Module details for Language, Education and the Early Years


This module focuses on child development in the first 8 years. It will cover language development, number and counting knowledge, reading from a cognitive and educational perspective. In addition, it will look at the influence of play and the media during these early years.


The aim of this module is to provide the student with a critical understanding of early years development from a cognitive and educational perspective.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  Critically assess the research literature on language development.

2.  Critically discuss psychological theories of language development, and interpret and evaluate relevant empirical data.

3.  Critically discuss theories of mathematical development.

4.  Demonstrate an understanding of early reading and numerical skills within an educational context.

5.  Evaluate psychological research on the role of play in the early years within an educational context.

6.  Evaluate psychological research on the role of the media in the early years within an educational context.

Indicative Content

1 Child cognition and brain growth

The development of the brain in early childhood and its links to language and numerical skills.

2 Conceptual issues in learning

Domains (modules), critical periods, learning mechanisms (e.g. statistical learning, bootstrapping, innate constraints), nature-nurture.

3 Speech and sounds

Auditory perception, acquisition of phonemes, and the effects of prosody on acquisition of other parts of the language system.

4 Acquisition of words

Words, concepts and categories. Child-directed speech, literacy acquisition, language impairments.

5 Rules of language

Acquisition of morphology and syntax.

6 Learning to read

Theories of normal reading; dyslexia and hyperlexia.

7 Early numerical skills

Theories of mathematical development; early number and counting skills.

8 The role of play

Play inside and outside the classroom. How play influences cognitive and social development.

9 Media

The role of television viewing and computer games on children's development.

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Teaching and Learning Method Hours
Lecture 24
Tutorial/Seminar 6
Practical Activity 0
Assessment 50
Independent 120
Total 200

Guidance notes

SCQF Level - The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework provides an indication of the complexity of award qualifications and associated learning and operates on an ascending numeric scale from Levels 1-12 with SCQF Level 10 equating to a Scottish undergraduate Honours degree.

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2021/22 , and may be subject to change for future years.