Through core modules you develop your understanding of the way children explore, develop, think and learn and the meaning of their play. You increase your understanding of the importance of health and emotional wellbeing to young children and the need to work closely with parents and other agencies to safeguard them. During your second year you choose two elective modules. There is a variety to choose from and they include forest schools, various aspects of special needs education. You also learn about the importance of play in young children's lives. There is also the opportunity to travel internationally as part of the Erasmus programme. Erasmus is a student exchange programme which offers studying and working abroad in Europe for three to twelve months. In your final year you consider children's participation, develop leadership qualities and complete a research project linked to your interests and work-based learning. This provides a strong foundation for any career working with young children and their families. During the course you gain knowledge in • early childhood education • safeguarding • child development • the health and culture of children under eight years. You can develop your interests and career aims by focusing on particular areas, such as • children’s friendships • forest school • gender and identity • working with families • popular culture • young children’s wellbeing • young children's medical needs • children and autism. **Work placements** As well as theoretical understanding, you develop your professional experience and confidence working in a range of early childhood environments. We offer placement opportunities in a variety of settings, such as • schools • children's centres • woodland schools • outreach work • child minders • independent schools • children's hospitals. Placements take up around 25 days of each of the first two years and 22 days of your final year. They are designed to give you a wide range of experience in working with young children and families, enhancing your career prospects after you graduate. You develop a range of practical skills, such as how to • identify and support children’s individual needs • build appropriate and trusting relationships with children and their families • understand play situations in order to develop practice and experiences for young children • listen to children and understand how they think. **Teaching** Your studies are led by a team of lecturers with extensive and varied professional experience in key services for children and families. Many lecturers are published authors and researchers, driving forward knowledge in their areas. You take part in small tutorial groups who meet regularly to link practice to your academic studies. You then build on this experience with work-based learning in relevant maintained, private, voluntary and independent settings, including • children’s centres • schools • preschools • day nurseries • outreach workers • child-minders • specialist support groups. **Early years educator qualification (DFE approved)** If you do not already have a Level 3 early years qualification, you can complete this alongside your degree. This allows you to gain an equivalent award, which lets you take up employment as a qualified member of staff in early years settings. To achieve this qualification you need to possess Maths and English GCSEs. **Forest Schools** If you have an interest in young children’s outdoor learning, you can choose an optional module to gain a Level 2 practical skills qualification in Forest Schools. You link theory to practice whilst in the woods in the south east of Sheffield. You work alongside tutors and wildlife officers to develop your understanding of different learning environments and gain some new practical skills to use with young children. We are constantly looking for teaching opportunities to reflect current early years thinking and therefore enhance your employment prospects.