Early Childhood Studies
The MA in Early Childhood Studies is aimed at professionals working in the area of early childhood - teachers, early years practitioners, social workers and family support workers in both statutory and non-statutory agencies - who are already qualified to undergraduate level in an educational or social science subject. Within Northern Ireland, services directed at the education and care of young children up to age 8 have seen unprecedented growth and development in recent years. Initiatives such as Sure Start, the implementation of the Learning to Learn Strategy and the Infant Mental Health Framework have brought early years issues to the fore.
HOW WILL I STUDY?
Depending on the modules selected, teaching and learning is delivered through a blended approach of lectures, virtual learning activities, field visits and reflective, self-directed study. For your dissertation, you will be allocated a personal tutor who will guide and support your throughout your dissertation.
WHO WILL BE TEACHING ME?
You will be taught, assessed and supported by an exceptional team of internationally recognised, research-informed and experienced practitioners.
To be awarded the Master of Arts in Early Childhood Studies, you need to complete 180 CATs, which normally comprises of four 30 CAT point taught modules plus a 60 CAT point final dissertation. In addition to Research Methods, which is normally a compulsory module, the other three taught modules must include at least two of the specific Early Childhood Studies modules below.
SEC7013 – EARLY INTERVENTION
This module is targeted towards all early years professionals. It will be particularly beneficial for practitioners working with very young children, and those supporting older children who have experienced early disadvantage. Students will be encouraged to critically reflect on definitions of early intervention, the developmental significance of the first 1001 days of life and the impact of this on outcomes for children. The module will provide students with a thorough understanding of the national and international policy context of early intervention. Best practice for working with very young children will be considered, alongside what constitutes quality early intervention. A range of early intervention services and programmes will be explored, including those targeting children with special educational needs.
Students will develop the ability to access and critically review literature, work collaboratively with peers and critically reflect on the implications of their learning for practice.
SEC7003 – CONTEMPORY ISSUES IN EARLY CHILDHOOD
This module provides students with a thorough understanding of a wide range of theories and perspectives on early years care and education, plus relevant legislation, guidelines, policy and the latest research, allowing practitioners to re-examine and rethink their methods and practices. The module encourages students to discuss and consider implications for service development and the construction of developmentally appropriate practice with children aged 0 to 8 years.
SEC7010 – OUTDOOR LEARNING
This module investigates the scope, benefits and difficulties of providing learning opportunities outdoors and presents Early Years and Primary School professionals with a range of empirical evidence which will enhance their understanding of effective teaching outdoors. Although the module takes a cross-curricular approach, the focus is on outdoor play, the world around us and numeracy, encouraging participants to reflect critically on outdoor learning provision in their own settings.
(Please note this module will have some site visits and face to face teaching)
SEC7012 – WELLBEING IN THE EARLY YEARS
The module addresses the importance of early intervention to promote the health and wellbeing of young children. Emotional, psychological and social wellbeing will be analysed in line with the main government strategies and educational policies. It is important for Early Years educators to consider how individual and environmental resources around children can be strengthened to ensure wellbeing.
SEC7011 – CRITICAL PERSPECTIVES ON WORKING WITH PARENTS
Parental engagement is a key factor in improving educational outcomes. The module examines the rationale for working with parents to engage them in their child’s learning, looking at historical perspectives, current policy and issues such as newcomer and refugee families. Students will be challenged to reflect on, and consider, their own practice in working with parents to enhance a child’s learning and development.
SEC7007 – LEARNING LEADERSHIP
This module offers leadership support for those who are aspiring or current Early years leaders. The module seeks to respond to changing policy developments, offering best practice examples from a range of Educational leaders. The module will address an array of management and leadership issues such as: collaborating with a range of professionals; leading a multi-professional team; the concept of professionalism; resilience and wellbeing strategies for services, operational and strategic leadership, team and individual leadership through coach-mentoring and how to build communities of practice for shared and networked professional development at an organisational level. A wide range of assessment methods will be employed including preparations for interviews and developmental tasks. Practitioners with leadership experience or aspiring leaders will benefit from developing new and enterprising ideas for practice. Some students will develop new ways to promote leadership within the curriculum, while others will develop a wider nursery or school/-based strategy for enterprise education utilising effective leadership strategies and paradigms. This module is jointly delivered with the Learning Leadership module.
SEC7006 – QUALITY PEDAGOGY
The module encourages critical debate on quality pedagogy in early childhood and the implications for practitioners, children and parents. It examines different pedagogical models, such as the Scandinavian approach. It also looks at the psychological, philosophical and sociological influences which have informed thinking and encourages students to reflect critically on existing practice, research evidence and policy changes.
EDC7024 – RESEARCH METHODS
SEPTEMBER 2023 & JANUARY 2024
Completion of this module is normally required before a student starts their dissertation. Research Methods covers the areas required for effective educational research including; qualitative and quantitative research methods and techniques: the quasi-experimental approach; research method selection; questionnaire design and analysis; research and project preparation; and reporting the findings.
SEC7005 – DISSERTATION
Students will normally have completed the required number of taught modules (120 CAT’s) before commencing their dissertation.
All modules are 30 CATs unless otherwise started.
All Modules are taught online, with the exception of SEC7010 Outdoor Learning.
Applicants will normally hold a relevant 2:2 Honours degree or above in a related discipline, and preferably a professional teaching qualification. (with the exception of MA Early Childhood Studies). Those who do not meet the requirements above may be considered on an individual basis, where there is evidence of relevant experience. Applicants may be required to attend an interview to determine their suitability for entry.
Stranmillis University College recognises and supports existing professional development activities whether these are part of induction, early professional development, threshold assessments or programmes of staff development and performance management. All students who have successfully completed a PGCE at Master’s level will be eligible to apply for 30 M-level credit points towards a Master’s qualification. Applicants may also seek accreditation for completed school-based professional development activities. Application for credit transfer and exemption from module requirements must be made upon enrolment.
HOW TO APPLY
Application for admission to all Masters Programmes should be made by downloading the application form and reference form and returning the completed forms by email only to firstname.lastname@example.org
How will I be assessed?
There are no written examinations. Modules are assessed by coursework.
Flexible: Normally 3 years.
The majority of module sessions are in the evenings, although attendance at weekend workshops may occasionally be required. All modules are taught online, with each module lasting approximately 10 weeks, with the equivalent of 30 hours of contact time per module.
The course fee for 2018-2019 will be £917 per taught module and £1834 for dissertation (UK/ Republic of Ireland and EU students only) International fees apply for international students.
The next intake for this programme is for a September 2023 start.
The closing date for applications is 8th September 2023.