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Module PPP-4020:
Global Early Childhood

Module Facts

Run by School of Psychology

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Prof Helen Henningham

Overall aims and purpose

This module is highly practical and participatory. Students are provided with required reading material prior to each session and this material is reviewed through demonstration, role play, discussion and brainstorming techniques. There are no formal lectures. The module targets students interested in early childhood interventions for children at risk for poor development and focuses on preventative interventions (i.e. the focus is not on treating children with mental health problems). The module will provide students with an overview of the key issues in the field of early childhood intervention research (for children from birth to age 8 years) in low and middle-income countries. The focus will be on designing, adapting, evaluating and disseminating psychological and behavioural interventions to improve young children’s development including their cognition, academic achievement, behaviour and mental health in low resource settings. Through the module, students will learn how psychological principles are applied to global early childhood intervention programming and evaluation.

Course content

Topics covered include:

Magnitude of the problem of poor child development in low and middle income countries (LMIC)

Risk and protective factors for child development in LMIC

Evidence-based early childhood interventions in LMIC. –What works? For whom does it work? How and why does it work?

Factors to be considered in scaling up effective early childhood interventions in LMIC.

Factors to be considered in the design and adaptation of early childhood interventions for use in low resource settings: why, where, with whom, what, how and for how long

Evaluating the effectiveness of early childhood interventions.

Critical reading of global early childhood intervention literature

Assessment Criteria


Blogs and assignments: student provided an adequate response but answers were largely based on lecture and workshop material and essential reading, with no real development of arguments, critical evaluation or evidence of study beyond the basics (basics = lecture material and essential reading). Structure and organisation of material was adequate.


Good would be approximate to the B grades:

Blogs and assignments: Student provided a comprehensive response. Material was well organised and well-structured. There was clear evidence of a good understanding of the material, and that a deeper understanding of material presented in lectures and workshops had been achieved due to relevant further reading and self-study. There was some evidence of appropriate critical evaluation and discussion and some evidence of novel synthesis between psychological principles and the field of global early child development.


Excellent would approximate to the A grades:

Blogs and assignments: Student provided a comprehensive and accurate response, with sound clarity of argument and expression. Distinction level answers evidenced a depth of insight into material presented in lectures and workshops and relevant further and additional reading. Appropriate critical evaluation of evidence and discussion of material supported all responses. Novel application of psychological understanding to global child development issues was clearly evident throughout responses and was relevant, appropriate and interesting.

Learning outcomes

  1. Understand the key considerations in designing and implementing early childhood interventions for use in low resource settings.

  2. Critically evaluate and respond to literature describing early childhood interventions in LMIC.

  3. Understand the factors affecting wide-scale dissemination of effective programmes and how these affect intervention design and implementation.

  4. Apply behaviour change principles to the process of designing, implementing, evaluating and disseminating early childhood programmes in LMIC.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
INDIVIDUAL BLOG Early Childhood Blog 45
WRITTEN PLAN Intervention Design 40
GROUP PRESENTATION Developing a training plan 15

Teaching and Learning Strategy


Three full-day workshops will be held from 9.30am to 4.30pm (1 hour lunch break) on three separate Saturdays during the semester. Attendance at all three workshops is compulsory. During the first workshop, students will participate in a training workshop and during the second workshop, students will take turns to deliver the workshop using appropriate behaviour change principles and techniques. Attendance at both of these workshops is essential in order to fulfil the learning outcomes for this course. Prior to the third workshop, students will work in pairs to design a short skills-based training. An assessment will take place in the third workshop and this will involve each pair delivering a portion of this training to the larger group.

Private study

Private study: students should expect to complete 150 hours of self-study in order to achieve the learning outcomes for this module. Self-study will take the form of essential (plus further and additional reading), conducting a blog and commenting on others' blogs, and designing and preparing intervention materials. In addition to attending classes and workshops, students should be spending approximately 15 hours each week during term-time reading the literature, writing blogs and responding to blogs and preparing intervention materials.


Twelve hours of lectures will take place over the semester. These lectures will either involve two hour lectures over a total of 6 weeks or three hours of lectures over a total of 4 weeks (the lecturer for this course conducts research in low and middle-income countries and thus travels overseas regularly and hence the lecture schedule will depend on these travel commitments). Lectures will introduce the material in a practical and participatory way and will involve introducing students to a range of early childhood interventions including examining and critiquing intervention curricula and training manuals and watching videos of early childhood interventions. These materials will not be available on Blackboard because of confidentiality and copyright issues and hence attendance at lectures is required

Group Project

Group study: students will need to complete 20 hours of group study and group work over the course of the module. Group work will involve working in pairs and groups to design and practice key skills related to designing, implementing, evaluating and disseminating early childhood programmes. Students will need to commit 4 hours per fortnight over the course of the module to this group work.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Mentoring - Able to support, help, guide, inspire and/or coach others
  • Caring - Showing concern for others; caring for children, people with disabilities and/or the elderly
  • 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
  • Leadership - Able to lead and manage, develop action plans and objectives, offer guidance and direction to others, and cope with the related pressures such authority can result in

Subject specific skills

  • Understand the scientific underpinnings of psychology as a discipline.
  • Apply multiple perspectives to psychological issues and integrate ideas and findings across the multiple perspectives in psychology.
  • Communicate psychological concepts effectively in written form.
  • Communicate psychological concepts effectively in oral form.
  • Be computer literate for the purpose of processing and disseminating psychological data and information.
  • Retrieve and organise information effectively.
  • Engage in effective teamwork for the purpose of collaborating on psychological projects.
  • Be sensitive and react appropriately to contextual and interpersonal psychological factors.
  • Use effectively personal planning and project management skills.
  • Work effectively under pressure (time pressure, limited resources, etc) as independent and pragmatic learners.
  • Problem-solve by clarifying questions, considering alternative solutions, making critical judgements, and evaluating outcomes.
  • Reason scientifically and demonstrate the relationship between theory and evidence.
  • Comprehend and use psychological data effectively, demonstrating a systematic knowledge of the application and limitations of various research paradigms and techniques.
  • Employ evidence-based reasoning and examine practical, theoretical and ethical issues associated with the use of different methodologies, paradigms and methods of analysis in psychology.


Resource implications for students

Students will need to prepare training materials as part of the assessment for this course. These materials are likely to require cartridge paper, glue, markers etc. in addition to printing costs.

Reading list

Recent journal articles will be used and will be made available to students.

Courses including this module

Optional in courses: