The Understanding Early Years - Level 3 Course covers child development, relationships and environment and offers useful hints on planning and resourcing together with ‘reflective practitioner’ exercises throughout which test the knowledge and understanding of the learner.

This course provides theoretical guidance for practitioners on meeting the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage framework and it aims to provide useful advice and detailed information for supporting children’s learning and development.

Please Note: This course alone will not give the qualification required to work in this sector. This course provides underpinning knowledge, but you would most likely require a QCF qualification with practical experience to work with children. If you are looking to gain a QCF Qualification then please review the courses on our website which have (QCF) within the course title.

On successful completion of this course students will receive an accredited Level 3 Certificate of Achievement.

The principles of the EYFS, which guide the work of all early years practitioners, are grouped into four themes these being:

  • A Unique Child

  • Positive Relationships

  • Enabling Environments

  • Learning & Development

Each of these themes are broken down into commitments and covered in detail to guide practitioners through the framework and offer assistance on how to deliver the framework effectively. The course also encourages practitioners to reflect on their own practice and consider for themselves ways of enhancing their provision taking into account the principles of the EYFS.

The Course Includes the Following Units:-

Section 1 - A Unique Child:

  • Unit 1 – Child Development

The following topics are covered: Child Development; A Skilful Communicator; and A Competent Learner.

  • Unit 2 – Inclusive Practice

The following topics are covered: Equality and Diversity; Children’s Entitlements; and Early Support.

  • Unit 3 – Keeping Safe

The following topics are covered: Being Safe and Protected; Discovering Boundaries; and Making Choices.

  • Unit 4 – Health & Well Being

The following topics are covered: Growing and Developing; Physical Well-being; and Emotional Well-being.

Section 2 – Positive Relationships:

  • Unit 5 – Respecting Each Other

The following topics are covered: Understanding Feelings; Friendships; and Professional Relationships.

  • Unit 6 – Parents as Partners

The following topics are covered: Respecting Diversity; Communication; and Learning Together.

  • Unit 7 – Supporting Learning

The following topics are covered: Positive Interactions; Listening to Children; and Effective Teaching.

  • Unit 8 – Key Person

The following topics are covered: Secure Attachments; Shared Care; and Independence.

Section 3 – Enabling Environments:

  • Unit 9 – Observation, Assessment & Planning

The following topics are covered: Starting with the Child; Planning; and Assessment.

  • Unit 10 – Supporting Every Child

The following topics are covered: Children’s Needs; The Learning Journey; and Working Together.

  • Unit 11 – The Learning Environment

The following topics are covered: The Emotional Environment; The Outdoor Environment; and The Indoor Environment.

  • Unit 12 – The Wider Context

The following topics are covered: Transitions and Continuity; Multi-agency Working; and The Community.

Section 4 – Learning & Development:

  • Unit 13 – Observation, Assessment & Planning

The following topics are covered: Starting with the Child; Planning; and Assessment.

  • Unit 14 – Active Learning

The following topics are covered: Mental and Physical Involvement; Decision Making; and Personalised Learning. 

  • Unit 15 – Creativity & Critical Thinking

The following topics are covered: Making Connections; Transforming Understanding; and Sustained Shared Thinking.

  • Unit 16 – Areas of Learning & Development

The following topics are covered: Personal, Social and Emotional Development; Communication, Language and Literacy; Problem Solving, Reasoning and Numeracy; Knowledge and Understanding of the World; Physical Development; and Creative Development.


There are no particular entry requirements.

Course Duration & Support:

Students may register at any time and have a full year to complete their studies. You also have access to a personal tutor by mail or email for a 12 month period. As the home study courses are self study you can complete in as little or as long a time as you prefer.


You will be assessed on coursework which is detailed in the course materials. Most coursework consists of short paragraph answers to set questions, and a larger essay/case study assignment. Your work can be sent back to your course tutor by email or by post.


ABC AwardsOn successful completion of this course students will receive an Understanding Early Years Certificate of Achievement by ABC Awards and a Learner Unit Summary (which lists the details of all the units you have completed as part of your course).

The completion of this course alone does not lead to an Ofqual regulated qualification but may be used as evidence of knowledge and skills towards regulated qualifications in the future. The unit summary can be used as evidence towards Recognition of Prior Learning if you wish to progress your studies in this sector. To this end the learning outcomes of the course have been benchmarked at Level 3 against level descriptors published by Ofqual, to indicate the depth of study and level of difficulty involved in successful completion by the learner.

Further information about Ofqual’s Qualification & Credit Framework level descriptors can be found at

The course has been endorsed under the ABC Awards’ Quality Licence Scheme. ABC Awards’ endorsement involves a robust and rigorous quality audit by external inspectors to ensure quality is consistently met. A regular review of courses is carried out as part of the endorsement process. This means that the course developers (UKDLP) have undergone an external quality check to ensure that the organisation and the courses it offers, meet certain quality criteria.

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