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Psychology of childhood and youth

This module explores key themes in the development of children through the early years, middle childhood and into adolescence, covering attachment, identity, emotions, representation and communication. The module integrates a range of approaches from developmental psychology and childhood studies, and makes extensive use of audio and video material, including a number of specially made documentary films. The module will be of interest to students of psychology, early years, and childhood and youth, and any student interested in theories and contemporary research in developmental psychology, including the influences of family and culture.

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
2 9 5

Study method

Module cost

Entry requirements

Student Reviews

I very much enjoyed the course content and recommend this module. I had not done any psychology modules previously but...
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This module delivers general assessment guidance (for example, how to structure an essay, source evidence, read critically) as well as...
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My favourite module so far. I had a really supportive tutor and the materials were very interesting. There are only...
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What you will study

The module combines material on developmental psychology integrated with childhood and youth studies, making it attractive across a number of discipline areas.

The module covers aspects of developmental psychology that are not available in the core psychology qualification. It will appeal to a large proportion of students in that programme, and in the Childhood and Youth Studies programme, who have an interest in human development and the lived experiences of children and young people, and the effects of adversity and differing life situations on life outcomes. The module will also be attractive to students following the work-related Early Years programme.

The module contents have been planned to give clear progression from Encountering psychology in context (D120) in the Psychology programme, or from Introduction to childhood studies and child psychology (E104) in the Childhood and Youth Studies programme and Stage 1 study in Early Years. It will provide content and skills development in preparation for further study at OU level 3 in all three programmes.

A strength of the module is a rich set of audio-visual assets, most of them specially commissioned and including unique documentary materials. Each study week will start with an introductory audio by an eminent researcher or practitioner, introducing the week’s study theme. AV assets will include materials drawn from BBC archives and from the OU/BBC series Child of our Time.

It is planned for 85% of study hours to be devoted to online and multimedia material (with the remainder for student reflection and note taking offline.)

Although there is a printed reader that accompanies the course, the module is designed for fully online study, and students will need to have ready access to a computer and to develop competence in ICT. Students will be encouraged to carry out a skills audit in the first week of the module. Those who lack knowledge of, or confidence in, ICT will be supported in acquiring the necessary skills. Students will be required to make use of module and qualification websites, which will provide a repository for teaching and learning. Online forums will also be available, to engage students, facilitate contact with peers, share ideas and enable group discussion.

Students will begin each week by accessing an online study guide, located in the relevant week of the study planner, and listening to an introductory audio for each key theme. Students will then be directed to the corresponding chapter, which will contain the core teaching text, and can be found online as well as in the module textbook. While reading the chapter, students will use the study guide to direct them through the various elements of the module, such as methods and skills work, the audio-visual material, the assessment materials and supplementary readings. All of these will be delivered via the website.

Vocational relevance

This module will be relevant for anyone working with children and young people. The assessment through tutor-marked assignments and the end of module assessment requires the application of knowledge to practical issues in the lives of children and young people.

Outside the UK

There are no restrictions to studying this module outside of the UK.

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 who you can ask for advice and guidance.

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.

The module will be assessed by 3 double-weighted tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) of up to 3,000 words each and a 3,000 word end-of-module assessment (EMA).

The assessments begin with ‘stimulus’ material, often based on research published in peer-reviewed journals. This approach allows you to see how the module material relates to novel contexts and to current issues, such as refugee children, gang membership or screen-time for young people. By showing us you can be flexible with the concepts you have learned, we can assess what you know.

The EMA will take the form of a mini-dissertation, including an element of literature review (requiring bibliographic search) on a chosen topic area.

There will also be a ‘quiz’ in each study week, provided as an online formative interactive computer-marked assessment.

Future availability

Psychology of childhood and youth (E219) starts once a year – in October.

This page describes the module that will start in October 2024 when we expect it to start for the last time. A replacement module is planned for October 2025.


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:

3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment

Entry requirements

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

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


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

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

October 2024 is the final start date for this course. For more information, see Future availability.

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 13/07/2024.

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 not more 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

This module will be delivered online and supplemented with a printed textbook. The materials for the module will combine an ebook with a range of online material, and many of these materials are available in a range of different formats for different electronic reading devices.

The textbook chapters will comprise the core materials across the three key parts of the module (pre-school/early years, the middle years and adolescence). Each part will be divided into five of the chapters.

The other materials, all delivered online, include a study guide for each study week which includes methods and skills, an assessment guide and a glossary, and a wide range of audio-visual materials.

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 E219 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.