Certificate in Early Years Practice
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If you work with young children aged from birth to seven years and want to develop your practice, this certificate could be what you’re looking for. It will develop your knowledge and understanding of early years provision and help you to reflect on your practice across a range of public, private, voluntary and independent settings. You'll consider your work in relation to young children and other adults (including colleagues, other professionals, parents and carers). You’ll also explore how children learn, and the impact your practice can have on their development. The Certificate in Early Years Practice is included in the Early Years Qualifications list for those delivering the Early Years Foundation Stage.
Fees and facts
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Flexible, part-time study through
OU Certificates are specially designed Open University qualifications focusing either on a particular job or profession, or academic study. For example The Open University's Certificate in Supporting Learning in Primary Schools is designed for teaching assistants and other kinds of classroom support staff, including volunteers. Not all OU Certificates are entry level qualifications.
You can use an OU Certificate to:
enhance or progress your current career gain a greater knowledge and understanding of a subject you are interested in.
You must be:
a current practitioner (paid or voluntary) with at least six months full-time or 12 months part-time experience of working with young children in a registered early years setting
over the age of 18 years at the date on which you begin studying for this qualification
working in a setting following a UK or Republic of Ireland curriculum and which uses English as the language of tuition.
working in a registered early years setting with young children aged from birth to seven years (Foundation Stage or Key Stage 1 or equivalent) in either a paid or voluntary capacity
directly involved in activities to support young children’s care and learning for a minimum of five hours a week
able to work with groups of three or more children on a regular basis.
You must have the agreement and support of your employer/supervisor before registering for this qualification.
Your employer must confirm their support for your study, verify your experience and whether you meet the pre-requisites to study the core modules by completing a Permission Agreement Form.
You and your employer are responsible for ensuring that:
you meet the ‘fit person’ criteria required for the setting and country you are working in ( If you are in doubt about your eligibility, contact the relevant agency in your country for more information.)
you obtain the necessary criminal record clearance.
If you are a Nanny/Foster Carer working with a child (birth to six years), you must be able to undertake 3–5 hours paid or voluntary work each week in a registered early years setting where you have access to groups of children and support from experienced professional colleagues. The home of a parent/foster carer or nanny is not – on its own – an acceptable setting.
If you meet these entry requirements and wish to apply for this qualification please email our
Student Registration & Enquiry Service or call +44(0) 845 300 60 90.
Career relevance and employability
The certificate is included in the Early Years Qualifications List for those delivering the Early Years Foundation Stage. It also has qualified status for classroom assistants in Northern Ireland, is included in the list of approved qualifications for support workers in day care of children’s services settings in Scotland, and is included in the list of Accepted Qualifications for Early Years and Childcare Workforce in Wales.
This Certificate is also appropriate if you are working in a British Forces school or an early years setting in Europe following a UK or Republic of Ireland curriculum and which uses English as the language of tuition.
There’s more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the
OU’s Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication and look at our OU study and your career subject pages to find out about career opportunities.
Choose a pathway and register
Pathways allow you to specialise or choose particular topics that interest you. You will need to choose a pathway before registering.
Credit for previous study elsewhere
You cannot count credit for study you have already completed elsewhere towards this qualification.
The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:
Knowledge and understanding
Practical and professional skills
Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes, and how they are acquired through teaching, learning and assessment methods.
On successful completion of the required module you will be awarded a Certificate in Early Years Practice.
As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the following regulations:
These regulations are also available on our
Essential Documents website.
If you have a disability
Choosing the qualification that’s right for you is very important. Depending on your disability, long-term health condition, mental health disability or specific learning difficulty, you may need to consider any challenges posed by:
the learning objectives: for example, to gain an honours degree in a language you must be physically able to speak the language
how the modules are taught: for example, some of our science qualifications require that you complete laboratory work
any work-based competency requirements.
Choosing the right qualification can be a complex mix of the subject requirements and the support you may need. To help you assess whether the qualification you are interested in will work for you, further advice is available from:
You will need a computer with internet access to study for this qualification. For most OU qualifications a Microsoft Windows (new since 2007),
Apple Mac (OS X 10.6 or later) or Linux computer should be adequate. However, some qualifications require more specific IT equipment, in which case you
will need additional software to use an Apple Mac or Linux computer. A detailed technical specification for your modules will be made available when you
register. Please note, technical specifications do change over time to match computer developments and the way we teach.
The Open University is the world’s leading provider of flexible, high quality distance learning. Unlike other universities
we are not campus based. You will study in a flexible way that works for you whether you’re at home, at work or on the move.
As an OU student you’ll be supported throughout your studies – your tutor or study adviser will guide and advise you, offer detailed
feedback on your assignments, and help with any study issues. Tuition might be in face-to-face groups, via online
tutorials, or by phone.
For more information read
Distance learning explained.