PP0623 - Young Children as Meaning Makers

What will I learn on this module?

This module builds upon your learning of child development theory at levels 4 and 5 and will focus on the young child as a maker and interpreter of meaning. You will consider the ways in which adults can support or hinder children’s developing skills and the extent to which cultural attitudes and government policy may impact on children’s freedom to express and communicate their feelings and ideas. It will immerse you in thinking about the development of young children as meaning makers and communicators. You will be encouraged to explore theoretical approaches to early language and communication and to evaluate critically where appropriate the effectiveness of approaches within current policy and practice to this important area of early child development. You will also become accomplished in applying your understanding of these perspectives through observations of children as communicators. Through this experience you will be able to analyse critically a variety of methodological approaches and theoretical stances within this discipline The module will address themes such as attachment and the importance of early interaction, the environment, the role of the adult, multi model observation techniques observation as a research methodology and report writing for a professional and parent audience

How will I learn on this module?

You will be able to learn in a wide variety of ways in this module. Your self-directed reading and learning activity will form an important part of your learning, as will a structured programme of lectures and follow-up seminars. Seminars will provide you with an opportunity to discuss and develop your thinking in a small group. A range of electronic and interactive resources will be available via the Electronic Learning Portal (eLP), including tutor’s video explanations and summaries which will complement lecture material, discussion boards and appropriate use of social media tools. Your development of knowledge and understanding in this module will be shaped by your ability to relate theories and concepts of meaning making through examples of early communication using a series of specifically created video clips which are embedded into the lectures and seminars. You will use theory, observational skills and practical analysis to demonstrate your understanding of meaning making in young children.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Tutors will support your learning through a variety of ways on this module. They will provide a programme of lectures which relate to the learning outcomes for the module; these lectures will make connections between theory and practice. Additionally, you will have the opportunity to work in a smaller seminar group where you will have the opportunity to discuss lecture content and develop both your observation skills and the ability to carry out a detailed analysis linked to theory. Contact details for all tutors for this module are available in the module handbook and via the eLP. You will be supported during the course of the module with a range of formative tasks designed to inform your development towards your summative assessment. Additionally, opportunities are built in to the module for tutorials where your draft work and ideas towards your summative assessment can be discussed with peers and module tutors.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:

1. You will critically analyse, discuss and apply theoretical approaches to the domain of meaning making in relation to the development of the young child.

2. You will evaluate critically the notion of developmentally appropriate strategies in relation to facilitating children’s skills as communicators and meaning

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

3. You will demonstrate a critical understanding and application of different methodologies and multi model methods used in observation taking a multi-agency perspective.

4. Critically reflect on key understandings in relation to unit content and be able to make recommendations for effective service development.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

5. You will use opportunities to reflect upon personal values and ethical consideration in relation to early child development and your role as a researcher.

How will I be assessed?

Summative assessment for this module is in two parts, both submitted together as one component

Assessment 1:
A 1,500 word essay accounting for 30% of your overall mark which addresses the concept of meaning making. (MLO 1, 2)

Assessment 2:
A 2,500 analysis of an observation of a young child/ children using a selected video clip.
You will carry out the observation and produce a detailed written transcript that will be included to support your analysis. (MLO 3, 4, 5)

b. Additional formative assessment
Semester 1- working in small groups you will find an appropriate and up to date journal article relating to the key themes of the module and of relevance to assignment 1. You will summarise the key points and present to the seminar group. Students and tutors will give feedback.

Semester 2- you will prepare a presentation in which findings from an observation will be interpreted in the light of your understanding of appropriate theory and presented to small groups of peers for discussion and development.

In addition, for both assignments there will be opportunities built into the module for you to develop a detailed plan addressing both structure and content of your planned work, demonstrating ways in which you will meet the published assessment criteria. Tutors will specify the format of the plan which will require a series of narrative summaries of proposed material divided by sections and will also require details of references to academic literature. Students will receive a group tutorial to support them in the development of this plan and will submit this plan in sufficient time to receive detailed written formative feedback from module tutors.

You will receive feedback on the summative assessment via:

Written comments on assessed work, highlighting strengths and weaknesses and indicating pathways to the further development of knowledge and skills. Areas of concern will be linked to positive advice on how to address issues.





Module abstract


Course info

UCAS Code W3P9

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time

Department Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing

Location Coach Lane Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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