The Cambridge National in Child Development is a qualification designed for learners aged 14-16. It consists of both practical and theoretical elements. It will prepare students for further qualifications in Child Care, Health and Social Care, Psychology, Sociology and Biology. It will also provide students with the knowledge and skills to work in early years’ settings and to care for younger children in their personal lives.
During the first year, students acquire the knowledge needed to sit the written exam. The first learning outcome is about the roles and responsibilities of parenthood. Students will read and discuss case studies in order to explore issues such as parental age, finance and hereditary diseases. In addition, students will learn about ways to ensure good preconception health.
The students then go on to learn about antenatal care and preparations for birth. They will have a chance to plan their own antenatal and parenting classes and discuss the importance of these. They will also explore the roles of different healthcare professionals, such as the midwife and gynaecologist.
We then explore the checks that are carried out on babies soon after birth. Students will learn about different reflexes such as the sucking and rooting reflexes. The students will also learn about the specific needs of premature babies. The final learning objectives cover common childhood illnesses and preparing children for stays in hospital. Students learn about different dangers to children such as suffocation, poisoning and falling. The students have the chance to research solutions to these potential dangers.
In the second year, students work on their set assignments. These are completed independently and students acquire skills that are transferable to further study, such as ensuring that work is not plagiarised and that research is referenced correctly. The first set of assignments involve selecting equipment for children of different ages and explaining why they would or would not be suitable for a nursery. Students then need to explain nutritional requirements for the different age groups, as well as designing and preparing a balanced meal.
The second set of coursework assignments are about developmental norms for the different age groups. Within this module, the students are required to observe young children in an early years setting and then plan play activities accordingly. The students then evaluate their activities, in relation to the aims within their chosen development area.
The work studied in Child Development is supported by the work experience that the students do in Year 10. The feedback from the students is that they really enjoyed their experiences working with younger children. It may well open up to rewarding career opportunities in the future.