‘The first one thousand days of a child’s life are the most important. This is a time when a child’s life is moulded, where key skills are developed, knowledge is built, and relationships are made.’
Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years
For many years a selected number of pupils have displayed an interest in wishing to pursue a career in the early years sector or progress onto further study in this subject. It is an engaging subject where pupils use their learning in practical, real-life situations, such as: preparing a feed or meal for a child, choosing suitable equipment, planning suitable play activities, and helping to prevent accidents in a childcare setting.
We have chosen the OCR Cambridge National in Child Development as a vehicle for this study as it offers the qualification at Level 1 and Level 2 and it complements pupils learning when completing their GCSEs.
Pupils study three units over two years which are sequenced to follow the development of the child. In the first unit pupils learn about the importance of pre-conception health and how to create a safe environment for children from birth to five years. In the second unit they investigate and choose equipment that is both suitable and safe for children as well as their nutrition and dietary needs. In the third and final unit pupils learn the expected developmental norms for children from one to five years and the importance of creating plans and providing different play activities to support children in their development. Whilst unit one is assessed by an exam unit two and three are assessed by coursework. The course is taught in a way that caters to the needs of individuals and pupils have achieved success at both level one and level two.
Pupils develop independence and confidence not only relevant to the childcare sector but also applicable to other life and work situations, such as research and communication skills.
The knowledge and skills they develop also helps pupils to progress onto further study in the care sector. This may be other vocational qualifications, such as the Level 2 or Level 3 OCR Cambridge Technicals in Health and Social Care; the T Level Technical Qualification in Education and Childcare or the Early Years Educator Apprenticeship.