How is the course structured?
The Edexcel BTEC Child Care Studies HND course is divided into sixteen comprehensive units:
Unit 1: Using information, communication and technology ICT in the study of Childcare Studies
1. Information, communication and technology (ICT) comprises core skills for learning. In this distance learning course utilisation of methods, tools and strategies of ICT is important in order to establish and maintain a sound working relationship with tutors and the college.
Students will need to develop ICT skills in order to communicate effectively and maximise their study progression.
2. The first unit explains how to set up an ePortfolio which students will use during the lifetime of the course for storage of all their files including coursework, self-assessment activities, independent research notes and reflective journals. The ePortfolio may be requested from time to time by tutors and moderators. Students will be asked at various points in the course to upload files for this purpose. The ePortfolio will not only provide students with a structured system of unique information but once completed can be used as a resource for continuing professional development (CPD), and a body of revision for future studies.
3. Independent research is fundamental to level H5 study and also equips students with confidence to source and evaluate information relevant to the core course topics.
In this first unit of the BTEC in Childcare Studies course students are presented with tools and strategies with which to begin to undertake independent research and integrate this into coursework activities, for example suggesting ways to read research articles and assimilate types of information from these.
4. The development of knowledge and understanding through writing skills is important for communicating ideas and arguments to tutors and other readers of written work. Therefore this unit reviews writing skills, and incorporates reflective writing into both the course and coursework activities. Reflective writing is a way that individuals can review their own approaches to learning and communication; and it also promotes pro-active implementation of skills enhancement through tutor feedback and self-assessment
Unit 2: Essential anatomy and physiology part 1
1. Homeostasis can be described as a basic principle of biological order in which a constant condition of balance between opposing forces within the body can be maintained. The body’s internal environment is rigidly controlled and this state needs to remain as constant as possible within certain ranges. The process of homeostasis is controlled by sophisticated mechanisms which are sensitive to changes that affect the body’s internal environment, and they respond accordingly
2. The circulatory system incorporates the cardiovascular system, respiratory system and components of blood. Oxygen transportation and removal of waste products of respiration are also included in this section
3. The unit also examines the structure and functions of the musculoskeletal system and central nervous system, incorporating relevant discussion of homeostatic maintenance
To achieve this unit a learner must :
1 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of anatomy and physiology of the circulatory systems, musculoskeletal system and central nervous system
2 Identify key homeostatic mechanisms related to the human body and the body systems covered in the unit
3 Be able to discuss negative and positive feedback loops in homeostatic maintenance
4 Understand the physiological processes in growth and repair of the body systems covered in the unit
Unit 3: Essential anatomy and physiology part 2
1. The digestive system is a group of organs responsible for digestion, or the process by which food is broken down and used for energy within the body. This unit examines the structure and function of each of these organs and explains the processes by which energy transfer occurs f
2. The endocrine system consists of several unconnected glands. These glands contain groups of secretory cells which are surrounded by dense networks of capillaries, allowing the diffusion of the hormones they produce, into the bloodstream.
Hormones are chemical messengers which target specific organs and tissues in the body, influencing growth and metabolism. Although the endocrine system, which is under the control of the ANS is partially responsible for homeostatic maintenance, its main role is control of precise and slow changes of this state.
3. The unit also describes the role of the special senses in homeostatic maintenance through explanation of structure, function and other mechanisms. Within this section the urinary system, together with osmoregulation and thermoregulation are described and explained.
4. Reproductive processes, together with DNA replications is described and explained
Unit 4: Embryology and foetal development
1. The human embryo develops across three interrelated phases which are dependent upon timed development of organs and structures. This unit describes each stage. The change from embryo to foetus signifies that the growing individual has now assumed human characteristics and will continue to grow, develop and mature within the uterus. The mechanisms of this change are explained
2. There are several times during the gestational period when the developing embryo and foetus is particularly vulnerable. Damage may occur through exposure to toxic substances, and in addition, maternal factors can impair growth or even kill the embryo. Exposure to these substances may result in congenital abnormalities developing. The unit explores these periods and explains the possible consequences and outcomes of exposure
3. Embryonic and foetal anatomy and physiology are described in detail and the homeostatic processes which maintain life in utero are discussed
Unit 5: Birth and beyond
1. Labour is the process by which the foetus is expelled by the action of the uterus contracting. His process is thought to be under the influence of placental and uterine hormone actions. The unit explains and describes each of the stages of labour and expulsion, together with post partum processes
2. The Apgar test refers to a series of tests carried out on the new born baby to assess certain characteristics of development. The tests are carried out at repeated intervals following birth, with the initial one occurring usually within the first 5 minutes following delivery
During the first year of life many milestones are reached in a baby’s life, in addition to the maturation of body systems, and psychological adjustment to life outside the uterus. The following table gives a basic outline of some of these milestones. Bear in mind that the specified times vary for each individual, and non-conformation to these guidelines does not automatically indicate that there are developmental problems with the child.
