess the learning outcomes of the modules. Assessment methods include:
• Case Studies/Practical Planning
• Poster Presentation
• Group presentations
• Independent Research
• Reflective Log
Students are encouraged to analyse complex situations concerning human learning and development in particular contexts. This also includes an examination of their learning and value systems. Students will be assessed upon their ability to accommodate new ideas within childcare settings across the whole age range of 0-7.11 years. Throughout their study students will be encouraged to apply theoretical frameworks to their own and others practice. Transferable and generic skills are assessed. These require you to demonstrate a range of skills including the ability to;
• communicate and present oral and written arguments.
• interpret and present relevant numerical information.
• Work with others, as a result of the development of interpersonal skills, to demonstrate the capacity to plan, to share goals, and work as a member of a team.
• improve your own learning and performance, including the development of study and research skills, information retrieval, and a capacity to plan and manage learning.
A variety of methods are used to ensure that assessment is an accurate reflection of your ability at the two levels.
• Formative learning and feedback is used throughout the programme, this includes observation of your performance in class discussions and your ability to contribute to considerations of case-studies in class time. Your engagement with work related learning through the completion of work related tasks is formatively assessed. You may be asked to make presentations about your work related learning to your peers or develop practical resources. You may also be asked to produce reviews of and recommendations for policy and practice.
• Summative assessment takes a variety of forms which include written assignments that link theoretical knowledge and understanding to practical application in the workplace. The changing levels of the course are reflected in the demands of the assessment in accordance with QAA framework for Higher Education. Assessments at level 4 require sound knowledge of concepts with the ability to evaluate and interpret data to create arguments and make sound judgements of basic concepts. At level 5 you are required to be able to apply those principles widely and to critically evaluate the appropriateness of problem solving approaches. Candidates must attempt ALL assessments in order to pass the course.
What else do I need to know?
Stoke on Trent College has some of the most comprehensive and up-to-date facilities in the country. Learning takes place in a friendly and relaxed environment and your teaching team are here to help you get the most from your course. If you want to study on your own you can use one of the Learning Resources Centres or one of the special study workshops in English, Mathematics and Information Technology. All our classrooms are large, spacious and well equipped, and our staff have an excellent knowledge of the industry gained through many years of experience. The fee is per academic year. Financial support, including HE Loans may be available towards this cost and other expenses depending upon your personal circumstances. For more information please see http://www.stokecollege.ac.uk/hefinance. Application must be online through the Staffordshire University online system – see https://evision.staffs.ac.uk/urd/sits.urd/run/siw_ipp_lgn.login?process=siw_ipp_app&code1=DUSTC-07318ASE&code2=0002
What could I do next?
This programme is central to the government’s drive to raise standards. Successful Foundation degree graduates may progress to the level 6 of the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies at Staffordshire University or another similar route to ‘top-up’ to a full honours degree that you may find more appropriate to your professional interests, for example a BA (Hons) Education. With a BA (Hons) degree in Early Childhood Studies you could work towards attaining an early years’ sector specific professional status, such as Early Years Teacher (EYT) or Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) or follow routes into a range of related sectors, such as health or social work.