DCU Home | Our Courses | Loop | Registry | Library | Search DCU


Module Specifications

Archived Version 2017 - 2018

Module Title
Module Code

Online Module Resources

NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

Early childhood educators must work with children and families from a range of diverse backgrounds. Relationships between early years’ educators and the communities of people in which they work are contingent upon how educators interact with families of diverse socio-economic backgrounds, ethnicities, gendered practices, sexual preferences, special educational needs and so on. A variation in comfort (related to an individual’s own identity, experience and knowledge of difference, cultural values, positioning in heterosexist, racist discourse etc) exists around diversity issues. This module will help students to engage critically with understandings of difference and diversity in schools and society today. The construction of children as critical thinking, agentic beings with valuable contributions to families, schools, communities and society will be emphasised (while recognising the structural constraints that exist upon this agency, and the web of relations and circumstances in which children are embedded).

Learning Outcomes

1. Interrogate normative assumptions about the nature of childhood - understanding how childhood is continually contested and renegotiated within particular local, social (and historical) contexts.
2. Understand the social construction of young children’s identities within the social categories of class, gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, religion, disability and so on.
3. Critically reflect upon understandings of families and the factors that have an impact upon their engagement with young children’s education
4. Explore how to build relationships with a child’s family (by focussing in particular on the classed, ‘raced’ and gendered nature of parental involvement in schooling).
5. Reflect on their own values and social identity and draw upon these skills in an informed response to child, family and community issues.
6. Recognise children as having agency and power within their own right and develop skills for listening and responding to children in tandem with this recognition.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture24No Description
Assessment Feedback45No Description
Independent Study56No Description
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

• Equality, Diversity and Respect for Difference: theoretical perspectives

• Children and Childhood in Contemporary Society

• Understanding Families and Family Diversity

• Parental Involvement in Schooling (with particular reference to social class, race and gender)

• Traveller Families and Schooling

• Power and Pedagogy in the Education of Young Children

• Children’s Perceptions of Difference

• Teachers’ Perceptions of School Communities with Differing Student Socioeconomic and Racial Contexts

• Effective Relationships with Children, Families and Communities

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment% Examination Weight%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Reassessment Requirement
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
Indicative Reading List

  • Jacqueline Barnes... [et al.]: 2006, Children and families in communities, 1st, 11, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, UK, 0470093579
  • editor, Mary Jane Kehily: 2009, An introduction to childhood studies, 2nd, 12, Open University Press,, Maidenhead, England, 0335228704
  • Knowles, G. and Holstrom, R. (2013).: 2013, Understanding Family Diversity and Home-School Relations – A Guide for Students and Practitioners in Early Years and Primary Settings, 1, 11, Routledge, London, 0415694043
  • Annette Lareau: 2003, Unequal childhoods, 1st, 12, University of California Press, Berkeley, 0520239504
  • Kerry H. Robinson and Criss Jones Diaz: 2006, Diversity and difference in early childhood education, 1st, Open University Press, Berkshire, 033521682X
  • Gail L. Ensher, David A. Clark: 2011, Relationship-Centered Practices in Early Childhood, 1st, 14, Paul H Brookes Pub Co, Baltimore, 1598570595
  • Holly Kreider (Editor), Helen Westmoreland (Editor): 2011, Promising Practices for Family Engagement in Out-of-School Time, 1st, Information Age Publishing, Charlotte, NC, 1617354473
Other Resources

22017, Website, 0, Centre for Research on Families and Relationships, University of Edinburgh, www.crfr.ac.uk, 22018, Website, 0, Department of Children and Youth Affairs, Ireland, www.dcya.gov.ie/, 22019, Website, 0, The Harvard Family Research Project (HFRP) at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, www.hfrp.org, 22020, Website, 0, Website of the Economic and Social Research Institute, Ireland, www.esri.ie, 22021, Website, 0, Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre, Ireland, www.paveepoint.ie, 22022, Website, 0, Website of The Child and Family Agency, Ireland, www.tusla.ie, 22023, Journal, 2011, The Long Reach of Early Childhood Poverty, Stanford University. Pathways Journal., 22024, Journal, Schumaker, R., 2013, Building Communities that help Young Children and Families Thrive - A National Survey by Early Childhood-LINC, A Learning and Innovation Network for Communities,
Programme or List of Programmes