Introduction to Childhood Studies

The details
Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Undergraduate: Level 4
Thursday 03 October 2024
Friday 27 June 2025
12 June 2024


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA L520 Childhood Studies,
BA L521 Childhood Studies (Including Year Abroad),
BA L522 Childhood Studies (Including Placement Year),
BA L523 Childhood Studies (Including Foundation Year)

Module description

This module offers an introduction to studying childhood issues at local and global levels. The overall aim is to enhance students' interests in children and childhood by exploring diverse issues about and approaches to childhood. It takes an interdisciplinary approach to childhood issues, looking at children and young people in the contexts of psychology, sociology, history, research, media, culture, consumption, law, children's rights, family, education, and work.

The module offers an international perspective by including cultural specificity and variation as well as global concerns about and interventions into childhood issues. The coverage of the topics is also inclusive of some groups of children and young people who might often be marginalised or have more recently emerged or been recognised in society. These include topics related to new digital media, consumer culture, gender and sexuality, delinquency, disability, and diverse forms of family aided by the technology of assisted conception.

Throughout the module, we will explore how we gain an understanding of childhood; how children and childhood are conceptualised and treated by adults and society; how children and young people themselves view and experience their lives; and what kinds of inequality and power relationships might exist in the interplay between childhood and the world.

The module will encourage students to embrace alternative views and ways of thinking, including psychosocial and psychoanalytic approaches, and to think for themselves about how we could gain a closer understanding of individual children and young people's lives and experiences by allow them to advocate for themselves.

Module aims

The aims of the module are:

  • To provide a foundation for working either with children or in fields relevant to childhood

  • To introduce the basic knowledge and vocabulary for engaging with the extensive fields of research and wide range of topics related to children and young people 

  • To offer tools for critical engagement with the materials introduced, and encourage students to work towards better informed and considered evaluation of each topic encountered

  • To extend students’ knowledge of the wide range of issues surrounding children and childhood, developing students’ awareness of various discourses about childhood in particular contexts

  • To encouraging student’s self-awareness about their own beliefs and preconceptions about childhood

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be expected to be able to:

  1. Gain an overview of the interdisciplinary field of childhood studies. They will develop their understanding of diverse ways in which children and childhood have been studied, discussed, and treated

  2. Gain an overview of the interdisciplinary field of childhood studies. They will develop their understanding of diverse ways in which children and childhood have been studied, discussed, and treated

  3. Acquire skills to critically assess evidence. They will become able to distinguish grounded evidence from other kinds of information, examine the significance and limitations of evidence, and discuss debates on the basis of balanced evaluation of evidence

  4. Become able to use the evidence of children’s and young people’s own experiences as described in research, and gain an understanding of how children and young people themselves shape childhood as well as how childhood is constructed by adults and society

  5. Become able to question what is considered normal or natural about childhood, and use variety of evidence cautiously to achieve a more holistic understanding of issues about childhood

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered via:

  • 20 x 1hr lectures
  • 20 x 1hr discussion seminars


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Critical Summary    15% 
Coursework   Short Essay    30% 
Coursework   2000 word Essay     55% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Katharina Rowold, email:
Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies
Student Administrator Room 5A.202; telephone 01206 874969; email



External examiner

Prof Heather Montgomery
The Open University
Professor of Anthropology and Childhood
Available via Moodle
Of 93 hours, 47 (50.5%) hours available to students:
4 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
42 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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