University of Sydney Handbooks - 2019 Archive

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Education (Early Childhood)

About the degree

Students will study for four years comprising of specialist units in early childhood education and development, which are complemented by generalist units in education and professional studies. Students will complete 90 days of professional experience in up to four different early childhood settings. The degree has a strong emphasis on social justice and leadership in early childhood contexts. Students additionally have the opportunity to complete elective units of study in the sciences, social sciences and humanities subject areas that are offered by the University of Sydney Business School, Faculty of Science and Arts and Social Sciences.

As a graduate students will be well prepared to meet the Australian Professional Teaching Standards. This course will give students a professional qualification to teach children from birth to five years of age in early childhood education settings.

Requirements for completion

To qualify for the award of the Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood), a candidate must complete 192 credit points of units of study as described in the unit of study table.

First year

In the first year students develop foundational and critical understandings of early childhood education, as well as education and teaching more broadly. Students will develop knowledge about, and the skills to apply, historical and philosophical approaches to early childhood education, play-based learning, child development, and the health and wellbeing of young children. This foundation is complemented by elective units of study in the sciences, social sciences and humanities subject areas.

Second Year

Early childhood curriculum, such as literacy, science and the arts are focused on in this second year. As developing teacher- professionals students consider early childhood education from social justice, psychological and sociological perspectives and develop skills in interpersonal and workplace communication. Students undertake their first professional experience in this second year, introducing them to the role of the teacher in early childhood.

Third Year

In the third year, students are introduced to the early learning of infants and toddlers. Students will broaden their curriculum knowledge through learning about maths and extending their application of the creative arts in early childhood education. New perspectives will be taught, including inclusive education and management and leadership. This year students also develop skills as teacher-researchers, either through the Honours stream or in an educational research unit. Students implement the knowledge and skills developed from their cumulative studies, and critically reflect on themselves as developing pre-service teachers in two professional experience placements.

Fourth Year

In the final year, students acquire an advanced understanding of the discipline of early childhood education by undertaking advanced studies in STEM and language and literacy. Students’ critical and analytical thinking skills will be enhanced as they critique early childhood policy and consider themselves as advocates for young children and the early childhood teaching profession. Students will also learn to apply knowledge about working with families through service learning opportunities. High-level research skills will be developed through consideration of researching with, rather than on, children, and for Honours students, the completion of a research thesis. This final year culminates with students undertaking an internship and concurrent practitioner inquiry project. The internship encourages students’ growing independence as critically reflective early childhood professionals.


The Education honours program is available to all students enrolled in an undergraduate education degree within the Sydney School of Education and Social Work.

Education honours is an integrated program undertaken during the final three semesters of an undergraduate degree. For students enrolled in four-year degrees, the program commences in Semester Two, Year 3.

Students enrolled in the honours program are required to undertake two honours units of study, and complete an honours dissertation.

Contact and further information

Sydney School of Education and Social Work
Students may visit the Office of Professional Engagement and Program Support:
Level 3, Education Building A35. The office is open Monday to Thursday 10am–4pm and Friday 10am–1pm

Email: Submit a question online