Early Years, Playwork and Education FdA

Foundation Degree (3 years)



A flexible degree to advance your Early Years teaching and care career.

Application Deadline:
Sun, Jul 1st, 2018


Apply Now


Working with children is exciting, fun, and incredibly rewarding.  Helping them to learn through the experience of new activities, and facilitating their interest in new concepts, means that you will play an important role in their development. This requires specialist knowledge in early years education, and key skills in planning, practice and communication.

This online degree is designed to help you develop these skills in your place of work, while you learn, together with understanding the policies and practices of the subject, for the benefit of your personal development, and your contribution within your place of work.

You can also choose to top-up with a Bachelor degree, or continue to a teaching degree.

Full Description

What you will study

You'll learn about the education sector as well as child development, play, safeguarding and equality. There's a strong focus on issues that are currently affecting early years, playwork and education services. Under the guidance of a mentor, you'll undertake work placements and record your progress in a professional development portfolio. There are no exams; you will be assessed throughout the course with essays, a reflective diary, reports, presentations, and contribution to web discussions.

Benefits to you

  • You'll develop a wide range of practical and analytical skills.
  • You'll improve your ability to think critically about your work.
  • Your studies and assignments will reflect the setting you work in
  • It will open a wide range of career options to you.

Benefits to your organisation

  • The course has professional recognition.
  • You'll be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of Early Years Playwork contexts within which the widening children's workforce operate.
  • You'll be familiar with the policies and practices of early years playwork and education.
  • You'll be encouraged to critically analyse contemporary theories and empirical evidence in the area.
Course Details

Level 4 modules

Learning and Development

This module introduces you to your own learning as well as children’s and links to existing theory. It explores the difference between learning and development and considers the influence of adults on children’s learning. The key topics will be: human development, understanding learning, study skills and the roles of parents and key persons.

Play, Health and Well-being

Nowadays the link between lifestyle factors such as activity levels, diet and health is becoming increasingly clear, and greater importance is being placed on the need for children to access outdoor environments. It is crucial to get children making choices and enjoying a healthy balanced diet and active lifestyle from as young an age as possible. Play is recognised as being crucial to children's physical, mental, social and emotional well-being, yet opportunities and encouragement for free play are becoming increasingly limited. You’ll consider children’s well-being and how it relates to their rights. You’ll learn how well-being can be supported through healthy eating, regular physical activity and a play based environment. The key topics will be: well-being, healthy eating and exercise, outdoor play and forest schools.

Researching Childhood

You’ll be introduced to essential research skills relating to children and learn about the importance of linking theory to your practice. The aim is for you to develop skills in child observation and apply general research methods to childhood studies. You'll be expected to work in small groups and share your experience and ideas with your class. The key topics will be: research methods, ethics involved in working with children, types of observation and studying children.

Work-based Learning 1

You will identify a specific aspect of practice to develop. Using an 'Action Inquiry' model, you will then plan a change strategy, implement the change and evaluate its effectiveness. This model of personal professional development will enable you to understand your workplace by observing, developing and carrying out an action plan to effect change and improvement in practice. You will develop valuable workplace skills in IT, communication, presentation, reflection and analysis.

Level 5 modules

Supporting Children's Learning

This module is about the ways in which children play and learn and the means by which adults can mediate and support their experience. You’ll discuss pedagogic strategies and learn about the importance of creative practices and children learning through play. Different early years’ curricula (Steiner Waldorf, Montessori method, Experiential Education, High Scope, Reggio Emilia and Te Whariki) will be compared and contrasted with England’s curriculum. The key topics will be: early years’ curricula, learning through play, creative learning and pedagogy as well as documenting care and learning.

Safeguarding Children

In this module you’ll explore children’s welfare and well-being. You’ll learn about the complexities attached to the notion of risk, child abuse, protection and safeguarding. This module will offer a comprehensive cover of English legislation, policy and procedures for keeping children safe from abuse. You will gain an understanding of the range of provision available to support children’s needs. The key topics will be: child protection, support and intervention, policy and legislation, multi-disciplinary working and welfare and well-being.

Embracing Diversity

In this module, you'll discuss disability, differences and special educational needs in relation to debates on inclusion and exclusion, needs and rights, and the importance of seeing every child as an individual. You’ll explore different cultural practices to enable an empathetic understanding of how to help all children feel welcome in a setting. Theories for this module are drawn from different backgrounds such as psychology, sociology and education. The key topics will be: history and language of inclusion, cultural differences and EAL, family structures and lifestyles, policy and legislation as well as special educational needs.

