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Module XAE-1033:
Adventures in Growing Up

Module Facts

Run by School of Education and Human Development

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Dr Nia Young

Overall aims and purpose

Childhood is often described as the easiest time of life but, in fact, babies and children are faced with an astonishing array of new experiences and skills which they must master in a comparatively short time. This module examines the challenges of growing up and the wonderful ways in which children overcome these as well as addressing society's main concerns about children and childhood. From using brain power to control the movement of their limbs, to combining sounds to express thoughts and navigating the complicated and covert social rules that govern friendships, children's development is a busy journey of effort and error. And all this takes place in a society which is designed by and for adults who have authority and some definite opinions about what childhood should be. This module will introduce the theories behind how children manage these incredible achievements in this society, allowing students to appreciate the scope and speed of the learning children have to do to grow up. Students will then be able to apply this theory to observations of children, gaining experience of assessing child development in real-world settings, an essential skill for work with people of any age.

Course content

This module explores children's experience of growing up in the contemporary world. It identifies the milestones in a child’s early development and highlights the impact of the child's environment. Key issues such as the family, health and friendship are explored and related to contemporary concerns about childhood. The module also provides opportunities for students to observe young children’s development in appropriate Early Years settings, with a focus on their cognitive, social and emotional development and to discuss the interaction between the child's development and experiences.

There is an emphasis on: • the importance of the learning environment to their understanding and development; • the role of relationships in the child's world; • the way in which children come to understand right and wrong; • how the 'self' is shaped and understood; • considering the importance of health, well-being and happiness; • the family's role in children's worlds; • the impact of issues such as poverty, obesity and 'otherness' • observing young children’s interactions and investigating the influence of adults and peers on the psycho-social development of young children through case studies and through practical explorations and observations in a relevant setting.

DBS Check compulsory to enable you to follow this module.

Assessment Criteria


D-, D, D+: A satisfactory understanding and appreciation of the main developmental steps in the individual's early life and the interaction between the individual and his environment. A satisfactory appreciation of the interactions between family, society, environment and the child in shaping the child's understanding and experience.


C-, C, C+: A good understanding and appreciation of the main developmental steps in the individual's early life and the interaction between the individual and his environment. A good appreciation of the interactions between family, society, environment and the child in shaping the child's understanding and experience.


A-, A, A+, A, A*: A comprehensive understanding and appreciation of the main developmental steps in the individual's early life and the interaction between the individual and his environment, and the ability to discuss the field critically and analytically. A comprehensive and detailed appreciation of the interactions between family, society, environment and the child in shaping the child's understanding and experience.

Learning outcomes

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the theoretical accounts of a child’s early development.

  2. Identify the main issues that can affect a child's development and experiences.

  3. Demonstrate an understanding of the influence and importance of environment and society on a child’s personal, emotional, social and cognitive development, well-being, and happiness.

  4. Identify and interpret evidence of young children's experience and understanding in a child-care setting.

  5. Identify ways in which children interact with the world around them to create a contemporary childhood.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
LOGBOOK OR PORTFOLIO Portfolio from observations

Write a report of your observations of a child within a childcare setting. Discuss how the child's development and experience of childhood interact with the environment in which they are being observed. This assignment is designed to allow students to make links between theory and real-world issues. It also allows students the opportunity to develop the following professional skills: 1. Using information from theory to consider a child's developmental experiences. 2. Making use of observation as a way of understanding childhood. 3. Keeping concise and useful notes concerning a child's development.

ESSAY Essay based on participation in online forum

Students will take part in a discussion forum to compare academic ideas of growing up and relate these to children's lived experiences. These discussions with peers will be used as the basis of an essay concerning key issues in children's lives as identified in the lectures (e.g. health, family life, etc). Grades will be based on the final essay submission. The online forum will be monitored by the module coordinator. This assignment is designed to allow students to support each other in exploring how children grow up while also developing the following key professional skills: 1. Application of theory to real-world examples. 2. Written communication (particularly critical, respectful discussion). 3. Choosing and evaluating appropriate literature.


Teaching and Learning Strategy

Work-based learning 18

11 @ 2 hours/week

Private study 160

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Safety-Consciousness - Having an awareness of your immediate environment, and confidence in adhering to health and safety regulations
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Caring - Showing concern for others; caring for children, people with disabilities and/or the elderly
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • reflect upon a range of psychological sociological health historical and philosophical perspectives and consider how these underpin different understandings of babies and young children and childhood
  • apply multiple perspectives to early childhood issues recognising that early childhood studies involves a range of research methods theories evidence and applications
  • evaluate competing positions in relation to the construction of babies and young children and childhood by different subjects societal agents and time place and culture
  • constructively critique theories practice and research in the area of child development
  • demonstrate knowledge and awareness of the skills needed for different pedagogical approaches including: - the necessary depth and strength of relationships with individual children and children in groups and the facilitation of the building of relationships with and between children - the formation and promotion of mutually respectful relationships with families colleagues other professionals and communities
  • lead support and work collaboratively with others and demonstrate an understanding of working effectively in teams with parents carers and other professionals 11
  • demonstrate an understanding of how to plan for and where appropriate implement meeting and promoting children's health well-being protection and safety and the conditions that enable them to flourish
  • use skills of observation and analysis in relation to aspects of the lives of babies and young children
  • reflect upon the ethics of studying babies and young children and their families and communities


Resource implications for students

Students need to bring tablets or lap tops to connect to the internet in all lectures. Students are responsible for contacting schools to make arrangements for placement and for getting to and from their placement. They need to pay for their own transportation to placement settings.

Talis Reading list

Courses including this module