Our four-year BA Childhood Studies (including foundation year), will be suitable for you if your academic qualifications do not yet meet our entrance requirements for the three-year version of this course and you want a programme that increases your subject knowledge as well as improves your academic skills in order to support your academic performance.
This four-year course includes a foundation year (Year Zero), followed by a further three years of study. During your Year Zero, you study three academic subjects relevant to your chosen course as well as a compulsory academic skills module.
After successful completion of Year Zero in our Essex Pathways Department, you progress to complete your course with our Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies.
From year one you will continue developing your academic skills alongside discovering what drives children’s development, what informs their behaviour and what shapes their identity. Children today face a wide range of new and challenging experiences, including unprecedented access to media, wider cultural diversity, online bullying and larger school numbers. Their early experiences of childhood affect them for the rest of their lives. You can make a positive contribution to these formative years.
Childhood studies is a vibrant and exciting field which has expanded in recent years to include knowledge from psychology, sociology and psychoanalysis. This course lays the foundations for a career working with infants and children, whether in education, health care or children’s services. You gain a solid understanding of child development, the ecology of childhood (the place of children in different societies) and many other exciting topics including:
- Psychosocial approaches
- Child development and attachment theory
- Understanding ADHD, developmental trauma and Autism
- Criminological approaches
- Play and infant observation
- Children in literature
- Therapeutic work in groups
- Wellbeing and resilience
- Psychodynamics of teaching, learning and group work
Our Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies is internationally recognised as one of the leading departments for work on the role of the unconscious mind in mental health, as well as in culture and society more generally. We’re ranked top 10 in the UK for research (REF, 2014) and consistently receive high student satisfaction scores.
Our expert staff
We have some of the best teachers across the University in our Essex Pathways Department, all of whom have strong subject backgrounds and are highly skilled in their areas.
Our staff blend clinical and professional experience and expertise in their field with the academic rigour that our Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies is known for. You’re taught by lecturers who have years of experience working directly with troubled individuals and groups in specialist settings. This means they are seasoned researchers in the field of childhood and psychoanalytic studies, but also draw upon years of clinical experience as teachers, psychotherapists, and therapeutic community practitioners.
This course is led by Dr Chris Nicholson, who has more than 15 years’ experience working in residential childcare and therapeutic communities for children. He’s also managed an adolescent assessment unit and runs a variety of children’s activities and groups for Colchester Mind’s, The Junction. Further, he sits on the Advisory Board for Children and Young People at the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Therapeutic Communities section, and regularly speaks at both national and international conferences.
Our staff specialise in areas ranging from creative therapies for children and adolescents, to organisational dynamics, to the practice of psychotherapy, to psychodynamic counselling with children and adolescents.
You will experience a lively, informal environment with a number of specialist facilities:
- At our Colchester Campus, you have access to The Albert Sloman Library which houses a collection of books, journals, electronic resources and major archives
- Our Department has its own dedicated library of specialist texts which inform and influence our research
- Attend free evening Open Seminars on topics relevant to childhood studies, education, mental health and psychosocial studies which are open to students, staff and members of the public.
Whether you want to work with infants in the nursery, children with emotional and behavioural difficulties in children’s homes, support those with learning difficulties, or go on into teaching, our course prepares you to make a difference to children’s lives. Put theory into practice by carrying out reflective practice through infant observation, and a work placement. These give you invaluable experience within your chosen sector.
We help you to explore and understand the kind of role you’re preparing for so you graduate with a valuable balance of theoretical understanding and useful practical experience – rare qualities giving you the edge needed to successfully gain employment upon graduation. There are a range of jobs directly related to this degree including early years teachers, family support workers, learning support workers, primary and secondary teacher, special needs teachers and social workers.
After taking this degree you can also enter further study or training to become a:
- Child psychotherapist
- Children’s nurse
- Community development worker
- Arts Therapist
- Educational psychologist
- Speech and language therapist
We also work with the University’s Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.
* Non-specialist higher education institutions with a survey population of at least 500.
Why we’re great
- You’ll be taught by lecturers who bring both academic and practical knowledge from years of working with children.
- Gain the skills to make a positive contribution to the early experiences of childhood.
- Our students learn in small groups with expert practitioners and academics.
We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of core/compulsory modules, and optional modules chosen from lists.
Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The course content is therefore reviewed on an annual basis to ensure our courses remain up-to-date so modules listed are subject to change.
Teaching and learning disclaimer
Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.
The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently approved for 2022 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.
- Teaching takes place through lectures and seminars often in relatively small groups, with a focus on group interaction and discussion
- Discussion in seminars includes discussing theoretical ideas, how these might apply to practice and discussing your own experiences and observation on placement
- You will also participate in skills based workshops, debates, observation seminars, reflective groups and teach others through presentation of theoretical readings and practice case examples