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Exploring perspectives on young children's lives and learning

This module is appropriate for anyone with an interest in the lives and learning of young children including current early childhood practitioners who want to develop their knowledge and understanding in preparation for professional roles linked to careers in education, health and social care.

You'll begin by exploring: how children learn; the importance of play; children’s rights; and their physical and emotional well-being. You then move on to consider how children’s learning experiences can be supported by provision such as pre-schools, nurseries or child-minders.

This is a key introductory module that will help you acquire key skills to support your further study in the field of early childhood.

Modules count towards OU qualifications

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

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Module code




  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.

Study level

Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU module levels correspond to these frameworks.
Level of Study
1 7 4

Study method

Module cost

Entry requirements

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What you will study

This module is appropriate for anyone with an interest in the lives and learning of young children including current early childhood practitioners who want to develop their knowledge and understanding for professional roles linked to careers in education, health and social care.

The aim of this module is to help you develop an understanding of early childhood from a range of perspectives. The module is divided into three blocks of study:

Block 1: Starting with the child

In this block you develop your knowledge and understanding of children’s learning, development, emotional well-being, play and fundamental rights. 

Block 2: Responding to the child

In this block you consider how we as adults can build learning relationships with children. How can we ensure they are listened to and involved? How can we observe, guide and plan to ensure that learning is a rich and meaningful experience for them? How can we create environments that encourage exploration and discovery and which can include all children? 

Block 3: Making provision for early childhood

In this block you explore how policy and practice can have an impact on children’s experiences. You will think about how children’s learning experiences are supported by provision such as pre-schools, nurseries and child-minders as well as local and national policies. 

This module aims to provide you with insights into many aspects of children’s learning experiences and how adults can support these. The module draws on examples and studies both from within and outside the UK, for example from Australia, Italy and Scandinavia. By using such a wide range of resources the intention is to broaden your perspective and extend your thinking beyond situations that may be more familiar. 

During this module you will compare and contrast practice that you observe in early childhood settings with the ideas about working with children that you study. You will be encouraged to reflect on the practice and experiences that you see and how these might be adapted or changed. You will explore these different areas through studying the module materials, which include printed books, audio and video recordings and on-line activities.

Vocational relevance

The aim of the module is to enable students to develop as creative, imaginative and reflective learners as a foundation for employment and further academic study in the field of early childhood. In this qualification the key aim linked to employability and career progression is to prepare students to become skilled, flexible and reflective practitioners able to transfer skills to a range of professional contexts. Modules in this qualification will include specific learning outcomes to support the development of professional employability skills linked to careers in education, health and social care, and will include Personal Development Planning (PDP).

If you are a practitioner the learning journal that you compile during the module may contribute to a portfolio of evidence of learning together with: the module activities you complete; observations of practice; and your reflections on your role and provision.

This module is compulsory for students studying towards a Certificate of Higher Education or a BA (Honours) Early Childhood. These qualifications provide a foundation for entry to a range of careers working with and for young children and their families. They are also suitable for those wanting to move into careers in teaching, health or social work.

Please note that in Scotland this course does not lead to Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) registration in daycare of children’s services.

Outside the UK

The study of the module is not limited to the UK. Students anywhere within Continental Western Europe can study this module.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the module material and who will provide you with advice and guidance. Your tutor will also mark and comment on your assignments. If you are new to the OU, your tutor can provide additional support with your study skills.

This module includes learning events which are offered through online tutorials. Although not compulsory, attendance at tutorials is recommended; this will help you consolidate your learning. Some learning events will also be recorded and can be accessed online at your convenience.

Contact us 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.

Future availability

Exploring perspectives on young children’s lives and learning (E109) starts once a year – in October.

This page describes the module that will start in October 2024.

We expect it to start for the last time in October 2032.


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

Course work includes:

4 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
No examination

Entry requirements

There are no formal academic or experiential requirements to study this module.

However, it’s essential you have an interest in young children’s lives and learning. It would also be beneficial for you to arrange access to an early childhood setting1 if you’re not already working or volunteering in such a setting. We recommend you visit a setting1 weekly/fortnightly.

If you’re not sure you’re ready, talk to an adviser.

1Access to settings will require you to meet the ‘fit person’ criteria, in your country, to work with children. You and your setting are responsible for ensuring you meet these requirements, not the OU.


Start End England fee Register
05 Oct 2024 Jun 2025 £3636.00

Registration closes 05/09/24 (places subject to availability)

This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2032.

Additional Costs

Study costs

There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as set books, a computer and internet access.

If your income is not more than £25,000 or you receive a qualifying benefit, you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after your module has started.

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 monthly fee and number of instalments based on the cost of the module you are studying. APR 5.1% representative.

Joint loan applications

If you feel you would be unable to obtain an OUSBA loan on your own due to credit history or affordability issues, OUSBA offers the option to apply for a joint loan application with a third party. For example, your husband, wife, partner, parent, sibling or friend. In such cases, OUSBA will be required to carry out additional affordability checks separately and/or collectively for both joint applicants who will be jointly and severally liable for loan repayments.

As additional affordability checks are required when processing joint loan applications, unfortunately, an instant decision cannot be given. On average the processing time for a joint loan application is five working days from receipt of the required documentation.

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

Employer sponsorship

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

More than one in ten OU students are sponsored by their employer, and over 30,000 employers have used the OU to develop staff so far. If the module 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 module.  

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, Mastercard, Visa and Visa Electron. 

Mixed payments

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

Please 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 fee information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2025. Fees typically increase annually. For further information about the University's fee policy, visit our Fee Rules

This information was provided on 13/06/2024.

Can you study an Access module for free?

Depending on eligibility and availability of places, you could apply to study your Access module for free.

To qualify, you must:

  1. be resident in England
  2. have a household income of less than £25,000 (or be in receipt of a qualifying benefit)
  3. have not completed one year or more on any full-time undergraduate programme at FHEQ level 4 or above or successfully completed 30 credits or more of OU study within the last 10 years

How to apply to study an Access module for free

Once you've started the registration process, either online or over the phone, we'll contact you about your payment options. This will include instructions on how you can apply to study for free if you are eligible and funded places are still available.

If you're unsure if you meet the criteria to study for free, you can check with one of our friendly advisers on +44 (0)300 303 0069, or you can request a call back.

Not eligible to study for free?

Don't worry! We offer a choice of flexible ways to help spread the cost of your Access module. The most popular options include:

  • monthly payments through OUSBA
  • part-time tuition fee loan (you'll need to be registered on a qualification for this option)

To explore all the options available to you, visit Fees and Funding.

What's included

The module is organised into three study blocks and you will receive a printed book for each block. You will also have access to the module website which includes: online activities to support your studies; film and audio material; details of the assignments; and links to online forums for you to interact with fellow students and your tutor.

Computing requirements

You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11) or macOS Ventura or higher.

Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.

To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.

It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop, as described above.

If you have a disability

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying E109 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

To find out more about what kind of support and adjustments might be available, contact us or visit our disability support pages.