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Professional practice in the early years

This work-based module develops the concept of reflective practice introduced in The early years: developing practice (E100) and explores: working with colleagues, parents and other professionals; promoting children’s play, learning and development;  and safeguarding children: promoting rights, health and wellbeing. You will develop your skills in questioning, data gathering, evaluation and reflection as you focus on and explore your professional practice and children's experiences in your early years setting.

Modules count towards OU qualifications

OU qualifications are modular in structure; the credits from this undergraduate-level module could count towards a certificate of higher education, diploma of higher education, foundation degree or honours degree.

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Module code
Study level
1 7 4
Study method
Distance Learning
Module cost
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Entry requirements
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What you will study

You will develop your understanding of the concept of being a reflective practitioner and the professional expectations of being a leading practitioner in the early years workforce. You will be taught how to gather and present evidence of your developing knowledge, understanding and skills.

During the module you will be introduced to the processes that are involved in being a reflective practitioner. You will use these reflective practice processes to help you deepen your understandings in relation to three themes and how these relate to practice in your work setting:

  • engaging with parents, colleagues and other professionals
  • play, learning and development
  • safeguarding children: promoting rights, health and wellbeing.

You will learn how to evaluate your own practice, and present evidence of your developing knowledge, skill and expertise against core professional learning outcomes. You will also learn how ICT and other technologies can support your own learning and professional development. Word processing, internet access and online discussion forums are all integral and compulsory elements of this module.

By the end of the module you will be expected to have created an evidence file, based on your practice in your workplace, of your knowledge, understanding, skills and expertise against the seven core learning outcomes for the Foundation Degree in Early Years. This will be further developed in Extending professional practice in the early years (E210), the OU level 2 compulsory work-based learning module in the Foundation Degree in Early Years, Diploma of Higher Education in Childhood Practice and BA/BA (Hons) Early Years. Students are therefore expected to take this module before studying E210.

Vocational relevance

This module is for experienced practitioners seeking to become highly qualified, leading practitioners including those who aspire to become a specialist Early Years Teacher (to work with babies and children). It is suitable for students working directly with young children in a paid or unpaid capacity in a range of early years settings including:

  • early years teachers without qualified teacher status
  • teaching or classroom assistants
  • nursery nurses
  • playgroup workers and leaders
  • childminders
  • those working in nurseries, day-care and children's centres.

E105 has specific vocational relevance. It is the first compulsory work-based learning module in the Foundation Degree in Early Years, Diploma of Higher Education in Childhood Practice and BA/BA (Hons) Early Years. 

Outside the UK

This module is available in the UK and to students working in British Forces schools or in early years settings in Europe following a UK or RoI curriculum and using English as the language of tuition.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. If you are new to the OU, you will find that your tutor is particularly concerned to help you with your study methods. We will also be able to offer group tutorials or day schools that you are encouraged, but not obliged, to attend. Where tutorials are held will depend on the distribution of students taking the module.

From the beginning of the module you will be able to gain support from your peers through moderated online discussion forums. In addition you can benefit from updates about changes to relevant policy via your qualifications website.

Contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.


The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You must submit two of your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) on paper. You can choose whether to submit the other TMAs on paper or online through the eTMA system. You may want to use the eTMA system for some of your assignments but submit on paper for others. This is entirely your choice. The end-of-module assessment (EMA) must be submitted online.

The end-of-module assessment (EMA) is a project and takes the place of an examination.

Future availability

The details given here are for the module that starts in October 2014. We expect it to be available once a year.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.

Course work includes:

7 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school


This is an OU level 1 module. OU level 1 modules provide core subject knowledge and study skills needed for both higher education and distance learning, to help you progress to modules at OU level 2.

This module is not available for standalone study. To study this module you should:

  • either have declared the Foundation Degree in Early Years (G01), Diploma of Higher Education in Childhood Practice (E37) or BA Early Years (B51) as your qualification intention or be registered for the Foundation Degree in Early Years (X01), Diploma of Higher Education in Childhood Practice (W01) or BA/BA (Hons) Early Years (Q51) 
  • have already completed or be studying The early years: developing practice (E100) or the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) version The early years: developing practice (APEL route) (EZL100) (or E123 and E124 or the APEL versions of these discontinued modules) or an award of transferred credit from non-OU study.

In order to successfully complete this module you must:

  • be an experienced early years practitioner with at least 18 months full time or over two years part-time experience working directly with young children (aged between birth and seven years) in a registered early years setting (i.e. in England the Early Years Foundation Stage/Key Stage 1) before starting the module
  • have knowledge of early years practice gained through the study of The early years: developing practice (E100) (or its APEL route EZL100) or an award of transferred credit from non-OU study
  • have permission to carry out study activities in your work setting (you must submit a Permission Agreement Form that has been signed by your employer with your registration application)
  • have access to groups of at least three or four children for some of the activities
  • have a suitable named person within the work setting where you have permission to study who will confirm in writing that the work you submit is based on your practice within that setting (you must submit an Agreement with Confirmer form and Confirmer Declaration form as part of the module assessments, signed by an appropriate person).

