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Fundamental Principles 0-5s

Module titleFundamental Principles 0-5s
Module codePYCM034
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Ann Hockaday (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks




Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

Applying evidence-based psychological therapies to children, young people and their families requires fundamental academic knowledge and clinical skills together with a reflective approach to practice. This module delivers the Department of Health’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies national curriculum of specific knowledge and skills you will need in order to practice effectively as a 0-5s Practitioner.

This module will provide you with an overview of the factors that influence early child development, and the methods of identifying and assessing early problems, including the relational and ecological developmental context of the infant and young child in terms of the factors that promote normal development and contribute to atypical development.

You will also gain the knowledge and skills to undertake assessment, engagement and formulation in terms of working with families with children in the 0-5 age range.

Workshops in the module will include teaching using a range of techniques that are aimed at developing an understanding about the ways in which both normal and atypical development occurs with the context of the infant’s early relationships (e.g. interaction with primary caregivers) and their wider ecological environment (e.g. family; nursery; neighbourhood etc). This will include learning about the factors that contribute to both the development of resilience within infants and young children or that represent risk to their development, including factors at the level of the individual child (e.g. prematurity, temperament, genetic syndromes, disability).

An explicit focus will be placed on the relational context for early development and in particular the contribution of early parenting (e.g. parental sensitivity; parent-infant/child interaction; parental reflective functioning etc) to optimal outcomes, and the type of early parent-infant/child interactions that can lead to non-optimal outcomes. Early development will be examined in terms of the infant/child’s attachment relationships; their developing capacity for self-regulation; and their wider social and emotional relationships. The module will also examine theory and research regarding the way in which such interaction influences the infant’s rapidly developing neurological system.

The module material will examine the factors that can influence parenting including, for example, at a psychological level (e.g. parents’ own experience of being parented; parental attachment and capacity for reflective functioning; mental health problems; domestic abuse etc) alongside the environmental and contextual factors (e.g. poverty; neighbourhood adversity etc).

The module will also examine the theoretical and research literature underpinning collaborative and partnership working with families, providing you with the opportunity to develop practical competency in completing a comprehensive and systematic assessment of an infant/child, their parent and family, and their context.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The module aims for you to:

  • Develop knowledge about normal and atypical social, emotional, physical, cognitive, motor and language development in infants and young children.
  • Understand the relational and ecological context within with such development occurs, and the factors that contribute to both risk and resilience.
  • Understand and recognise the psychological, environmental and contextual factors that affect parenting.
  • Develop critical knowledge of the core theories and approaches underpinning 0-5’s working.
  • Develop practical competency in signposting and referral of parents to appropriate support services where necessary.

The module will cover the key skills outlined below:

  • Infant and child development in the context of significant caregiver-child relationships as well as a broader ecological context.
  • Normal and atypical development in infancy and childhood. To include age-appropriate developmental milestones during infancy and early childhood in the domains of social, emotional, physical, cognitive, motor and language development and mutual influences across domains of development.
  • Factors that contribute to optimal parent-child interaction, and secure attachment or that may adversely affect development in these domains (e.g. parental sensitivity and mentalisation; parental attachment history, parental mental health problems; domestic abuse; substance dependency, parental learning disability or parental trauma).
  • Attachment classifications and the behaviours associated with them, to include, secure, insecure-avoidant, insecure-ambivalent and disorganised attachment behaviour towards a care-giver; the way in which attachment problems can manifest themselves at different stages (e.g. 0 – 1 years; 1 - 2 years; 3 – 5 years); the implications for a developing child of a secure and insecure attachment relationship; variation in cultural interpretation of attachment theories and patterns of interaction; transgenerational patterns of attachment, including an understanding of the ‘transmission gap’ and a critical understanding of the evidence regarding longitudinal patterns.
  • Underpinning theories relating to sensitive caregiving including (attachment, mentalisation, primary and secondary intersubjectivity, containment, reciprocity, and principles of attunement etc.).
  • The relational basis of neurobiological development and the impact that early trauma and toxic stress can have on this, to include infant innate “hardwired” capacities.
  • ‘Dispositional’ factors that increase vulnerability in the infant/child (including prematurity, temperament, genetic syndromes, disability), and their impact on the caregiving relationship.
  • The underpinning theoretical frameworks for working with a 0-5’s population, to include: Attachment theory; Psychodynamic; Social Learning Theory, Relational and family systems, developmental and lifespan development.     
  • Normal features of antenatal and post-natal adjustment (e.g. physical and hormonal changes, emotional adjustment, role adjustment, transition to parenthood, transition for the couple).
  • Factors that influence caregiving capacity to include: caregiver’s experience and representations (and feelings and ideas around conception, pregnancy, birth and parenthood), caregiver learning disability, caregiver attachment history, prior loss and grief, mental health problems; social and economic factors, domestic abuse, substance abuse and migration.
  • Psychological, environment and contextual factors that serve to protect and promote resilience in the infant, care-giver and family.
  • A critical understanding of the diagnostic classifications and evidence-based interventions for the most common mental health problems affecting parents, and the relation cultural variations in the interpretation and understanding of such problems; understanding about whether a parent needs to be assessed under the Mental Health Act (1983) or Mental Capacity Act (2005) or referred to specialist mental health services.
  • Understanding the need for multi-disciplinary and multi-agency working with families, and the importance of communication both with the parent/family and across the disciplines and agencies working with the parent/family.

