This postgraduate programme draws on Froebel’s understanding of the transformative power of young children’s play on their thinking, and the crucial way that adults can either seek to assist or control young children’s intrinsic creativity. In adults’ interactions with children, however, Froebel recognised the profound influence of the community and social context.
The syllabus is underpinned by an awareness of the influence of these social, cultural and political contexts on young children’s lives, and of the roots and structures of inequality that arise from these issues. The programme will strengthen your awareness and understanding of these influences and explore how you take account of them in action. In these respects, the programme also draws inspiration from the work of Paulo Freire, the radical and pioneering educator.
The teaching is informed by active research and scholarship in early years policy and practice, as well as leading research into young children’s well-being, thinking and understanding. There is a deep commitment to working in partnership with families and communities and to the development of students’ professionalism, advocacy and leadership.
The programme is relevant, engaging and of professional and personal value for a variety of roles within the early years sector. For those working directly with young children, engagement with the course content will provide a platform for continuing professional development and career progression, while for those involved in early years policy or research, the course offers an opportunity to engage with up current thinking in a broad range of issues.
Students will first look at babies’ and children’s capacity for play, how they think, and how they communicate their ideas and emotions though a variety of ‘languages’ such as talk, mark-making, drawing, construction, movement, music and dance. This is studied from a variety of theoretical perspectives, critically looking at the values and assumptions underpinning these views.
There is special focus on Froebel’s legacy in early childhood practice and other key pioneers in the child-centred tradition, which embodies advocacy and respect for children and their families. You will gain an understanding of the political nature of this work, learn advocacy skills for the well-being of young children and their families and develop effective leadership and collaboration techniques across disciplines in the field of early childhood. Alongside modules going deeper into young children’s emotions and well-being, students will learn skills for undertaking their own social and educational research. These skills will be put into practice with an extended in-depth research-based project, critically enquiring into an identified social or educational problem.