Years 1 to 4. During this period the child begins to develop their cognitive skills and language. Years 4 to 9 covers the period when the child starts school and can be difficult emotionally, both for parents and children
3. Developmental progress is measured by height and weight. Several accepted ranges which correlate to age are used to assess a child’s physical progress, and indeed whether they are underweight, overweight, or not tall enough for their age. These measurements can be an indication that there is something wrong with the child, and failure to thrive is usually investigated by professionals.
4. Adolescence is seen as a transition between childhood and adulthood, and has been recognised as a life stage since the late 19 th century when it became apparent that individuals required specific educational and developmental attention during this phase of life. More recently adolescents have become the key focus within family groups, for government policy development and within service provision frameworks.
Unit 6: Language, speech development and attachment
1. We are all guilty to a greater or lesser degree, of taking language and the ability to speak, for granted. Most of us are amazed at the utterance of the baby’s first word, and yet know little about the processes by which the first steps to vocalization of thoughts and perceptions are enabled.
In addition to relating words to specific objects, people, places and time, there are the more complex components of language to acquire; plurals, verbs, nouns, adjectives, and so on. In isolation, the words are just empty containers with no meaning. Without the knowledge of meaning, repetition of words is pointless and of little relevance within the process of human interaction. Therefore these key issues are explored in the unit
2. From the sights and sounds in their world, babies quickly learn the skills of recognition and categorization. This is when words are recognized and then grouped according to type of object, place, person etc. This makes it easier to recall the word from memory when exposed to an item from a particular category
3. Babies and children are ardent communicators and have innate qualities and characteristics which enable them to form and develop relationships with those around them. Adults respond to this communication by lavishing attention on the baby or child providing numerous and different stimuli. The unit identifies these stimuli and discusses how babies and children develop their communication skills
4. Attachments are emotional bonds between one person and their ‘attachment object‘. For babies and young children these objects are the people that care for them. As we grow up and progress through life, the attachment objects are extended and change to include perhaps siblings, friends, partners, children, and grand children. For babies, attachments are particularly important, as they are so vulnerable and reliant on their caregivers. In this section of the unit attachment theories are discussed and evaluated
Unit 7: Childhood illness
1. This unit presents comprehensive details about the signs, symptoms and treatments of common childhood illnesses
2. We have been able to make use of the immune system's memory to make people immune artificially to certain diseases even without ever having caught them. The trick is to inject with an antigen that will promote the primary immune response, but has been modified so that it is non-virulent (or non-pathogenic), i.e. will not cause the disease.
The immune system is thus fooled into making memory cells so that if the person is ever infected to the real virulent pathogen, the more powerful secondary immune response is triggered and the pathogen is killed before it can cause the disease. This technique is called vaccination and is commonly used to provide artificial immunity to a number of potentially-fatal diseases. In the UK, children are commonly vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, measles, mumps, rubella and TB.
3. There are several different ways of making vaccines. In each case the aim is to make an antigen that is good enough to bind to antibodies and so stimulate an immune response, but defective in some way so that it will not cause a disease. This section examines the history of vaccine and how different vaccines are currently produced
4. Vaccines are effective in preventing disease not only in individuals, but also in communities, and therefore can be useful in epidemiology. This type of protection is called herd immunity due to the spread of infection being from one individual to another. The vaccine works by reducing susceptibility and this eventually breaks the disease cycle altogether resulting in eradication or ultimate control of the disease. His section of the unit discusses specific eradication and also presents example immunisation schedules
Unit 8: Basic nutrition for children
1. All living organisms, including humans, need food and water, for the following reasons:
- To stay alive and to carry out the key activities of ingestion, digestion, absorption, respiration, movement and co-ordination, circulation, excretion and reproduction.
- To control and regulate our metabolic processes.
- To build up our resistance to, and fight, illness and disease.
- To enable growth, repair and maintenance of our muscles, bones, organs and tissues.
