Education: Early Childhood MA modules

On this page, you can find out about the modules on our Education: Early Childhood MA.

A teacher and child draw

There are four core modules in the course that aim to give a comprehensive knowledge of the subject area.

Core modules

Critical Issues in Education and Educational Research

This module introduces students to key issues in education and educational research that will underpin their studies, regardless of which pathway they take through the full-time masters programme. It outlines historical approaches to educational research and introduces the key paradigms of educational research.

The module moves on to consider critical issues in education and educational research, drawing on the research strengths of the module team and focusing in particular on educational psychology and globalisation, enabling the module to provide a foundation for other modules on the programme. The module thus offers students an opportunity to develop a critical stance towards some of the most pressing issues in educational research in contemporary societies.

Development, Learning and Curriculum

This module introduces learners to recent ideas related to development, learning and curriculum in Early Childhood Education.

Sessions to be taught include the following: key figures in the history of ECE; birth to five child development and learning; tracing UK policies on curriculum and learning; alternative perspectives on curriculum and learning: Reggio, Forest Schools, international schools; play and learning; learning to communicate: literacy and multimodal practices; early intervention studies: REAL, inclusion, equality and diversity. This will be followed by student-led presentations on topics related to the above. It is intended that this will prepare them for their assessment.

Early Childhood 2: Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood Education

This module introduces learners to recent ideas related to contemporary issues in Early Childhood Education.

Sessions to be taught include the following: children's rights; quality in Early Childhood Education and care; creativity in arts and contemporary communication practices; popular culture; digital literacies; gender; traditional and digital play; including children in research.

The Practice of Research

This module introduces students to the processes involved in designing a research project, conducting the study and completing the research report.

The module focuses on research design, on identifying issues, formulating research questions and choosing appropriate methods to use in particular instances and settings. It explores various approaches to data analysis and outlines issues to be considered in the writing-up process. It aims to provide students with the skills and knowledge required to complete a dissertation in an education-related field.


In addition to the taught module sessions, the course provides a comprehensive Support Programme with weekly taught support sessions. These sessions are informed by an inquiry-based learning approach and cover issues relating to a research study at Master's level, eg academic reading and writing, students as developing researchers, study skills and critical thinking.

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it is up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research, funding changes, professional accreditation requirements, student or employer feedback, outcomes of reviews, and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

Information last updated: 3 August 2020


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