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Diploma of Higher Education in Early Childhood - Learning outcomes

Educational aims

This programme takes a holistic approach to understanding early childhood from multi-disciplinary perspectives and highlights the central importance of the child’s voice and the participatory nature of young children’s experiences in a range of contexts. The aim of the qualification is to enable students to develop as creative, imaginative and reflective learners as a foundation for employment, professional and further academic study in the field of early childhood.

The aims of this qualification are:

  • to develop and enhance theoretical understanding of young children's learning and development
  • to develop critical thinking and reflection on the philosophies, beliefs, practice and provision for children and families including global perspectives
  • to prepare students to become skilled, flexible and reflective graduates able to transfer skills to a range of professional contexts.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

On completion of this diploma, you will gain the knowledge and understanding of:

  • how children grow, develop and learn throughout childhood with a particular focus on birth to 8 years
  • the principles, theories and multiple perspectives on early childhood
  • the diverse social, cultural and historical constructions of the child and childhood and the significance of family, community and ecological contexts
  • children’s rights and the impact of inequalities on children, families and their communities across the world
  • the process of inclusion and the development of inclusive practice to promote equality and participation
  • safeguarding principles and legal frameworks and the importance of multi-agency working
  • the importance of children’s voices and their perspectives
  • early childhood research paradigms and the range of research methodologies used in early childhood and how research can inform practice and have a systematic and critical understanding of the key ideas, theoretical debates, issues and policies relating to informal education work with young people.

Cognitive skills

On completion of the diploma you will be able to:

  • analyse and discuss competing concepts, theories, research and practice critically and systematically
  • identify and reflect on their own and others’ values and positions and consider the implications for practice
  • reflect upon the role of the researcher and the ethical considerations for the study of children and their families
  • take different perspectives on issues and problems in order to present, develop and summarise arguments and arrive at supported conclusions.

Practical and/or professional skills

On completion of the diploma you will be able to:

  • demonstrate the ability to constructively critique theories and research in the area of early childhood
  • demonstrate the knowledge and awareness of the skills needed for different pedagogical approaches, including the formation and promotion of mutually respectful relationships with children, families, colleagues and other professionals
  • use the communication skills and tools necessary to converse, debate, negotiate, persuade and challenge the ideas of others
  • develop sensitivity and awareness of different contextual and inter-personal factors that shape behaviour and social interaction
  • recognise the importance of contributing, collaborating and taking leadership responsibility within a team.

Key skills

On completion of the diploma you will be able to:

  • organise and synthesise arguments associated with early childhood
  • communicate and write accurately and clearly in different genre that take account of purpose and content
  • read independently and purposefully, identifying and recording what is relevant from a range of resource material and different media
  • understand and engage in digital practices and share digital content in collaborative activities. communicate complex information, arguments and ideas effectively and appropriately, using diverse media and to diverse audiences.

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

Knowledge and understanding of children from birth to eight and other age groups as part of contextualising your studies, developing interdisciplinary research, knowledge and policy base underpinning multi-agency working are developed through the main teaching materials and in-text questions, tasks and activities. The main teaching material is offered through supported open learning modules and includes module texts, audio-visual material, and directed reading. Summative assessment is by written tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) and by end-of-module assignments/examinations where appropriate. Tutors support your development through online and telephone support, email, tutorials (including face to face tutorials in some modules), and written feedback on assignments.

Cognitive skills are assessed by module assignments. These will allow you to demonstrate your ability to structure a clear and reasoned argument, and critically analyse module issues. They will also give you the opportunity to demonstrate independent thinking skills; to demonstrate your understanding of theoretical concepts and the underpinning principles for practice as it applies to children, childhood and families in different contexts; and to show evidence of reflection and to use appropriate methods of enquiry.

Key skills are promoted within learning materials and as part of continuous assessment.

Assessment criteria of TMAs require you to demonstrate your ability to communicate effectively and appropriately in a variety of formats. Learning skills focusing on planning, self-assessment, identifying strengths and weaknesses, setting priorities and targets, and reviewing and reflecting are also addressed. Team work will be fostered through case studies, practice-focused activities, and by encouraging students to work together electronically. Opportunities to develop personal ICT skills will be a component of all modules within the diploma.

Professional skills are developed as part of:

  • an increased awareness and understanding of good practice
  • understanding the importance of information-sharing and developing critical analytical practice in relation to listening to children, promoting children’s well-being, and multi-agency working
  • supporting children’s learning and development by means of teaching materials and practice-focused reflection.