BA (Hons) Early Childhood Education

Key information

Why choose this course?

  • Ranked 11th for Education in the 2022 Guardian University Guide
  • Improve your employability through work-based learning
  • 90% overall satisfaction score for student voice in the 2022 National Student Survey (NSS)

If you want to truly make a difference to young children, future generations and transform communities in a very rewarding field then BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Education is a course you would want to pursue. The course enables you to be hands on in creative ways thereby allowing you to take part in shaping the Early Childhood Education curriculum. If you are searching for a career that is in high demand, with opportunities now and in the future, then this is a viable course for you. This course will help you become a confident, independent, critical thinker, a skilled learner, a pedagogical leader and a self-aware professional.

Gain practical experience 

Each year of the study programme (year 1, 2 and 3) is characterised by placement and all modules are designed to help you develop professional skills through placement-related tasks and assessments which will broaden your employability opportunities. The exciting thing about this programme is that you can undertake placement in a wide range of contexts, such as, day nurseries, pre-schools, special schools, children’s centres or family support organisations. Above all, you have the option to attain the Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner Competences in addition to gaining your BA (Hons) award.   

Pick the path that’s right for you 

The BA (Hons) Early Childhood Education programme is offered in full-time (3years) and part-time (6 years) routes. Entry is normally at level 4, but it is possible at level 6 with suitable qualifications (e.g., a relevant foundation degree). What this means is that the degree is suitable for prospective students who have just completed their Level 3 studies and early childhood practitioners who want to increase their qualifications. If you’re passionate about improving early childhood education, then we’ve got this flexible programme of study that’s right for you. New intake normally takes place in September.

The programme offers you an opportunity to apply knowledge in practice through placement in all three years. It offers you an opportunity to understand and critically evaluate a range of theoretical and practice-based knowledge and skills that are both specific to the early childhood sector and relevant in many other professions. This will support you in your future career and enable you to stand out from other candidates when seeking employment.

In addition, the programme allows you to acquire the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Education with Study Abroad in your second year. Great news! Funding is available if you choose to Study Abroad in your second year, from The Turing Scheme which is the UK government’s scheme to provide funding for international opportunities in education and training across the world. It supports Global Britain by providing an opportunity for UK organisations from higher education, further education, vocational education and training and schools sectors to offer their students, learners and pupils life-changing experiences to study or work abroad. Do not miss out on such an exciting opportunity!

Learn from experts 

You’ll learn from experienced and well qualified lecturers who have worked in various early childhood settings for many years. For instance, our lecturing staff come from a variety of professions, including primary teaching, children centre management, health visiting and nursing.  With so much experience to learn from, you’ll gain a unique and valuable insight into your chosen career. Our expert teaching team are committed to delivering an innovative education experience and in the 2022 National Student Survey (NSS) 94% of students agreed that staff value their views and opinions about the course.

What's the course about?

In your first year, You will begin to understand how your own educational experiences influence your growing knowledge of early childhood practice and engage with critical theorists and expert practitioners in the fields of education, care and family support. We’ll equip you with knowledge and skills of promoting children’s well-being in the 21st Century and working with young children for them to explore their identity, values and voice. You will be equipped with knowledge and skills on how to support children’s play, learning and development. The first year will also enable you to explore the child’s world through engagement with family, culture and community. You will visit early childhood settings for placement to observe the curriculum in practice for 25 days.

In your second year, you will build a robust, critical understanding of knowledge and skills required to support children’s learning and development in a range of practice settings. We will teach you how to develop identity, values and voice in practice and various ways to empower children from the early years. This is the time when you could study abroad and gain an international perspective about working with young children. The second year of your study is also essential in that it will enable you to celebrate differences in children regarding inclusion and diversity in Early Childhood Practice. We will teach you how to enable children’s play and explore approaches to the curriculum during placement. You’ll design stimulating learning environments and observe children as they play and learn. What do you notice? You will gain the skills and knowledge to design effective interventions. We will teach you how chronic illness, special educational needs and disability can affect how a child develops. You will question your assumptions and theories. You will see every challenge as a chance to think creatively. By the end of this year, you will feel confident in the area you want to specialise in. You will visit early childhood settings for placement to observe the curriculum in practice for 25 days.