Work-based Learning 2

You’ll be encouraged to explore your professional practice, along the strands developed previously as a source of learning. You’ll be expected to demonstrate a greater degree of autonomy in the management of your learning and demonstrate a more detailed knowledge of relevant theories.


As you move through the course, we’ll check your progress regularly to make sure you’re achieving milestones, and getting any extra support you may need. You'll be assessed on one multiple choice exam and written work. This will include essays, a reflective diary, reports, presentations, web discussions and a professional development portfolio.


Experienced early years professionals will teach you and you’ll have a personal tutor and learner mentor to guide you. We’ll also provide regular feedback and help you reach your maximum potential on the course.

You will have access to Anglia Ruskin University's extensive digital library. This means that you can download all the learning materials you need, enabling you to study whenever and wherever suits you. You will also be able to visit our on-site libraries in Cambridge and Chelmsford.

Meet your Tutors

Mallika Kayne
MSc, BSc, Postgraudate Cert

"I'm thrilled to lead Anglia Ruskin's professionally recognised Foundation Degree in Early Years, Playwork and Education. This course will enable students to balance flexible study with their work, taking steps towards a fulfilling and varied career in Early Years."

Mallika is an experienced member of staff who has led and taught on a range of early childhood programmes, including undergraduate and postgraduate courses. The curriculum of these courses draw extensively from (national) Early Childhood Studies (ECS) degree benchmark statements and she is also a member of the ECS degrees network. She is currently leading Foundation Degree in Early Years, Play work and Education.

Her research is primarily participatory in nature where she has been working together with young children in nursery and primary schools, in understanding their views of the learning environments.  She has published a number of articles and chapters in books and academic journals; edited a book on children's rights; and also presented her work in various national and international conferences. Her current research is in higher education, where she is using various participatory approaches of working in partnership with students, to develop pedagogical spaces. She is also currently engaged in a collaborative 'creative writing through the arts' project, with colleagues, where they are working with primary schools in Essex to integrate arts into children's writing.


This course will open up a number of career options. You’ll be able to apply for roles in nursery work, school support and playwork. It will also be an advantage if you want to do further study, such as topping up to a           BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies in just one year.

The course has professional recognition. It takes into account the Children's Workforce Development Council and the Early Years Professional Framework.

Career Advice

Our Employability Service is here to help give you the best chance of landing the job you want. We’ll help you improve your skills and bulk up your CV to improve your career prospects.

As a distance learning student, you’ll still benefit from help and advice on CV writing, interview techniques, job hunting, and general careers advice.

To find out more please visit our careers advice page.

Why choose Anglia Ruskin University?

Anglia Ruskin is one of the UK's leading universities for enterprise, innovation and entrepreneurship. In a dynamic world, it's critical to demonstrate capability in strategic planning, innovation and critical evaluation by, for example, being able to respond positively to change, see opportunities and operationalise new initiatives.

We truly believe higher education should inspire you to develop the professional skills that enable you and your organisation to stand out in today's increasingly competitive marketplace. Additionally, our reputation for developing and delivering top quality standards of distance learning and workplace training is unrivalled.

The Faculty of Health, Social Care & Education is the largest provider of health, social care and education courses in the East of England, with over 6,000 students from more than 20 countries. You'll study under the guidance of an exciting, modern faculty which has strong links with regional, national and international schools and academic institutions.

Entry Requirements


  • Level 3 Childcare qualification.
  • GCSE grade C or above in English Language.
  • If English is not your first language you will be expected to demonstrate a certificated level of proficiency of at least IELTS 6.0 (Academic level) or equivalent English Language qualification, as recognised by Anglia Ruskin University.
  • You'll need Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance in order to study this course.
  • As a distance learner, you'll also need a suitable computer with internet connection, together with sufficient IT competence to make effective use of word processing, internet and email.


  • UCAS Tariff points acquired from BTEC Level 3 Diplomas are accepted.
  • Access to HE Diplomas at overall Pass grade are accepted.
  • International Baccalaureate Diploma with a minimum of 24 points is accepted.
  • UCAS Tariff points from the Irish Leaving Certificate are accepted.
  • UCAS Tariff points from Scottish Highers are accepted.
  • UCAS Tariff points from Scottish Advanced Highers are accepted.
  • 48 UCAS Tariff Points from A level (or equivalent).

How long does it take?

The course will take three years to complete. It has been designed to help you learn as you work and enable you to balance study time with your personal and work regimes.

Fees & Funding

This course costs £9,400 in total.

Student loans are now available to cover the cost of studying this course. Subject to eligibility, terms and conditions. Also, ask us about payment by instalments.

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