2. We can define hunger as the natural, protective means of ensuring our body receives the fuel it needs to function well. Whereas appetite is a trained response to food; a reaction (of senses or psychological) that encourages an involuntary physiological response
3. The nutrients in our food provide energy, promote growth and development and regulate our bodily functions. A variety of these nutrients are needed to keep fit and healthy particularly if you are generally active. Our body depends on these nutrients, as it is unable to produce sufficient amounts on its own.
There are six major groups of nutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, fats and oils (otherwise known as lipids), vitamins, minerals and water.
They all work together in our bodies to provide good nutrition to enable us to achieve optimal health, with each nutrient performing a specific function. If just one of these nutrients is missing from our diet, then, our bodies are at a disadvantage.
4. Nutritional and dietary intake depends on the age of the child. Up to about three months they will be on a milk diet (either breast or formula). After this solids are gradually introduced. By about six months the child will be eating a large proportion of their daily calorific intake via solids and weaning may begin. This is entirely dependent upon the wishes of the parents, and the progress the individual child has made in this area.
Generally, once a child has been fully weaned, the diet should be balanced and contain all food groups. There may be restrictions if there is milk intolerance or allergies. If you are working with children, these will be specifically noted on child records.
Unit 9: Cognitive development
1. Cognition is the process of knowing, in other words, knowing something about an object, person or event in terms of structure, form or purpose. Cognition also can be described as the perception of the object, person or event. For example the recognition of another person by knowing certain characteristics about them from previous encounters and memories that are laid down.
2. Our visual systems really begin to develop in complex terms during the first year of life. Although it is difficult to establish exactly how immature the system is at any given time, through the evidence of discriminatory and recognition studies, a fairly accurate overview can be obtained, and these developments have direct bearing on cognition.
3. As with vision, there has been suggestion that there is some form of innate auditory preference in the new born child but their preferences could easily be learned ones. We know, for example, that babies in the womb can hear sounds, and become accustomed to the pitch and tones of their mother’s voice. They can hear music, loud noises, and specifically attune to the mother’s heartbeat. If this is accepted as fact, then the new born infant would already have experience and limited knowledge of sounds which would lead to them expressing auditory preferences. Equally, during the first months of life, the infant is bombarded with auditory stimuli which may mistakenly present as auditory preference when it is in fact a learned response. Again, each individual will have their own opinion on the evidence of studies, and of course, as with vision, this may change with experience and gaining further knowledge of the subject.
4. The unit will present extensive evaluation of theories relating to cognitive development
Unit 10: Educational development
1. This unit is comprehensively integrated with theories and critical evaluation. It also draws comparisons between UK and other international education development strategies, and looks at education for social perspectives
In the UK virtually all children between the ages of five and 16 spend about half their waking hours in school during term time, which amounts to around 15,000 hours of their lives in total. Regardless of the medium of delivery, education is of vital importance to society and, as such, is of considerable interest to sociologists. This interest is wide ranging and is not only confined to schools, but includes lifelong learning and encompasses a great many social contexts.
2. Both functionalists and Marxists agree that one of educations’ most essential functions is to reproduce culture through socialisation. However, they vehemently disagree on the outcome of such social reproduction, especially on the aspect of education known as the ‘hidden curriculum’. Proponents of both theories agree that there is a strong link between education and the economy, although – again – they profoundly disagree as to the benefits of this link. Functionalists see the economic functions of society as benefiting all its members, while Marxists see them as primarily benefiting an economic elite.
3. The correlation between attainment and social class is well established and this section of the unit deals with class-related underachievement. Children from less affluent backgrounds achieve less well than their richer counterparts at every key stage level of education, and are significantly under- represented in post-compulsory education. Although the attainment of children from poor backgrounds has improved, so has that of more affluent children. This means that the gap between rich and poor has actually increased over the past century.
4. From the 1980s onwards parents were able to choose their children’s schools, supported by data from Ofsted reports and national league tables. The impetus behind this policy was to empower parents and to turn education into a competing market in order to improve standards.
Unit 11: History of the child
1. We take childhood for granted with respect to tradition and its place in society today. However, over the past several hundred years a child’s early experiences have changed dramatically. Their place in society and family structure has become valued and one of nurture.
2. In this unit we explore the history of childhood in Britain and look at how the role of the child has changed and been shaped by historical events such as the industrial revolution. We also look at how the beginning and end of childhood has changed in terms of social perspectives and family expectations. Students will be charged with drawing comparisons to the historical similarities and differences in other countries and cultures
3. The definition of childhood is very important as the moment in which they acquire certain rights and also when they lose certain protection measures.
