Course at a glance


This online Childcare and Development course is an in-depth study of what qualities are needed to work in the field of childcare and investigates child development from pre-conception to seven years of age.

The course deals with every aspect involving the best care of children by studying the child cognitive processes such as language and speech development, social skills, and behaviour. The psycho-social issues, together with other external influences on development are included in order to enhance understanding of the factors affecting behaviour.

The course is divided into 10 units of study, you can read a detailed summary of each unit in the ‘Content’ section at the bottom of the page.

To help spread the cost of the course, you can opt to spread the course fees over an interest and credit check free instalment plan. To do this, select the option for instalment payment from the drop-down box above the ‘Enrol’ button.

Childcare and Development Short Course Diploma Entry Requirements

All students must be 16 years of age and above to enter into our Childcare and Development Short Course Diploma (Level 3).

Short Course Diploma courses require a minimum prior learning to GCSE standard in order that students can manage their studies and the assumed knowledge within course content.

Study Hours

200 hours in total. Or 20 hours per week over 10 weeks.


Written assessment at the end of each unit of study.


Please note that you can enrol on this course at anytime.

Childcare and Development Short Course Diploma Course Content

Unit 1: Course Introduction: Genetics, Embryology and Foetal Development

Each child has a character arising from its biology, genetics and the environment in which it is raised.

With this in mind, the first unit looks at:

  • The history of child development starting at the very beginning when a child is conceived and develops within the mother.
  • Genetics, inheritance and sex determination. These are examined and explained in order to understand whether the nature and characteristics of a child are predetermined or influenced by inheritance.
  • A brief summary of reproduction, embryology and the development of the integumentary system in a child, how for example twins form and how genetic traits are passed to children is covered.

The following units will continue along this theme, helping the learner understand the various stages of child development in greater detail, and what factors affect their healthy development.

Unit 2: Developmental Anatomy and Physiology of the Child: Part 1

This unit looks at:

  • The development of the musculoskeletal system, including bone and muscle structure, function and growth at the various stages of a child.
  • The unit details expected stages of growth and development,  so those looking after and working with children understand what a healthy baby and child should look like, how they develop and what signs help us identify any problems early on.
  • Major bones, muscles and how information is passed from the nervous system.
  • Students will also deal with the development of the nervous system, and how it connects to development of knowledge, language and cognitive skills alongside with the development of the musculoskeletal system around which all movement is based.

Unit 3: Developmental Anatomy and Physiology of the Child: Part 2

Continuing with the development of major systems, the third unit of the course looks at:

  • The development of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, explaining how the body is supplied with food and oxygen, and waste is removed from the body.
  • How the systems inside a foetal are very different to that of a baby, the differences are observed and discussed.
  • The two systems, cardiovascular and respiratory, are looked at in detail from its individual components such as blood and how oxygen enters our body, to how the mother keeps the foetus healthy and the changes that occur in a baby.
  • For those looking after babies we look at detail at the structure, function, pre and post natal circulation and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Much research is done to eliminate this terrible early death of babies, and professionals are taught how to prevent and minimise any chance of this happening in babies in their care.

Unit 4: Developmental Anatomy and Physiology of the Child: Part 3

This unit looks at:

  • The development of the gastrointestinal and renal systems. How a foetus obtains nutrients and water and how it excretes waste, to what a baby and child needs throughout its care is studied in detail. How food is digested, the organs involved, the role of enzymes in digestion to how nutrients are absorbed at all stages of a child’s life is discussed.
  • The systems – the mouth, oesophagus, stomach, intestine, kidneys, liver and the endocrine system which maintains balance in our body through the production of hormones.
  • We investigate systems involved in digestion and the elimination of waste, we study how these grow and develop in the different stages of a child’s life.
  • What constitutes a healthy diet, how do we protect the body, and how do these affect the physical and mental development of a child at each stage is addressed.
  • What is the role of hormones in foetal and child development is studied by looking at the way the endocrine systems works in the mother and the baby.

Unit 5: Developmental Anatomy and Physiology of the Child: Part 4

During the study of unit 5, you will look at:

  • The function of reproduction to gain an insight into pre-natal development to birth.
  • An in-depth look at the eyes, the nose, and dentition and how we touch, smell and taste.
  • Each organ is studied in structure and how it works, both in the foetus and after birth as the child grows and develops.
  • Biological terminology is introduced.

Unit 6: Birth and Beyond: Growth and Care of the Child

This unit looks at:

  • The birth, the tests and measurements used to show how a child grows and develops immediately after it is born. And progresses to more detailed and accurate coverage of development up to age 7 years.
  • Nutrition, measurements and weight, together with childhood illness and vaccination programmes.
  • Common ailments and problems in growth and development are identified.

Unit 7: Language and Speech Development

This unit looks at:

  • How babies and children develop language and speech, what processes are involved and how professionals can positively impact on this process.
  • Detailed discussion on what affects how a baby learns, so we all know that parents repeatedly ask babies to say ‘mama’ ‘dada’ so these are often the first words.
  • We look at activities to aid the development of language and look at average normal acquisition of words throughout the life of a child.

Unit 8: The Development of Cognitive Skills

Unit 8 looks at:

  • Cognitive structures, how babies know, learn and how babies learn to interact, their development, and the learning of resulting concepts.
  • The nature v nuture debate and how relationships and interactions effect babies and children.
  • How cognition happens in the brain and affects behaviour, so temperament is achieved, how babies hear, see, think is key to understanding how those looking after babies influence their growth and development.

Unit 9: Learning Through Play

Unit 9 looks at:

  • How structured play helps the mental and physical development processes.
  • The role of the professional in applying and providing structured play. Games have to be appropriate and evaluated for their effectiveness.
  • How babies and children need different stimuli, play and games for different learning.
  • The environment in which children are raised importance.
  • Age-appropriate games and activities to help children to grow and develop.

Unit 10: Working with Children and Course Collation

The final unit of the course looks at:

  • The many jobs and opportunities there are to work in childcare, from being in a Nursery to a school or looking after children in one’s home.
  • The responsibilities and legal requirements like health and safety, Ofsted and safety is covered in detail.
  • Each role, what it entails and the qualification needed are listed.
  • Key safety requirements from knowing about the various laws to common sense and key safety precautions are covered in depth.
  • Details of main bodies and organisations dealing with the childcare profession are also looked at.


This Childcare Short Course Diploma can be used to gain entry to a Level 4 Diploma or higher.