The Foundation Degree in Early Years offered by the Open University is suitable for experienced practitioners working with young children in a wide range of early years settings (such as nurseries, playgroups and children’s centres), including home-based carers and classroom/teaching assistants specialising in early years. It will build on your knowledge of children’s development and learning, as well as developing your understanding of policies and practice in early years settings. You’ll also learn professional and practical skills like planning, assessment and teamwork. The Foundation Degree in Early Years also prepares you to engage with further study, enquiry and practice.
The Foundation Degree in Early Years has been developed in association with employers and professional associations, and is considered a ‘full and relevant’ qualification for the purposes of registration and regulation – which means you’ll count in the qualified ratio of staff at Level 3.
The degree is offered on a flexible basis. The main teaching material is offered through supported open-learning modules and includes module texts, audiovisual material, and directed reading. Summative assessment is by written tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) and by end-of-module examinations where appropriate. Tutors support your development through online and telephone support, letters, tutorials and written feedback on assignments.
The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:
- Knowledge and understanding of early childhood
- Cognitive skills, assessed by Personal Development Plan and Work-Based Learning Project
- Practical and professional skills, including reflective practice
- Key skills
You must be:
- a current practitioner (paid or voluntary) with at least six months full-time or 12 months part-time experience of working with young children in a registered early years setting (or an experienced practitioner with at least three years full-time or five years part-time experience in a registered early years setting if you are following the With credit for prior experience pathway)
- over the age of 18 years at the date on which you begin studying for this qualification (or over 21 years old if you are following the With credit for prior experience pathway)
- working in a setting following a UK or Republic of Ireland curriculum and which uses English as the language of tuition.
While studying the core modules, you must be:
- working in a registered early years setting with young children aged from birth to seven years (Foundation Stage or Key Stage 1 or equivalent) in either a paid or voluntary capacity
- directly involved in activities to support young children’s care and learning for a minimum of five hours a week
- able to work with groups of three or more children on a regular basis.
You must have the agreement and support of your employer/supervisor before registering for this qualification.
Further details can be found on the Undergraduate section of the Open University website: www3.open.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/qualification.
This Foundation Degree can be a step to becoming a specialist Early Years Teacher (to work with babies and children). On completing your studies, there are several options for topping up to a full BA degree – you’ll need to choose your route carefully and we recommend that you discuss your choices with one of our advisers. Further information about pathways and providers can be found on the Department for Education website: www.education.gov.uk.
Full details of fees and financial support arrangements can be found on the Undergraduate section of the Open University website: http://www.open.ac.uk/courses/fees-and-funding.