In your third year, your own practice is enhanced and consolidated through an increasing focus on areas of personal interest, aiming to achieve the best possible outcomes for both children and their families. You will investigate a range of concepts central to early childhood as an advocate for children. These could include children’s rights or cultural, political and economic factors. We will teach you how to develop effective partnerships with child development professionals, parents, families, and communities. You will learn how to work with parents from all cultures and backgrounds, so everyone is included in the child’s development. You will develop an Early Childhood Specialisation at this stage of the programme. To enhance the curriculum, you will design fun activities to stimulate children’s learning and development. You will delve into an independent research project to improve your practice. By the end of this year, you will have everything you need to support a child’s development. You will visit early childhood settings for placement to observe the curriculum in practice for 30 days.

Your main campus is de Havilland

You’ll share this campus with students from business, law, sport, education, and humanities subjects. The student housing is close to our Sports Village which includes a gym, swimming pool and climbing wall. You can get breakfast, lunch, or dinner in our on-campus restaurant or bar (in the newly built Enterprise Hub) on days you don’t feel like cooking. You can also use the common room to play pool, video games or just to hang out with friends. Our Learning Resources Centres are open 24/7, which means you can study whenever suits you best. Want to pop over to the other campus? You can take the free shuttle bus or walk there in just 15 minutes.   

What will I study?

Degree programmes are structured into levels, 4, 5 and 6.  These correspond to your first, second and third/final year of study.  Below you can see what modules you’ll be studying in each.  

Student Blogs

Katie - Week at a glance

My week at a glance

My week as a third-year student always started with ensuring that I had prepped for the week ahead for example sorting travel to and from university as a disabled student this had to be done in advance as much as possible so that I could get the right assistance and deal with any issues that a rose on the day.  I would recommend you check your timetable every day for any room changes. Once I had established the days when I was in university, I had a routine and it was easier to manage my anxiety.

Lectures are more intense as there is a lot of information to take in either one or two hours so make sure you have different notebooks for each module this will help you keep organised and have everything in one place and when you come to writing your assignment, this will be a god send trust me!! Also, listen to the tutors, they are there to help you. As a disabled student I had a study needs agreement which meant that I was able to have lecture slides a few days before the lecture so that I could read and make notes; I had scribe to help me. During my time at university, I couldn’t lip read and make notes at the same time, so this was essential to my journey at university as this made access a little easier.

Once I had logged on to Studynet and got the information, I needed for the week I printed everything I needed and put them in the folder for the specific module with notebook. I would always have sub sections in my folder like ‘My Notes’ with dates and headings so I could refer to them and I had a copy of the module guide to refer back to so that I can link my notes to sections in my folder.

Seminars follow on from lectures, but they are in smaller groups so you’re able to work with fellow classmates and discuss the topic in more detail with the tutor. I would make sure you have your notebook ready as the seminars you will attend have more information to help with your assignments. This is the time to ask questions about the module or topic that is being discussed that week.

After the seminar I would have an hour break to have food etc this is where I would recommend you switch off either listen to music or just chat with your friends before the next seminar otherwise you will struggle in the last seminar of the day. Drink something with sugar or eat chocolate to help you will the last bit of energy. I also used any spare time I had whilst in university to see the student engagement team in the School of Education to help with my academic writing. This service is brilliant, and they are lovely team!

On Fridays I tend to be more tired so just take your time and make sure you have prepped, and this will help with any work given to do at home. Time keeping is essential because I needed at least the evenings off during the week when I was at university. The days when I was at home not going to university I would do extra readings from the reading list then the other days I had days off I did my work as a governor at a special needs school and then spent time with family and friends.

