Child Development

Key Stage 4

Child Development

Why is the study of Child Development important? 


Being able to understand how children develop is an essential life skill that is an integral part of everyday life. Within Child Development, we aim to equip students with the skills needed to be able to work in a childcare setting, equip them with the knowledge, and understand of caring for their future families. To understand about how to stay healthy during pregnancy and to understand the different stages of childhood and the needs of the child from 0 to 5 years.

We want to develop the student’s confidence in nutrition and safety whilst simultaneously studying the developmental milestones of childhood. We also study factors that may affect expected development. For example, smoking, alcohol and drugs in pregnancy, genetic or medical factors and socio-economic factors.

We aim to support students in developing their understanding and knowledge of how children grow and develop, specifically Physical Development, Intellectual and Cognitive Development, Language and Communication Development and Social and Emotional Development. Students will also understand how these developmental phases affect and influence each other.

Students will also study how children learn from play, the different stages of play: unoccupied play, solitary play, spectator play, parallel play and associative and co-operative play. They will link these to the developmental phases and expected age related progress.

By understanding how children learn and develop, students will be able to make informed choices for further learning either generally or in this sector. Furthermore, by understanding the way in which babies and children thrive, they will also learn about what their own needs are. For example, understanding nutrition and exercise will help them to make healthy choices. This will not only benefit them physically and psychologically, but also socially and emotionally. Understanding emotions and being able to communicate using the subject language will give students the tools to grow and develop generally.

Understanding Child Development and care is an essential life skill. It is also a vital factor in the Early Years and Foundation Stage, which is one of the largest employers in the UK. It offers a variety of opportunities both regionally, nationally and internationally.

  • How will the curriculum be implemented?

    The Award gives learners the opportunity to develop applied knowledge and understanding of child

    development and growth up to the age of five, how children learn through play and how meeting the needs of individual children will support their development, play and learning.


    In a practical learning environment, learners will have the opportunity to develop knowledge and technical skills in the following areas:

    • the characteristics of children’s development from birth up to five years
    • factors that affect growth and development
    • the importance of play
    • how play promotes children’s learning and development
    • reasons why children may need support
    • child-friendly environments to support play, learning and development in children from birth to five years old
    • supporting all children to learn and develop physically, intellectually, emotionally and socially, and adapting activities to support children’s play, learning and development.


    We will ensure that all students achieve success in this subject and are able to access the Child Development curriculum. Students will be provided with demonstrations, pictorial guides and charts, examples of what quality work looks like. In addition to this, we will provide literacy resources such as key word cards and sentence starters. We also ensure that we re-cap key points to ensure that learning can be embedded and then build upon further. Our aim is to ensure that all students are challenged and that they can enjoy their time within our subject area.

  • What will the study of Child Development teach you?

    There are 3 components, 2 are internally assessed as assignments and 1 is an externally assessed examination. Learners will be able to take the examination in February and can resit in May. Component 1 and 2 are 60% and Component 3 is 40% for the whole qualification. The Components are as follows:


    • Children’s Growth and Development.
    • Learning Through Play
    • Supporting children to play, learn and develop


    The three components focus on the assessment of knowledge, skills and practices. These are all essential to developing a basis for progression and, therefore, learners need to achieve all components in order to achieve the qualification.

    The components are interrelated and they are best seen as part of integrated whole rather than as totally distinct study areas. Learners will normally take this qualification over a two-year period. This means that they must be given the opportunity to build their confidence in understanding the sector, vocational contexts and vocational attributes over a long period during the course of study before they are assessed.


    Internal assessment

    Components 1 and 2 are assessed through internal assessment. Internal assessment for these components has been designed to relate to achievement of application of the conceptual underpinning for the sector through realistic tasks and activities. This style of assessment promotes deep learning through ensuring the connection between knowledge and practice. The components focus on:

    • The development of core knowledge and understanding of the key features of children’s growth and development, and factors that can affect how children make progress between the ages of birth to five years old


    The development and application of skills, such as using play opportunities to benefit children’s learning and development. We provide authorised assignment briefs and guidance in each component. Materials can be adapted to the local contexts (Childcare Settings in Hull) and assess assignments that provide the valid and rigorous final summative assessment for each component.


    External synoptic assessment

    Component 3: Supporting Children to Play, Learn and Develop, is assessed through a single external assessment. As this component builds directly on Components 1 and 2, it enables learning to be brought together and applied to realistic contexts.


    The external assessment requires learners to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of Child Development by considering how individual circumstances across the five areas of development affect a child’s ability or capacity to learn through play and meet expected development milestones. They will apply their knowledge of techniques and skills to adapt activities to meet the individual circumstances that children may experience to ensure that all children play, learn and develop.


    Some examples of how learners could select and apply their learning include:

    • drawing on Component 1 when considering how internal and external influences could affect a child’s learning and development
    • drawing on Component 2 when planning activities to support children with additional needs to join in with play activities, and learn and develop.


    The design of this external assessment ensures that there is sufficient stretch and challenge, enabling the assessment of knowledge and understanding at the end of the learning period.

  • Careers

    The early years sector focuses on the learning, development and care of children from birth to 5 years. In the UK, there are approximately 2 million places for children aged under 5 and many different settings, ranging from childminders and nannies, to nurseries, crèches and pre-schools. Knowledge of child development is also important in a variety of healthcare roles such as paediatricians, psychologists, occupational therapists and speech and language therapists.

    There is also a range of apprenticeships where students can earn while they learn.

    Study of this sector at Key Stage 4 will complement GCSE study through providing an opportunity for practical application alongside conceptual study. There are also strong opportunities for post-16 progression in this vital sector. Progression to Level 3 or A Levels and a wealth of university courses. Child Development qualifications would be beneficial to the following career options too:


    • Early years teacher.
    • Education consultant.
    • Family support worker.
    • Health play specialist.
    • Learning mentor.
    • Play therapist.
    • Primary school teacher.
    • Special educational needs coordinator (SENCO)
    • Nursery Practitioner

Student Testimonial

really enjoy Child Development as this is the career that I intend to pursue. Not only does it cover all aspects of the way children grow and develop, but also the difficulties that a child or parents might have.

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