Your feedback is important to us
Please take two minutes at the end of your visit to help us improve our information and services.
Skip to content The Open University
    Back to Foundation Degree in Early Years

Foundation Degree in Early Years: Standard with credit for prior experience pathway

On this page
This foundation degree is made up of 240 credits.

What you will study

There are two ways to start a qualification. You can begin your studies at Stage 1, or, if you haven’t studied for a long time, you can get started by studying an Access module as an additional preparatory stage of your chosen qualification. We know from experience that students who have completed an Access module do better in their subsequent modules, so it could be the vital first step you take to help you succeed in your future studies.

To find out the recommended Access module for this pathway, choose your country in the Fees section below.

Stage 1

There are two compulsory modules at Stage 1.

If you’re an experienced practitioner, you can replace the first with an APEL (accreditation of prior experiential learning) version: The early years: developing practice (APEL route) (EZL100)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.X01-1,module,EZL100,,1. It will enable you to demonstrate core subject and practice knowledge gained through your role and responsibilities, and the skills you need to study at this level. The rest of the degree then follows the standard route.

Otherwise, you’ll start with the compulsory 60-credit module The early years: developing practice (E100)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.X01-1,module,E100,,1, which will develop your study skills as you focus on the knowledge and skills underpinning your work with young children. Topics include:

  • the role of the early years practitioner
  • young children’s learning and development
  • the importance of early years environments
  • the work of children’s services in safeguarding and promoting their health and welfare.

You’ll complete Stage 1 with the compulsory work-based learning module Professional practice in the early years (E105)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.X01-1,module,E105,,1 (60 credits), designed to support your development as a reflective practitioner. You’ll be introduced to reflective frameworks to help you deepen your understanding in relation to three themes:

  • engaging with parents, colleagues and other professionals
  • play, learning and development
  • safeguarding children: promoting rights, health and wellbeing.

You’ll also consider how these themes relate to professional practice in your work setting. You’ll be taught how to document evidence of your developing knowledge, understanding and expertise and to improve your critical and analytical skills in preparation for study at Stage 2.

Stage 2

You’ll start Stage 2 by choosing one of four optional 60-credit modules, depending on your career goals and interests. You could:

  • explore the diversity and complexity of children’s lives and experiences in Equality, participation and inclusion: learning from each other (E214)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.X01-1,module,E214,,1
  • examine different perspectives on practice including the complexities of working with children in Working with children, young people and families (K218)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.X01-1,module,K218,,1
  • study the personal, social, cognitive and linguistic development of children in Childhood (E212)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.X01-1,module,E212,,1.

Alternatively, you might want to improve your knowledge of the primary curriculum and how subjects are taught and learnt by choosing Subject knowledge and professional practice in primary schools (E207)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.X01-1,module,E207,,1.

The final work-based learning module, Extending professional practice in the early years (E210)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.X01-1,module,E210,,1 (60 credits), enables you to investigate practice in your own work setting. Key themes include researching practice and leadership, and you’ll explore:

  • change and development in early years policy and practice
  • practitioners’ roles in initiating and facilitating change
  • practitioner research with a focus on listening to children.

Modules quoted in qualification descriptions are those that are currently available for study. As the structure of our qualifications is reviewed on a regular basis, the University is unable to guarantee that the same selection of modules will continue to be available in future years.

How long it takes

Typically, it takes four years part time study to complete this qualification, although you can take anything from three to seven years.


Where will you be resident whilst you study?

If your country isn’t shown here, please visit our website for international students.

Fee: Choose country above to see fee.


Choose country above to register.
Are you already an OU student ? Go to StudentHome for information on choosing your next module.

Your questions

Try our frequently asked questions.

Come and meet us at an event near you.

Or contact an adviser by Email or call +44(0) 845 300 60 90 +44(0) 845 366 60 35

Employers' questions

Contact Corporate Enquiries
Visit our website for employers or Email us

Get a prospectus

Download or