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BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Education and Care

Course Code: LC401


Level

08

Duration

4 years

Department

Applied Social Sciences


CAO Points

297

Course Type

Undergraduate - CAO

Location

Thurles

Children require high-quality education and care during their formative years to reach their potential.  This programme is structured to enable participants to become professional, reflective practitioners with an integrated approach in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC). 

This is an innovative programme where students learn how to combine theory and practice and to develop as reflective practitioners. An active learning environment is achieved through lectures, seminars, workshops, and enquiry-based learning with children’s learning materials.  The programme is focused upon promotion of the outdoors space in early year’s provision.

 

What are the entry requirements?

Leaving Certificate

A minimum of 2 H5 & 4 O6/H7 grades in six Leaving Certificate subjecs, including English or Irish.

Foundation Level Mathematics at grade F2 or higher is acceptable as meeting the Mathematics requirement for this programme.                                        

Mature Applicants

Candidates applying as mature applicants may be required to attend an interview and may be requested to take an aptitude test to prove their suitability for a place on this programme.

 

What modules will I study?

  • Year 1

    Title: Emotional Intelligence & Self Awareness in the Early Years

    Credits: 05 Credits

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    The aim of this module is to help participants develop their emotional intelligence and communication skills as competent and confident practitioners for the early years sector. The module will be the foundation module for the Human Capacity Building pillar of the programme.

    The module will introduce participants to significant developmental frameworks rooted in positive psychology. These frameworks will help them begin an incremental process of building self-esteem, resilience and interpersonal effectiveness for the dynamic environment of Early Childhood Education.

     

     


    Title: Academic Skills for Third Level

    Credits: 05 Credits

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    The purpose of this module is to support learners in developing a range of behaviours and skills to enable them to be successful at college and at work. The module provides learners with a range of skills and techniques designed to support their learning and on-going development as part of a broad, diverse student community and as independent learners. Specifically, the module will focus on equipping students for the demands of third level education and the modern workplace through the development and application of key practical skills comprising of the following themes: Personal Organisation and Study, Oral and Written Skills (in academic contexts), and the development of key PC skills for Third level.


    Title: Introduction to creative studies

    Credits: 05 Credits

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    The purpose of this module is to introduce students to the theories and concepts surrounding the promotion of play and creativity in an early years setting. It will support students to become aware of and implement relevant pedagogical practices in an early years setting whilst emphasising the importance of time, space and well-resourced opportunities for children to be able to engage in exploration, creativity and ‘meaning making’ with peers, and the responsibility of early years professionals to be able to provide and manage this. Students will become aware of the educational benefits accompanied by the personal and social development of the child through play and creativity. The centrality of the warm, supportive and reflective practitioner is underlined in making this happen. Students will recognise the importance of using play and creativity, guided by national frameworks such as Siolta and Aistear, throughout every area of their daily practice rather than just as a single component to be introduced at certain times.

     

     


    Title: Fundamentals of Early Years Education, Regulation and Quality Frameworks 1

    Credits: 05 Credits

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    The aim of this module is to give students a brief history of early years education and care within an Irish context. To explore the contributing factors that have influenced the development of the profession in recent years. To acknowledge the role of the rights of child in promoting early years education and care. Introduce students to the Early Years Education and Care Act 2016. To promote critical reflection of the Síolta, National Quality Standards and Aistear National Framework. Incorporate relevant evidence-based practice to promote reflection, rich group dialogue in stimulating quality early years practice


    Title: Personal Effectiveness and Preparation for Practice

    Credits: 05 Credits

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    The aim of this module is to engage learners in the process of self-development, growth and effectiveness to prepare them for their first professional practice education placement in an early childhood education setting. An emphasis on skills and identity development is central to this module. The process of self-development is directed and facilitated by the learner’s participation in group workshops. In these workshops, the learners is encouraged to explore the concept of “the self” and their relationships to children and others. This module provides the learner with introductory tools to engage in ethical reflective practice and increase their interpersonal skills, self-awareness and reflective skills. These workshops will include consideration of the personal, professional and practical challenges inherent in undertaking a practice education placement. Learners will identify specific personal and professional learning objectives and learn how to use professional supervision to support professional learning. The purpose, roles and expectations for student’s practice supervisor and college tutor will be explored. This module also introduces learners to the principles of ethical reflective practice and the role of the reflective early year’s practitioner.


    Title: Application of the Fundamentals of Early Years Education Care Regulation and Quality Frameworks 2

    Credits: 05 Credits

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    The aim of this module is for students to understand the creation and development of Early Years education and care in Ireland. To critically reflect on how policy, legislation and societal trends have constructed the current model of Early Years Education and Care. To define the role of an Early Years Professional in promoting, guiding and leading children to have quality early years experiences. To identify the role of an Early Years Professional in promoting partnerships with parents, families and the community.


