1 Introduction to the course

What is the course Understanding children about?

Understanding children aims to develop students' understanding of how to promote confidence, growth and self-esteem in children from birth to the age of 11; it also considers how to develop consistent, open and honest communication with children. Throughout the three units of the course, a single ‘family’ and their friends and relatives are used to lead students through the issues raised. The experiences of children throughout the course are considered in the context of diversity, recognising the importance of choices and rights.

Understanding children is a short course aimed at anyone who is interested in children or perhaps would like to train to work with them. The course provides a taster of the kinds of issues relevant to the introductory study of subjects such as childhood studies, child psychology, social work, healthcare and teaching. It also covers six key areas intended to help students to study effectively in higher education. (Rai and Flynn, 2004.)

The course is broken down into three units:

What does studying this course involve and how long does it take?

Some students speed through the course – but most students take 16–20 weeks with 6–8 hours study time per week.

What could I go on to study after Understanding children?

There are many single courses at the Open University that you could take – but the most popular routes to a degree or foundation degree are via: