The Foundations of Early Childhood Education: Historical, Philosophical and Sociological Perspectives.

MQF Level 6


The Foundations of Early Childhood Education: Historical, Philosophical and Sociological Perspectives.

October 2024
Module Type
ECTS Credits
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Module Description

This module delves into the diverse foundational aspects of Early Childhood Education (ECE) through historical, philosophical, and sociological lenses to provide a comprehensive understanding of the field.

Historical Perspective: Participants will explore the historical evolution of ECE both in Malta and globally, tracing significant educational milestones alongside broader historical events, such as Malta’s EU accession and changes in compulsory schooling laws. This exploration aims to contextualize ECE within larger political and societal shifts, enriching participants’ understanding of its development.

Philosophical Perspective: The module will immerse participants in the philosophical underpinnings of ECE, encouraging them to examine and develop their own philosophical stances on education. Discussions will include contemporary philosophical research on ECE, focusing on the systemic challenges and benefits, helping participants articulate their philosophical views on educational practices and policies.

Sociological Perspective: Focusing on how societal structures influence ECE, this section will cover various sociological theories, such as Functionalist, Conflict, and Interactionist perspectives. By analyzing these theories alongside current policy documents, participants will gain insights into the social dynamics that shape educational settings and processes.

Through these multifaceted discussions, course participants will achieve a holistic perspective on ECE, enabling them to approach educational challenges and opportunities with a well-rounded, informed viewpoint.

Entry Requirements

Candidates who apply for this course will possess:

  • A full qualification at MQF level 4 in Early Childhood Education and SEC/Ordinary Level passes in Mathematics, English and Maltese.


  • 2 Advanced Level passes and 2 Intermediate Level passes including 2 subjects from Mathematics, English, Maltese.
    A pass at SEC/Ordinary Level in the subject that is not presented at advanced/intermediate level from the 3 specified above.
  • In the case of students who do not possess all the formal required academic qualifications, then the RPL process could be applied such that if evidence of equivalent learning, related to the area of study of this programme, is found then the applicant could still be accepted in the course. Such RPL process will subject applicants to an interview held with a board of experts within the field, chosen specifically by IDEA Academy, so as to verify their experiences and prior learning.

IDEA Academy’s RPL policy can be accessed through this link

Furthermore, it will be advised to students at entry point that before going on placements, they will need to be in possession of:

  • The POMA (Protection of Minors Application) certificate.
  • A first-aid certificate prior to commening placement practice.
  • A valid police conduct certificate.

Target Audience

This programme has the following target groups:

  • Individuals who are approaching the field of Early Childhood Education.
  • Individuals who have been working in the field as a means of capacity building.
  • Individuals looking to advance to Kindergarten Educator III role.

Module / Unit Instruction

The proposed structure comprises a blended approach promoting the building of a community of practice via peer-to-peer learning.

The structure uses primarily two dimensions of teaching-learning modes: · Face-to-face sessions: 18h · Online Learning Activities: 12h.

Face-to-face sessions include lectures, tutorials, discussions, presentations, and workshop activities promoting peer-to-peer learning.

Online Learning Activities incorporate tutorials and asynchronous discussions. These may consist of active interaction, participation, and contributions in fora discussions, sharing resources and self-reflection exercises.

Learners also contribute to the building of the community of practice by providing feedback to their peers as critical friends, enhancing the learner’s critical engagement throughout the study period.

The tutor provides continual support during both teaching-learning modes by providing information, readings, and tasks relevant to the module in question.

The tutor provides continuous formative feedback as an on-going guidance during the student’s learning experience in preparation for their summative assessment.

How you’ll be assessed

For this module, the assigned lecturer is guided to develop and assign a minimum of two assessment tasks, one of which should happen during the module to allow for formative feedback. Once the assessment tasks are developed by the lecturer, these go through a rigourous internal verification process to make sure that they are subject, level, and load appropriate.

All formative and summative tasks aim to provide the learner with an opportunity to produce evidence of his/her competences aligned to the learning outcomes of the modules and enhance his/her learning in the process.