If you are a Nanny/Foster Carer working with a child (birth to six years), you must be able to undertake 3–5 hours paid or voluntary work each week in a registered early years setting where you have access to groups of children and support from experienced professional colleagues. The home of a parent/foster carer or nanny is not – on its own – an acceptable setting.

To work in an early years setting you will need to meet the ‘fit person’ criteria for doing so, including obtaining the necessary criminal record clearance required for the setting and country in which you are working. It is the responsibility of you and your employer to ensure you meet these requirements, and not the OU. You should contact the relevant agency in your country for more information if you are in doubt about your eligibility, or to find out more. 

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.

Preparatory work

You will need to present your Permission Agreement Form with your registration application. This form gives further information about the module pre-requisites, and advice about appropriate people to sign the agreement forms.

Before you start the module, you may find it helpful to gather together any evidence of your professional development and how you support children’s development. This could include your reflective diary, planning notes or observations of children undertaken for assignments from The early years: developing practice (E100), or other study or training. In addition, it would be helpful to ensure that you are confident using the internet and basic office applications such as a word processor.


Start End England fee Register
03 Oct 2015 Jun 2016 Not yet available

Registration opens on 12/03/15

This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.

To register for this module, please refer to the entry requirements and contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service (online registration is not available).

Ways to pay for this module

Open University Student Budget Account

The Open University Student Budget Accounts Ltd (OUSBA) offers a convenient 'pay as you go' option to pay your OU fees, which is a secure, quick and easy way to pay. Please note that The Open University works exclusively with OUSBA and is not able to offer you credit facilities from any other provider. All credit is subject to status and proof that you can afford the repayments.

You pay the OU through OUSBA in one of the following ways:

  • Register now, pay later – OUSBA pays your module fee direct to the OU. You then repay OUSBA interest-free and in full just before your module starts. 0% APR representative. This option could give you the extra time you may need to secure the funding to repay OUSBA.
  • Pay by instalments – OUSBA calculates your annual fees and spreads them out over up to a year, enabling you to pay your fees monthly and walk away with a qualification without any further debt. APR 5.1% representative.

Read more about Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).  

Employer sponsorship

Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU qualifications are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to achieve one. They also value the skills that students learn and can apply in the workplace.

More than one in 10 OU students are sponsored by their employer, and over 30,000 employers have used the OU to develop staff so far. If the qualification you’ve chosen is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could approach your employer to see if they will sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. 

  • Your employer just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.
  • You won’t need to get your employer to complete the form until after you’ve chosen your modules.  

Credit/debit card

You can pay part or all of your tuition fees upfront with a debit or credit card when you register for each module. 

We accept American Express, Maestro (UK only), Mastercard, Visa/Delta and Visa Electron. 

Gift vouchers

You can pay for part or all of your tuition fees with OU gift vouchers. Vouchers are currently available in the following denominations, £10, £20, £50 and £100. 

Mixed payments

We know that sometimes you may want to combine payment options. You may, for example wish to pay part of your tuition fee with a debit card and pay the remainder in instalments through an Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).

For more information about combining payment options, speak to an adviser or request a call back.

Note: Your permanent address/domicile will affect your fee status and therefore the fees you are charged and any financial support available to you. The fees and funding information provided here is based upon current details for  year 1 August 2014 to 31 July 2015.
This information was provided on 25/10/2014.

What's included

Two volumes of print materials, other printed materials and a DVD. There will also be a website and online forums.

You will need

Audio CD and video DVD playback facilities.

This module makes extensive use of The early years: developing practice (E100) materials. We will provide ebook versions of the E100 study topics but you will have to purchase or borrow the module readers if you do not already have them from your study of E100.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this module as it includes online activities, which you can access using a web browser.

  • If you have purchased a new desktop or laptop computer since 2008 you should have no problems completing the online activities.
  • If you’ve got a netbook, tablet or other mobile device check our Technical requirements section.
  • If you use an Apple Mac you will need OS X 10.7 or later.

You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information (including details of the support we provide).

Materials to buy

Set books

  • Cable, C, Miller, L & Goodliff, G (eds) Working with Children in the Early Years (2nd edn) David Fulton Publishers £21.99 - ISBN 9780415496995
  • Miller, L, Cable, C & Goodliff G (eds) Supporting Children's Learning in the Early Years (2nd edn) David Fulton Publishers £21.99 - ISBN 9780415496971

Note: students who have done E100 will already have these books.

If you have a disability

Written transcripts of any audio components and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of printed material are available. Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader and scientific, foreign language or graphic materials may be particularly difficult to read in this way. Other alternative formats of the study materials may be available in the future.

The module includes use of a website, ebooks, DVD and online forums; if you use specialist hardware or software to assist you in operating a computer or the internet and have concerns about accessing these types of materials you are advised to talk to the Student Registration & Enquiry Service about support which can be given to meet your needs.

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Find out more about our services for disabled students.