Childhood is a fundamental stage and its influence extends into adult life. To guarantee that children and adolescents have the best possible start in life is the way to ensure the development and progress of nations.
4. Today’s child has quite a complex existence which is shaped by legislation, intervention, communication and education.
The school leaving age in the UK is currently 16 years with the preference that all school leavers will go onto further or higher education. Therefore children are delaying entering the workplace until a much later age – sometimes 25 or 26 years.
There is a legal requirement for parents to see that their children attend school, and there are legal sanctions if this is not observed.
Child healthcare begins before birth with the ante-natal care of the mother. Following birth and until the age of 5 years children are regularly seen by the health visitor and allied healthcare professionals to check on their wellbeing, growth and development.
All these changing aspects of chide development relating to childcare are discussed
Unit 12: Child psychology
1. One would think that with a broad range of general psychology branches we would not need a separate one for children. However when considering the uniqueness of childhood development and experience it will become clear that our modern society demands specific methodologies and approaches tailored to children.
Within this unit the aims and objectives of child psychology are examined. Methods of research will be presented and discussed, together with ethical considerations which are specific to children.
2. There will be discussions on the justification of a separate branch of psychology for children and exploration of what this means in terms of the social perspective. Also in this unit we look athow children are reared and common practices, legislation and influences which shape this process. What are the influences that parents bring to bear during this process, and what are the long term effects of this?
Today’s childhood experience is unique in terms of expectations, opportunity and social perspectives. The module looks at the experience of the modern child from an holistic viewpoint and asks ‘what is that experience’?
Unit 13: Learning through play and interaction
1. In previous units the psychological and sociological perspectives on cognition were explored, as well as learning and education. This section looks at learning through play and interaction.
2. Most activities we undertake as children or adults have some structure to them, even if is by way of putting aside time to undertake the activity. The educational type structure refers mainly to play that has a particular outcome in mind, for example it intends to improve literacy. Quality play could be described as play which has a specific purpose or aim. It is probably planned and structured, task-centred and designed to develop specific skills and cognitive behaviour.
3. Adults enable play through a variety of methods. They are also essential for appropriate assessment of children’s needs and therefore providing the correct stimuli. Adults also give support to the children during development of cognitive skills and engage in play activities with the children.
Unit 14: Understanding relationships
1. Building relationships is a key skill within any educational or childcare setting setting. Here we look at the underpinning theories and psychological background. Positive learning experiences is dependent on positive relationships; therefore we look at communication in detail, for example listening, body language etc. these were briefly covered in an earlier unit but here we look at how communication takes place at different ages.
2. There are many general and specialized methods and forms of communication; many we use every day without conscious thought but several are specifically learnt new or enhanced skills to use within specific learning support environments, for individuals and groups who have particular needs and requirements.
Whatever method of communication is used it has a cyclical process which is the conveyance and reception of messages that need to be disseminated.
3. Whatever method of communication is used to engage in conversation with children, it is an invaluable tool for information exchange and builds a trusting and collaborative relationship.
4. Most activities we undertake as children or adults have some structure to them, even if is by way of putting aside time to undertake the activity. The educational type structure refers mainly to play that has a particular outcome in mind, for example it intends to improve literacy.
Unit 15: Working with children
1. In the United Kingdom there are several provisions for childcare and pre-school education both in local authority run establishments, privately run premises and voluntary centres. Students are charged with drawing comparisons to their own locality, region and wider demographic area
2. Everyone within the childcare environment needs to have clearly defined roles and responsibilities. Inclusion in decision making processes is essential for staff involved. Those who work in these settings should have clear job descriptions, and volunteers must also have a definitive, if informal agreement.
3. The unit looks at a variety of roles, responsibilities, training prerequisites and other skills related to working with children. Students will have the opportunity in the end of unit activities to research roles specific to their won demographic location
Unit 16: Legislation and safe practice for child care work
1. This unit concentrates on presenting and evaluating legislation, policy and protocol related to working with children. Much of the legislation is generic and some is applicable to UK based work. However students will be given the opportunity to undertake independent research of current legislation relating to working with children in their own demographic area and draw comparisons between the similarities and differences that may be apparent between localities, regions and countries.
All sixteen units are presented in learning outcome format, with specified assessment criteria