Furthermore, the tasks may include different forms of assessment which allow and promote students’ knowledge in the area, critical engagement and other transversal skills that are required in the field (e.g., online discussions, in-class discussions, case studies, etc.).

The module consist of two assessments, each carrying a weighting as is below recommended:

a. Assessment 1 carries 20% of total module mark achieved. b. Assessment 2 carries 80% of total module mark achieved.

The overall grade achieved for this module is calculated as the sum of: · 80% of the mark achieved for Assessment 1; and · 20% of the mark achieved for Assessment 2.

a) Assessment 1 will be conducted in the form of a group project whereby the course participants need to argue about ECE from diverse perspectives (historical, philosophical and sociological).

b) Assessment 2  will be conducted in the form of a 2,000-word assignment whereby the course participants need to show a thorough understanding of the historical, philosophical and sociological perspectives underpinning ECE.

For successful completion of this study module the student is required to achieve an overall pass mark of 50%.


Module Intake Dates

October 2024

Learning Outcomes


At the end of the module/unit the learner will have acquired the responsibility and autonomy to:

  • Analyse further the roots and development of ECE in Malta and compare such development to a European-wide and worldwide scenario.
  • Analyse recent and ongoing philosophical and sociological beliefs on ECE in light of the local educational scenario.
  • Assess key milestones in ECE in Malta while researching events which were happening during that time, so that a historical perspective is formulated.
  • Assess the role of the ECE practitioner (Kindergarten educator) from a sociological point of view.
  • Carry out a review of the literature on different philosophical and sociological approaches within ECE, both in Malta and abroad.


At the end of the module/unit, the learner will be able to:

  • Be familiar with the local and EU documentation linked to ECE from historical, philosophical, and sociological perspectives.
  • Consolidate knowledge about how key documentation, processes and procedures contribute to philosophical and sociological understandings of ECE.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how key stakeholders in ECE contribute to its sociological predisposition.
  • Know the relevant policies which are underpinning ECE and analyse them from philosophical and sociological viewpoints.
  • Learn about key proponents and theorists of philosophical and sociological viewpoints in education.
  • Understand the ongoing philosophical and sociological meanings, understandings, and misunderstandings of ECE.
  • Demonstrate a robust understanding of three main sociological perspectives (Functionalist, Conflict, Interactionist) and how these are manifested in ECE.
  • Identify sociology and philosophy as potential tools for understanding behaviour, attitudes, and positions in ECE.


At the end of the module/unit the learner will have acquired the following skills:

  • Analyse situations in various ECE settings in Malta from a sociological perspective and discuss how these can be reinforced through positive attitudes towards the field.
  • Collaborate with other course participants and participate in discussions about the key sociological perspectives of various stakeholders in ECE in Malta.
  • Examine various philosophical and sociological theories of ECE in light of European and local documentation and policy texts.
  • Identify challenges and barriers of ECE by analysing various settings from a sociological perspective.
  • Investigate how the different aspects of philosophy and sociology have implications on the ECE field, irrespective of how the policy documents perceive or describe the field.

Module-Specific Learner Skills:

At the end of the module/unit the learner will be able to:

  • Assess what sociological implications foreign documentation has on the local ECE context.
  • Establish a positive attitude towards researching historic, sociological and philosophical approaches to ECE.
  • Use various sociological perspectives (a sociological lens) to identify misunderstandings and difficulties in ECE in Malta.

Module-Specific Digital Skills and Competences:

At the end of the module/unit, the learner will be able to:

  • Carry out academic research websites (e.g. Google Scholar) or journals (e.g. EBSCO, Taylor & Francis, SAGE, etc.).
  • Carry out research, manually and/or online via the Internet.
  • Develop a reference list using the Microsoft application in-built function.
  • Navigate the Internet for policy documents, legislation etc related to ECE from a worldwide, European and local perspective.
  • Navigate through the online learning platform to download and upload assignments, discussion boards, literature, tutorials, etc.
  • Use basic Microsoft office (or equivalent) applications to write and submit assignments.
  • Use several academic software (e.g. Mendeley) to enhance the academic and research experience.
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