Children’s Play, Learning and Development

“Children are not a distraction from work. They are the most important work”

C.S. Lewis

This qualification is designed for learners preparing for a role as an early year’s educator in preschool and nursery settings. The qualification is designed to be the substantive part of a 16–19 study programme for learners who want to study the mandatory core content of the children’s play, learning and development sector, which is needed to practice as an early year’s educator. It may be complemented with other BTEC Nationals or A Levels.

Entry requirements

Entry onto Level 3 courses includes students achieving 4 x Grade 9-4 or equivalent at GCSE alongside a Grade 4 or above in English and/or Mathematics. Students with either English and/or Mathematics at Grade 3 or below will have individual meetings to determine the most suitable pathway within the Sixth Form.

Course description

You will study a range of business related topics including core units:

  • Children’s Development – In this unit, you will learn about theories and models of development that explain how and why children develop and how this relates to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).
  • Development of Children’s Communication, Literacy and Numeracy Skills – In this unit, you will learn the sequence of children’s speech, communication, language, literacy and numeracy skills development.
  • Play and Learning – In this unit, you will learn about the types of play and the opportunities that should be made available to children at different ages and stages of development. You will consider why play is so important and how it supports children’s learning and development.
  • Keeping Children Safe – In this unit, you will look at the legislation, regulations and guidance relevant to health, safety and safeguarding.
  • Children’s Physical Development, Care and Health Needs – In this unit, you will learn about the physical care needs of children and the important role of the early years professional to meet those needs through routines and by providing opportunity for challenging, physical play activities.
  • Working with Others and Parents in Early Years – In this unit, you will examine the role of parents and factors that affect parenting styles. You will also learn about parents’ rights and their different views about childhood.
  • The Early Years Foundation Stage – In this unit, you will look at the principles, themes and aims of the EYFS and how these can influence the way that the curriculum is organised. You will study the learning and development requirements and how they prepare children for school by the time they reach the age of five years.

The qualification carries UCAS points and if it is taken alongside other qualifications as part of a two-year programme of learning, then it is recognised by higher education providers as contributing to meeting admission requirements for many courses. It will support entry to many higher education courses, depending on the other qualifications learners have taken.

Exam board

Pearson BTEC Level 3 Nationals in Children’s Play, Learning and Development


Equivalent in size to one A Level. You study 4 units of which 3 are mandatory and 2 are externally assessed, you will also undertake a work placement for a minimum of 50 hours.

Ways to help my child succeed

Coursework and exams can be challenging and stressful. In order to assist your child talk to them, proof read their work, assist with revision strategies and encourage them to present/execute their work to the highest standards.

Useful resources

Revise BTEC National Children’s Play, Learning and Development Revision Guide Publisher: Pearson Author: Brenda Baker ISBN: 9781292150161

Revise BTEC National Children’s Play, Learning and Development Revision Workbook Publisher: Pearson Author: Brenda Baker ISBN: 9781292150154

BTEC Nationals Children’s Play, Learning and Development Student Book Publisher: Pearson Author: Penny Tassoni,Brenda Baker,Louise Burnham,Karen Hucker ISBN: 9781292133621