We asked Early Childhood Studies graduate Holly some questions about her degree. Here's how she answered.
Your name: Holly Butler
What course did you study? Early Childhood Studies (received a First Class with Honours)
Part-time or full-time? Full-time (one day per week)
How long was the duration of your studies? Three years
What years did you study from and to? 2019-2022
Why did you choose to study this course?
I decided to retrain and change my career. Working with children was always a route I wanted to go down.
I decided to head to the ARU Open Day and speak with the lecturers about my options. I immediately felt reassured with my decision, and visiting the Early Childhood Resource room and speaking to knowledgeable lecturers really solidified that this was the right choice for me.
On the ARU website, the modules are available to look at before you apply, all of the modules really interested me and the career prospects at the end of the degree were vast.
What were the most valuable skills you have learnt from the course?
For me, networking and research. Going to Open Days at the University to speak about career prospects and introduce yourself is a great way to put yourself out there and work out what you want from your degree. It helped my confidence tremendously and opened up some great doors for me.
Alongside that, the ability to research. I’ll never forget my first year when I was trying to analyse a document or journal, and by the third year it came like second nature.
This is something that you don’t realise you use in everyday life, but now I am confident of where to look for policies and legislation and find information quickly and efficiently.
What was your favourite module and why?
Play, Health and Wellbeing and Embracing Diversity were my favourite modules, both being areas I am incredibly interested in and deem a significant part of early childhood.
Embracing Diversity allowed me to explore and choose my own topic I was interested, leading to my decision to discuss the same topic for my Undergraduate Major Project.
What doors has this course opened up for you? What are your plans for the future?
I am currently a Deputy Manager within a Montessori Nursery. I began working here as an Early Years Practitioner within my second year and climbed the ladder from the knowledge gained from the course. Modules such as Leadership and Management helped me enhance my skills and really reveal that this is the route I wanted to go down.
I would love to do a Masters in the future, looking into Children’s Mental Health to continue to educate myself. I believe within the early childhood sector, you can never stop growing and learning.
If you did a placement, how did it support your studies?
I completed a very short placement within my first year, however we were quickly put into lockdown for the remainder of my first year, and most of my second year.
I applied for a job within a nursery halfway into my second year, where I became an Early Years Practitioner. Working full-time in nursery whilst completing my degree was challenging but I feel it made my studies stronger, as I used the experience and knowledge from my practice in my modules for personal reflection.
I would recommend completing a placement or work alongside your studies to someone looking at this course, as it really expands your knowledge and puts the theory into practice.
What would you say to someone who is considering embarking on an Early Childhood Studies degree?
Go for it, you won’t regret it! The course has got me farther than I could have ever expected, and it is wonderful to see the lives of children I impact daily. You will learn so much about yourself during your time studying and the career prospects at the end are extensive.
I am incredibly proud of my time completing this degree and wouldn’t have got as far as I have without it, my confidence has grown, and I am doing something I love every day.
Holly studied Early Childhood Studies at ARU in Chelmsford. Find out more about this and other degree courses at one of our Open Days.