MA International Approaches to Early Childhood Education

Study mode

Full-time (1 year)

Part-time (2 years)

Start date(s)

September 2019

Tuition fees 19/20
Home (full-time, per year): £6,900
Home (per credit): £38.35
International (full-time, per year): £13,950

Contact details

General enquiries:

0151 231 5090

Education Health and Community (Education)

0151 231 5340

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About this course

This International Approaches to Early Childhood Education MA enables graduates and educational professionals to evaluate their practice in a global context.

  • Compare different international ideas with personal experience
  • Learn with research-active staff and early childhood professionals
  • Critically engage with the theoretical and practical issues of ECE
  • Enhance your learning with an optional UK or European work related experience

This MA challenges your thinking and understanding around the purpose of knowledge and education to promote socially just, participatory and democratic practice often associated with international pedagogies in early childhood education (ECE).

With current pressures of accountability in England and elsewhere, there is a pressing need to empower practitioners and children as agents of change. This innovative MA considers early years learning beyond the school curriculum, with a focus on international practice. 

The course explores the philosophy and practice of early childhood education and its potential impact on diverse international societies. By developing a deep and broad knowledge base, you will be able to challenge values and assumptions, developing socially just policies and inclusive, ethical practice.


The programme enables students with a wide range of professional and cultural experiences to study alongside each other and share their knowledge. It advocates a critical approach, offering particular insight into international ideas and pedagogies, questioning early learning outcomes generated by Western educational practices. Suitable for new graduates and returning learners, it can be studied as a pre-cursor to a practice qualification in early childhood education or by existing practitioners who want to expand their knowledge and understanding of global theory and its relationship with practice.

Fees and funding

There are many ways to fund postgraduate study for home and international students


The fees quoted at the top of this page cover registration, tuition, supervision, assessment and examinations as well as:

  • Library membership with access to printed, multimedia and digital resources
  • Access to programme-appropriate software
  • Library and student IT support
  • Free on-campus wifi via eduroam

Additional costs

Although not all of the following are compulsory/relevant, you should keep in mind the costs of:

  • accommodation and living expenditure
  • books (should you wish to have your own copies)
  • printing, photocopying and stationery
  • PC/laptop (should you prefer to use your own)
  • mobile phone/tablet (to access online services)
  • field trips (travel and activity costs)

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  • placements (travel expenses and living costs)
  • student visas (international students only)
  • study abroad opportunities (travel costs, accommodation, visas and immunisations)
  • academic conferences (travel costs)
  • professional-body membership
  • graduation (gown hire etc)


There are many ways to fund postgraduate study for home and international students. From Postgraduate Masters Loans to International Scholarships and subject-specific funding, you’ll find all of the information you need on our specialist postgraduate funding pages.


Further your career prospects

LJMU has an excellent employability record with 96% (HESA 2017) of our postgraduates in work or further study six months after graduation. Our applied learning techniques and strong industry connections ensure our students are fully prepared for the workplace on graduation and understand how to apply their knowledge in a real world context.

This programme will help you to develop a host of transferable skills which will benefit a wide variety of career roles.

The research experience will provide a foundation for, or an enhancement of, teaching related qualifications.

As a graduate you may go on to teach or work as part of a multi-agency team or in children's rights charities. You may also work in non-governmental or creative organisations, or even undertake further educational research.

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Course modules

Discover the building blocks of your programme

Your programme is made up of a number of core modules which are part of the course framework. Some programmes also have optional modules that can be selected to enhance your learning in certain areas and many feature a dissertation, extended report or research project to demonstrate your advanced learning.

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Core Modules

Philosophies of Early Childhood Education

This module provides knowledge of philosophies relating to early childhood education.

Research Methods

This module encourages you to identify and critically evaluate appropriate research methods and methodologies for your own research.

The Critically Reflective Practitioner

This module critically reflects on personal values, beliefs and assumptions in relation to early childhood practice and the implications of relevant theory and research on your own educational practice.

