This postgraduate qualification is designed for those who want to develop their understanding and knowledge of early years education and care. It provides ideal training and staff development pertinent to those working with young children and their families in a range of settings and situations.
The degree is delivered so that students can integrate work commitments and study. The course combines face-to-face delivery at the University with independent study by the student from home. Lectures/ workshops are delivered as twilight/ evening sessions or on the weekend.
The course also uses blended learning where students use online resources provided by the tutors to complement and extend classroom learning.
The MA Early Years Education and Care programme takes a critical and analytic overview of children’s early learning and care and sets this in the context of social learning and societal influences. Students will be encouraged to take a critical approach to research, theories and beliefs about children’s learning. The crucial role of adults in that learning process, as policy makers and pedagogues, will be deconstructed and debated. The course focuses on the remarkable skills of young children as powerful and competent learners; studying what they learn, how they learn, why they learn.
The programme has themes and principles which run throughout and which are linked to the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child:
-The well-being of the child
-The role of the reflective and self-critical adult in children’s early learning and well-being
-The core values that underpin all adult relationships with children: inclusion, anti-oppressive practice, respect for the child
These are threads that run through the programme, allowing students to appreciate the critical relationship between the integrative approach to children’s learning and good practice in early years settings.
During the first part of the MA programme students will study compulsory modules linked to:
-Research for and with young children
-Well-being in the early years
-Young childrens' learning
-The professional practitioner
The second part of the MA consists of undertaking a dissertation on a topic of your own interest. You will be supported during the research process with individual supervision from an experienced member of academic staff.
This is an ideal qualification for teachers, LSAs, nursery personnel, child-minders, lecturers and course providers, Flying Start personnel and anyone interested in working with young children and their families.
The course has been designed by the School of Early Years to support professionals deliver high quality early childhood provision and deliver effective child care and education policy and initiatives However the multidisciplinary and cross-curricular nature of the course, as well as the strong emphasis on reflection, evaluation, analysis and research provide students with important transferable skills. The degree’s focus on undertaking research, academic writing skills and oral presentation skills also allow students to develop skills which are sought by employers and are transferable to several different career situations.
The course is delivered by tutors who have extensive experience of working with young children in a range of early years settings and who also have delivered postgraduate training and qualifications successfully for several years.
The assignments are varied and designed to assess a range of different skills including critical reflection, evaluation and analysis. Assessments are designed to develop students’ practical and independent research skills where students feel confident to link issues relevant to young children’s learning within a theoretical academic context.
Assessment includes both written tasks as well as opportunities to develop oral skills during seminar presentations.
Those who wish to gain the MA will complete a research dissertation during the second part of their studies which provides an opportunity to undertake a significant piece of research in an area related to early literacy. Students will be supported during the process with individual supervision from an experienced member of the academic staff.
Graduates of the MA have gone on to further their careers as:
-Advisory teachers in the Foundation Phase
-CSSIW senior managers
-Integrated centre managers
-Further Education lecturers
Several of the current School of Early Childhood personnel have graduated with the MA Early Childhood.
The early years focus of this course allows students to demonstrate to employers an expertise in an area currently the focus of government education initiatives. Developing an expertise within early years can support students to take advantage of promotion opportunities or new responsibilities within their current employment.
The degree also focuses on developing students’ research skills, written and oral communication skills as well providing students with excellent time management and organisation skills. These are all skills which are highly sought after by a variety of diverse employers, and thus skills gained during the degree are transferable to different career pathways.
The School of Early Years works closely with employers and has developed an employer forum with local employers. The forum meets regularly and helps the lecturing team ensure that the content of the degree supports the types of skills and experiences required of graduates when applying for work.