To steal a lyric from a rather famous song, the children really are our future. And a career in early childhood education is perhaps one of the most rewarding you could choose. Studying for an early childhood degree is a fascinating insight into early childhood development from birth to around eight years of age. Discovering how the human body develops and how important these formative years really are will prepare you to enter the workforce after qualification, and be ready to forge forward in a career that is perhaps one of the most important of any that are available to today’s graduates.

What is an early childhood degree course all about?
Early childhood teaching courses are all about gaining the necessary knowledge to correctly help and gently mold children during those crucial development years. This is the time where habits begin to be formed and society has an incredible influence on behavior and how a child will form opinions as they begin to head into adulthood. You’ll delve deeply into the sociology aspect of child development, as well as learning how to understand the different models of childhood in different countries, cultures and social groups. It’ll also be necessary for you to understand the correct way to analyze data, written text and the academic styles that are used. You’ll also learn to understand research methodology, and how to relate the appropriate theory to early childhood in practical terms.

What will I learn on an early childhood degree course?
It goes without saying that every college or university has its own unique method of delivering a course content. However, you can expect all early childhood degree courses to cover the following:

  • Theories of childhood
  • Childhood in the various different social settings and cultures
  • The politics of childhood
  • Children’s rights and responsibilities
  • Professional services and their intervention into children’s lives – such as the state and private sectors
  • Sociology
  • The influence of various mediums on childhood development – for instance, technology, consumerism, religion, tradition and the media

What methods will early childhood schools use to teach me?
Early childhood schools use a wide variety of educational techniques to deliver course content. These will by necessity include both theoretical based and practical based learning.  You can expect ongoing assessments, project work, hands-on practical assignments working with children, work experience placements, written essays and dissertations as well as end of term and/or year exams. Whilst a lot of your education will be practical, you can expect the theoretical learning content to remain fairly constant throughout the whole course as you delve further into the sociology and psychological aspects of early childhood development.

After gaining my early childhood degree, what options are open to me for employment?
After gaining your degree in early childhood education, there are a multitude of different career paths you can consider. That of a pre-school or early years teacher might seem the most obvious, but there are many other options available to you. These include various positions in childcare, social services, police forces and other psychology and sociology based positions.