Student Blogs

Katie - Why I love education

What I love most about my course

I loved my course because we learnt Psychology, History of Education, Contemporary Ideas and Philosophy-what is education. In my First Year, to give you a different view what education is about and then you were able to decide if you wanted to general overview of education or be more specific and I chose special education needs as I wanted to understand in more detail about special education needs what it meant in a different context.

In my Second Year, I learnt more about special education needs and what is inclusion  I was able to explain what cerebral palsy is to my fellow classmates and we had real-life experiences from other people who had different disabilities talk to us which gave me the opportunity to see it through their eyes and I became to see things differently not everything is as straight forwarded as I first thought.

We were given the chance to have work experience within our modules and I really enjoyed this part of the course as I was able to go back to my old school and do my work experience there as I was able to go to two schools: Lonsdale and Nobel and it were nice to see how much they have changed for the better and I was able to improve their access as they asked my opinion and they have used some of my suggestions that I put forward.

Working with my teacher again was one of the highlights as he said I’m still the same person; passionate about people seeing passed the wheelchair and I have had other students with disabilities come up to me asking who I am and they want to be as confident as I am! This gave me a different idea of what I wanted to do within education, which I will discuss further on.

With the new knowledge that I had gained helped me with my work as a governor as I was able to articulate my views very well and some of my ideas that I have suggested have been used at the school. We were also the opportunity to learn about research and all the terminology, so we had the skills ready for our final year.

Final Year

They say Final Year is the hardest and I totally agree it is but that is the challenge as learning is not always meant to be easy. We only had one lecture a week for the research project in semester A, the rest were seminars to do with Research and Special Educational needs.  Research Project was split into two sections: a proposal of our research project and presenting it as a presentation. This gave the tutors insight about how we thought through our question as it had to be a small example due to the time restrictions so that we focused on the question we wanted to answer.

I was grateful for this as I was able to use the proposed plan as my main structure for the writing part in part two which saved me so much time and effort. I would suggest that you use part one of the research as your layout in part two.

On a personal level, my time at Herts has been amazing even with the challenges that I had to face within the university and school of education are an amazing team to be a part of as they supported me to voice my ideas and express them to the relevant people.

As said previously I was passionate about people seeing passed the wheelchair and because of my personal challenges at university. I then realised I wanted to start my own business as a disability awareness coordinator as I feel that I can educate people on how to how to communicate with people with different disabilities. I have my Canine Partner still waiting for my partnership and I will have him work alongside me in this new journey. So, I have new experiences happening in my life after university which is exciting.

Student Blogs

Katie - Why I chose herts

Why I chose Herts

I chose Herts because I could commute from home and because of my care needs had to be taken into consideration.  Also, Herts they offered the course I wanted to do which was Education Needs with Special Education Needs.  I wanted to learn more about special education needs in a broader content because I know about cerebral palsy as I live with it myself.

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Student Blogs

Annabelle - Unibuddy

Alumni headshot

Alumni Stories

Jake Garwood

Meet Jake Garwood who discovered his passion for teaching and education while studying. He currently works as a Year 4 teacher in a junior school near the University.

Read more stories Find out more about this course
Current job roleYear 4 teacher
Year of graduation2016 / 2017
Course of studyBA (Hons) Education
PGCE in Primary Education

Sparking a passion

Jake decided to go to the University of Hertfordshire based on our 'excellent reputation for teaching training.' His time as a student did not disappoint as his course sparked his passion for education and he says the 'engaging modules at the University and inspiring tutors played a key part in making me the teacher I am today.'

The variety of modules on both of my degrees, from contemporary issues in education to educational technology, from philosophy of education to equality and inclusion, put me in the best possible position to begin my teaching career.'

Aspirations for the future

Jake finds teaching an extremely rewarding career, therefore he does not intend to leave the profession. He says, 'I think it is one of the most rewarding profession available and if you care about the future, then teaching the next generation is one of the best things you can do.'

However, he adds that his ultimate goal is to work towards a Masters in Education, followed by a PhD in the same field. He'd like to keep his options open as to future career paths.'