Core competencies covered will include the:

  • Ability to recognise the six key baby states, his/her communications, and observe the infant in the context of the parent-infant relationship.
  • Identification of different attachment strategies in children and parents.
  • Identification of emergent adaptations and defences that are precursors to attachment problems.
  • Identification of strengths, difficulties and delays in the age-appropriate development of the infant/young child.
  • Recognition of common parental mental health problems, and issues such as domestic abuse/substance dependency, and wider ecological factors (e.g. stress, poverty) that influence parenting.
  • Identification and understanding the current and historical, environmental, contextual and parental risk and resilience factors present within a family context. To include competency in assessing how these factors combined may affect social and emotional health, safety and child development.
  • Identification of problems and signposting of parents to appropriate support, in order to reduce risk and to increase resilience factors, when appropriate (e.g. children’s services, adult mental health, adult education, sure-start, domestic abuse, substance misuse services, housing etc).

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Synthesise theory and practice in planning, delivering and reflecting attachment based work for 0-5s for children, young people and families
  • 2. Apply the core competencies in attachment based work for 0-5s, for children, young people and families
  • 3. Identify how you meet the relevant specific competency standards in 0-5 therapy for children, young people and families
  • 4. Evaluate the use of routine outcome monitoring in 0-5 therapy practice

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Address systematically complex therapy practice problems that may be framed within unpredictable contexts, thinking critically, creatively, and independently
  • 6. Critique the wider ethical and professional issues encountered within psychological therapy practice

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. Appraise your personal strengths and weaknesses in training and experience, and reflect upon the implications for your further training needs
  • 8. Function independently and reflectively as a learner and practitioner

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Learning and teaching will be through lectures and clinical skills tutorials. In addition, they will be supplemented by e-learning material and experience of assessment and treatment of 0-5s work within the workplace.

Teaching will be provided by course tutors, with some national experts where appropriate. The reflective commentaries and professional portfolio encourages you to use reflective practice. Reflected practice will be integrated as part of training throughout the module.

In addition video supervision will enable you to learn to fine tune new techniques and develop a reflective style to your therapy. Feedback and outcome measures from the therapy session will guide discussion in therapy.

Research for case reports, essays and reading will provide further academic knowledge and critical appraisal skills.

Furthermore, you will receive written feedback from supervisors each term regarding your strengths and areas for further development.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching57Lectures and workshops
Scheduled Learning and Teaching28Clinical supervision at UoE
Scheduled Learning and Teaching28Clinical skills tutorials
Guided Independent Study37Guided independent study and clinical preparation
Placement50Clinical practice


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Self-rating of baseline specific therapy competencies20 minute supervision group discussion2-3, 7-8Oral
Therapy practice competencyRecording clips presented in supervision1-3, 5-6Written

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Case presentation (this assessment must be passed; failure in this assessment will lead to failure in the module and the programme)10030 minutes2-5, 8Oral (with written submission)
Practice portfolio – this is an assessment of competency and is pass/fail only (this assessment must be passed; failure in this assessment will lead to failure in the module and the programme)06000 words1-3, 5, 7Written


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Case presentation (of Incredible Years regulatory case)Case presentation2-5, 8Four weeks after written feedback
Practice portfolioPractice portfolio1-3, 5, 7Nine weeks after written feedback

Re-assessment notes

Two assessments are required for this module. In all cases re-assessment will be the same as the original assessment. Where you have been referred/deferred for any form of assessment detailed above you will have the opportunity to resubmit within the period specified above from the date that feedback was provided.

If you pass re-assessments taken as a result of deferral, your re-assessment will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment and the overall module mark will not be capped.

If you pass re-assessments taken as a result of referral (i.e. following initial failure in the assessment), the overall module mark will be capped at 50%.

If you fail re-assessments taken as a result of referral (i.e. following initial failure in the assessment), you will be failed in the module and as a consequence you will be failed in the programme and your registration as a student of the University will be terminated.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Child IAPT National curriculum (2012). London: Department of Health
  • Scott, S and Dadds, M (2009) When parent training doesn’t work: Theory-driven clinical strategies. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 50, 1441-1450
  • Webster-Stratton, C. (2008). Collaborating with Parents to Reduce Children's Behavior Problems: A book for Therapists Using the Incredible Years Programs. Seattle: IY Press.
  • Brazelton TB, Cramer BG (1991). The Earliest Relationship: Parents, Infants, and the Drama of Early Attachment. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.
  • Crittenden PM (2008). Raising Parents. Attachment, Parenting and Child Safety. Willan Publishing: Devon, UK.
  • Gerhardt S (2004). Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby's Brain by Sue Gerhardt.
  • Lieberman, A F (1993). The Emotional Life of the Toddler. New York: The Free Press.
  • Murray L (2014). The Psychology of Babies: How relationships support development from birth to two. London: Robinson.
  • Music G (2011). Nurturing Natures: Attachment and Children's Emotional, Sociocultural and Brain Development. Hove: Psychology Press.
  • Stern D (1998). Diary of a Baby: What Your Child Sees, Feels and Experiences. NY: Basic Books.
  • Zeedyk S, Robertson J (2011). The Connected Baby. London: British Psychological Society.
  • Zero to Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families (2005, 2016 forthcoming)DC: 0 -3.
  • Diagnostic Classification of Mental Health and Developmental Disorders of Infancy and Early Childhood: 0-3

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

  • ELE page: (All resources will be made available on ELE. This includes additional material covered in the tutorials, the required readings, information about assessment and additional material (e.g., videos).)

Module has an active ELE page

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

  • DVD/audio competency clips from IAPT and University of Exeter teaching team.

Key words search

Supervision, young people, children, improving access to psychological therapies, IAPT, cognitive behaviour therapy, parenting, competency assessment, 0-5s

Credit value20
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date