Perceptions of placement experiences of Early Childhood Studies students: the fluency of knowledge and skills.

Tanya Richardson, Kerry Holman

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


This paper discusses how academic support prepares undergraduate students for their workplace experience, involving cohorts of students from two universities in England, who offer an undergraduate level, three-year, Early Childhood Studies (ECS) degree. By adopting an interpretive approach, questionnaires were administered to the students concerned (n=65), to seek their views and opinions on the placement experience. These were administered prior to them attending their first placement and then again on their return. The study found that students were more prepared than they originally perceived themselves to be when undertaking placement, and that a lack of confidence derived from fearing the unknown. The findings indicated that tutor and peer support were most valued as preparation tools and it is suggested that this support is a major factor in the confidence levels of students. This paper argues that the explicit knowledge gained from studying a degree course, and the tacit knowledge and skills that are gained through placement should be viewed as a combined approach rather than two separate entities which should, in turn, aid in confidence building. This is of significance both nationally, and internationally for those who may be considering including a workplace experience within their programme.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)324-336
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Further and Higher Education
Issue number3
Early online date18 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2021


  • Placement
  • Higher education
  • Early childhood studies
  • England
  • Workplace learning
  • Tacit and explicit knowledge


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