Early Childhood

This course will give you a professional qualification to teach children from aged birth to five years in early childhood education settings.

The innovative four-year teacher education program incorporates introductory and advanced curriculum units, a strong social justice and leadership focus, placement experiences in early-childhood settings that exceed minimum requirements, scope to develop and apply research skills in an honours strand, and opportunities to develop strong practitioner inquiry skills.

You will study specialist units in early childhood education and development, complemented by generalist units in education and professional studies, as well as elective units of study in the sciences, social sciences and humanities offered by the University of Sydney Business School and faculties of Science, and Arts and Social Sciences. Students who meet eligibility requirements can elect to do an Honours stream, which provides opportunities to conduct research and develop specialist knowledge in an area of interest.

As a graduate you will be equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to become an outstanding early childhood teacher, professional decision maker, ethical leader and theoretical, reflective and critical thinker.

You will be well prepared to meet the Australian Professional Teaching Standards and gain employment in diverse early childhood 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, and 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 studies in two elective units from the Arts, Business and Science faculties.

Second Year

In the second year, students build on skills and concepts learned in their first year by developing their understanding of early childhood curriculum, with a focus on literacy, science and the arts. As developing teaching professionals students will consider early childhood education from social justice, sociological, and psychological perspectives, and develop skills in interpersonal and workplace communication. Students undertake their first professional experience in this second year.

Third Year

Students in their third year broaden their curriculum knowledge in maths and the creative arts, and begin to consider early childhood education from inclusive, management and leadership perspectives. Emphasis is placed this on the early learning of infants and toddlers. 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. This year students will also develop skills as teacher-researchers, either through the Honours stream or in an educational research unit.

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.

Contact/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

Learning Outcomes

Throughout your degree students will teach in a range of early learning centres and preschools for children aged birth to five years. Qualified early childhood teachers are in high demand and early childhood education is a high priority for both Commonwealth and state governments in Australia. Australia has more early childhood care centres than schools. The BEd(Early Childhood) qualification is not suitable for teachers seeking employment in the primary-school sector; it is listed under the Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) approved qualification list.

We aim for our graduates to have developed the necessary attitudes and attributes to complete complex tasks, as well as the humanity and maturity necessary for professional teaching. Graduates will be able to critically analyse not only their own professional development, but also professional and policy developments in the sector, and to use these analyses to construct and implement appropriate programs for infants, toddlers and preschool-aged children.