Early Childhood Education Curricula in an International Context

This diploma-level module is designed to start with what you know about Early Childhood Education. A comparative overview of curriculum ideologies will help you to develop your individual perspective. The disruption of some commonly held beliefs is a key feature of the module. It enables you to develop a:

  • critically reflexive lens in exploring international ideologies within a framework of curriculum theory
  • critical and creative response to international Early Childhood Education
  • supportive foundation for future modules associated with reflexive, reflective practice and research

Democracy and Participation in Early Childhood Education

This module will develop a critical understanding of the rationale, issues and debates related to enhancing the democratic participation of diverse groups of young children in a range of education and care contexts to plan for future research and practice.

Global Issues, Childhoods and Education

The module is designed to engage you in a critical analysis of contemporary global issues affecting children and their families, drawing on key debates in education and care.


This module aims to provide an opportunity for you to integrate the skills, knowledge, theory and practice that have been learned in the previous modules. You will design, plan and conduct a research project either as an empirical project or as a theoretical study.


An insight into teaching on your course

Study hours

University sessions are typically timetabled one day a week, and there are some Saturday study days,. The emphasis is on independent, self-guided study.

Teaching methods

You will learn through lectures by staff and visiting experts, tutorials, seminars, placements, podcasts, Skype sessions, case studies, group discussions and workshops.

Applied learning

You can enhance your academic learning with voluntary work in Europe and/or the UK which will provide a valuable insight into the impact of different European cultures on their approaches to education.

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How learning is monitored on your programme

To cater for the wide-ranging content of our courses and the varied learning preferences of our students, we offer a range of assessment methods on each programme. Assessment techniques vary from module to module to reflect relevant assessment approaches and the key learning points of each topic.

Assessment methods on this programme include: coursework, presentations, academic writing, reviews, projects, individual and group presentations, case studies, vivas and the dissertation.

Course tutors

Our staff are committed to the highest standards of teaching and learning

Naomi McLeod

Naomi McLeod

Programme Leader

After many years of teaching across Early Years and Key Stage 1 and as a Deputy Head teacher, Naomi led Early Childhood and the Undergraduate and Postgraduate Early Years Teacher Education programme at Liverpool Hope University. She now teaches at LJMU across Early Childhood and Education Studies and leads this MA. Her doctorate focused on developing pedagogical participation for young children, and critical reflection as a tool for Continued Professional Development for early childhood educators across the sector. This focus on valuing children as agents of change continues to be a research interest evident in her published work and in the working partnerships she has developed with educators and creative professionals in the field of Early Years, creativity and participation. Naomi is currently leading a team of co-authors from Sweden, Finland and New Zealand writing a book entitled ‘Empowering Early Childhood Educators: International Approaches as Provocation’ which will be published soon.

I enjoy working with students, looking at different aspects of practice across early childhood education and, in particular, developing an appreciation and understanding of participatory and creative learning approaches.

School facilities

What you can expect from your School

Based in IM Marsh Campus, the School of Education benefits from independent study spaces with IT facilities, a cafeteria and shop, a fitness room and access to student welfare and support. In addition to these facilities, you will find high quality meeting and seminar rooms and lecture theatres and an on-site library.

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Entry requirements

You will need:

  • a 2:2 with substantial practical experience in an early years setting


  • a minimum 2:1 with less practical experience


  • an Enhanced Disclosure from the Disclosure and Barring Service (formally the Criminal Records Bureau – CRB) 

Additional information

  • RPL is accepted on this programme
  • IELTS score 6.5 (minimum 5.5 in each component)

If you have any specific queries, please contact

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Please note: All international qualifications are subject to a qualification equivalency check via NARIC.

View country specific entry requirements

Contact LJMU's International Admissions Team for guidance on visa information. Further information is also available from our international web pages.

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Application and selection

Securing your place at LJMU

You will apply for the majority of postgraduate courses using our online application form. You should complete the form thoroughly and provide a detailed personal statement which reflects your suitability and aptitude for the programme.

The University reserves the right to withdraw or make alterations to a course and facilities if necessary; this may be because such changes are deemed to be beneficial to students, are minor in nature and unlikely to impact negatively upon students or become necessary due to circumstances beyond the control of the University. Where this does happen, the University operates a policy of consultation, advice and support to all enrolled students affected by the proposed change to their course or module.
Further information on the terms and conditions of any offer made, our admissions policy and the complaints and appeals process.