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Introduction to childhood studies and child psychology

What influences children’s development? How is childhood changing? How important are society and culture in understanding this change? This introductory module offers a fascinating insight into the lives of children and young people. It brings together approaches from anthropology, sociology and psychology, to provide a complete account of some of the complex influences that shape children’s experiences. You will investigate topics central to the lives of children and young people, from birth to 18 years, and explore their emotional, physical, intellectual, social and cultural development. You’ll be introduced to these thought-provoking topics through audio, video and interactive online materials.

Modules count towards OU qualifications

OU qualifications are modular in structure; the credits from this undergraduate module could count towards a certificate of higher education, diploma of higher education, foundation degree or honours degree.

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Module

Module code
E102
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
60
Study level
To enable you to make international comparisons, the information provided shows how OU levels correspond to the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ).
OU FHEQ
1 4
Study method
Distance Learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements
See Am I ready?

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What you will study

This online module will be attractive to anyone with an interest in, and concern for children and young people, including those who work with children and who want to learn more about contemporary theories and research in this area. The module offers an inter-disciplinary approach to study the lives of children and young people, drawing on research and theories from childhood studies and child psychology.  This inter-disciplinary perspective is broader than mainstream psychology modules and is designed to introduce you to different ways of understanding childhood and children’s lives.  The content is divided equally between sociology, anthropology, psychology, social policy and core study skills. There are four blocks, each comprising 6 weeks of supported study.

Block 1 introduces an interdisciplinary approach to the study of childhood by comparing the different perspectives from childhood studies and child psychology. The units will consider some of the complex influences that shape children’s lives and the role of educational research with children.

Block 2 considers early social and emotional development with a focus on supporting the lives of children. There is a particular focus on policies around parenting and families, protecting and supporting children in a digital world and on promoting the welfare of children in today’s challenging society.

Block 3 addresses issues around diversity and examines how children’s lives are shaped by particular social and cultural ideologies. These units will introduce you to a range of core issues which include ethnicity, religion, international childhoods and disability and how these factors can impact on the lives of children and young people.

Block 4 discusses some of the tensions involved in becoming an adult and some of the obstacles that many children face during this transitional period.  These units include the effects of commercialisation in the teenage years, issues around gender and sexuality; supporting young people’s mental health and psychological wellbeing; and the transition into adolescence.

In addition to the set text, there is a range of interactive online activities throughout the module to support your learning and to develop your understanding of policy issues. These focus on responses to critical issues in children and young people’s lives and discuss topics around children’s rights, safeguarding children, parenting practices, children’s psychological wellbeing and mental health. The audio and video resources support the set text in a number of ways. They will provide further background to some of the theoretical issues raised within the module as well as providing personal accounts from experts, parents, children and young people themselves on a range of important topics.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work, and who you can ask for advice and guidance. If you are new to the OU, you will find that your tutor is particularly concerned to help you with your study methods. There will be 18 hours of face-to-face tutorial support and 8 hours of online tutorial support for this module. Where we offer group tutorials or day schools, you are encouraged, but not obliged, to attend. Where tutorials are held will depend on the distribution of students taking the module.

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You must use the online eTMA system to submit your tutor-marked assignments.

Future availability

Introduction to childhood studies and child psychology (E102) starts once a year – in October. This page describes the module that will start in October 2018. We expect it to start for the last time in October 2021.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

    Course work includes:

    4 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
    No examination
    No residential school


    Entry requirements

    There are no formal academic or experiential requirements to study this module.

    If you're not sure you're ready talk to an adviser.

    Preparatory work

    If you would like to learn more about childhood studies, we highly recommend reading Kehily, M. J., An Introduction to Childhood Studies (3rd edn, Open University Press, 2015). This book gives an excellent and very accessible summary of the field of childhood studies.

    Register

    Start End Fee
    - - -

    No current presentation - see Future availability

    This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2021.

    Additional Costs

    Study costs

    There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as a laptop, travel to tutorials, set books and internet access.

    If you're on a low income you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after your module has started.

    Ways to pay for this module

    Open University Student Budget Account

    The Open University Student Budget Accounts Ltd (OUSBA) offers a convenient 'pay as you go' option to pay your OU fees, which is a secure, quick and easy way to pay. Please note that The Open University works exclusively with OUSBA and is not able to offer you credit facilities from any other provider. All credit is subject to status and proof that you can afford the repayments.

    You pay the OU through OUSBA in one of the following ways:

    • Register now, pay later – OUSBA pays your module fee direct to the OU. You then repay OUSBA interest-free and in full just before your module starts. 0% APR representative. This option could give you the extra time you may need to secure the funding to repay OUSBA.
    • Pay by instalments – OUSBA calculates your monthly fee and number of instalments based on the cost of the module you are studying. APR 5.1% representative.

    Joint loan applications

    If you feel you would be unable to obtain an OUSBA loan on your own due to credit history or affordability issues, OUSBA offers the option to apply for a joint loan application with a third party. For example, your husband, wife, partner, parent, sibling or friend. In such cases, OUSBA will be required to carry out additional affordability checks separately and/or collectively for both joint applicants who will be jointly and severally liable for loan repayments.

    As additional affordability checks are required when processing joint loan applications, unfortunately, an instant decision cannot be given. On average the processing time for a joint loan application is five working days from receipt of the required documentation.

    Read more about Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).  

    Employer sponsorship

    Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU courses are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to complete. They also value the skills that students learn and can apply in the workplace.

    More than one in ten OU students are sponsored by their employer, and over 30,000 employers have used the OU to develop staff so far. If the module you’ve chosen is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could approach your employer to see if they will sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. 

    • Your employer just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.
    • You won’t need to get your employer to complete the form until after you’ve chosen your module.  

    Credit/debit card

    You can pay part or all of your tuition fees upfront with a debit or credit card when you register for each module. 

    We accept American Express, Maestro (UK only), Mastercard, Visa/Delta and Visa Electron. 

    Mixed payments

    We know that sometimes you may want to combine payment options. For example, you may wish to pay part of your tuition fee with a debit card and pay the remainder in instalments through an Open University Student Budget Account (OUSBA).

    For more information about combining payment options, speak to an adviser.


    Please note: your permanent address/domicile will affect your fee status and therefore the fees you are charged and any financial support available to you. The fees and funding information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2019. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees. 

    This information was provided on 18/11/2018.

    What's included

    A printed full-colour set text, online activities, study skills, and policy/practice study weeks with different versions for students in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, alongside a compilation of audio and video materials. 

    Computing requirements

    A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module. Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

    Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

    A desktop or laptop computer with either:

    • Windows 7 or higher
    • Mac OS X 10.7 or higher

    The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

    To participate in our online-discussion area you will need both a microphone and speakers/headphones.

    Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students.

    If you have a disability

    The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying E102 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

    To find out more about what kind of support and adjustments might be available, contact us or visit our Disability support website.