    Title: Exploring Curriculum Theory and Models

    Credits: 05 Credits

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    Curriculum theory is a key component that drives learning in the context of professional practice. The practitioner must have a keen understanding of how curriculum works, the range and type of models that currently exist and the principles associated with developing an effective curriculum framework for appropriate levels. In the early childcare context, developing a curriculum must be explicitly related to play and child development and must also incorporate variety and diversity to allow for the range and capacity of children at this age. The approach to this must be wide ranging and inclusive and not tied too explicitly to outcomes at this level. It should provide an opportunity for the child to explore learning at a developmental and process level rather than focus or be evaluated on specific outcomes and results. A curriculum is a map to be developed in a flexible manner by the practitioner rather than an imposed script that must be adhered to implicitly.

     


    Title: Introduction to Sociology

    Credits: 05 Credits

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    The aim of this module is to introduce students to Sociology and Social Policy as a programme stream and specifically to the three sociological lenses (symbolic interactionism; structural functionalism; and conflict approaches). The module will explore key sociological concepts from key theorists (Auguste Comte, Max Weber, Emile Durkheim & Karl Marx). The module will enable Social Science students to understand how Sociological theory applies to their own socialisation processes and ongoing identity formation. Key themes will include an introductory exploration of: beliefs, norms and values, family socialisation processes, social class, culture and identity, mass media (including social media) and gender and sexuality.


    Title: Psychology of Child development in the Early Years 1

    Credits: 05 Credits

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    This module will introduce students to the psychology of child development (0-6 years). An overview of the main theorists of child development will be provided and key ideas in relation to child development explored. The development of the child will be examined through the framework of the holistic and dynamic nature of development. Children's development in the physical, cognitve and social and emotional domains will be addressed. The role of play in children’s development will also be explored. Students will also develop an understanding of the development of attachment in children.

     


    Title: Child Health and Care Needs

    Credits: 05 Credits

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    This module, guided by relevant legislation including the Child Care (Pre-School Services) (No 2) Regulations 2016, along with Aistear and Siolta standards, aims to prepare and inform early years practitioners on all areas related to health promotion, hygiene and safety including the recognition of common childhood illnesses, risk assessment and nutrition. Students will explore health promotion strategies which support the mental and physical health of children and families. Students will acquire an insight into the importance of recognising signs, symptoms and causes of infection along with risk assessment and the provision of a safe environment which needs to be managed on an ongoing basis. The module will provide knowledge on how to manage and ensure adequate communication concerning the prevention of disease transferability. Students will learn how to maintain hygiene in an early years setting and recognise the importance of policy and procedure development to ensure all of the above.

     

     


    Title: Psychology of Child development in the Early Years 2

    Credits: 05 Credits

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    This module will allow students to further develop their understanding of children’s development in the context of Early Childhood Education and Care (0-6 years). It will explore how the early years professional can contribute to the optimal development of the child using the framework of Aistear’s themes of Well-being, Identity and Belonging, Communicating, and Exploring and Thinking. Students will be encouraged to reflect on their own development trajectory and will learning about developmentally appropriate practice in ECEC settings. Attachment theory will be examined and research on attachment applied to supporting children in ECEC settings. The theory of multiple intelligence will be examined and applied to the early childhood context. The role of early years professional in encouraging and supporting the child to achieve their full potential will also be addressed.


    Title: Child Protection

    Credits: 05 Credits

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    This module examines how and in what way early years practitioners can realise and be confident in their child protection remit in accordance with the the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Service) Regulations 2016 and Children First, (2011, 2017) and recognised by National frameworks such as Aistear and Siolta standards . The students will learn the importance of using policies, procedures and guidelines to maintain and promote the welfare of children and ensure the ongoing implementation of safeguarding. Students will explore the importance of building personal autonomy and self-esteem amongst themselves and the children in developing an environment which fosters respect, trust, equity and a willingness to listen and communicate with children.

     


  • Year 2

    Title: Professional Practice Placement 1

    Credits: 30 Credits

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    This module provides students with the opportunity to integrate theory and practice and facilitate the development of practice skills in an Early Childhood Education and Care setting, in a well-structured and supervised work setting with the direction of an experienced, competent professional. Educator preparation cannot be “adequately addressed through standard, content-focused training” but must take place in a real life setting (Manning-Morton, 2006). Gaining experience in the field enables pre-service Educators opportunities to link their theoretical and practical knowledge and to develop/perfect their understanding of how to work with and understand how to support/facilitate young children’s learning and development.

    Professional Practice will allow students understand and challenge the theoretical frameworks delivered on the programme. Placement is an opportunity to link theory to practice, develop competencies, identify preferred areas of practice and develop critical reflective skills. Students are expected to be supernumerary to the staff complement of ECEC setting and will be expected to work with a range of children under 6.


    Title: Drama Literature and Story Telling

    Credits: 05 Credits

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    This module will explore the use of drama, literature and story as a tool for child development and engaging creativity through play. It will make use of drama and movement techniques, children’s literature and the art of storytelling in an interactive manner encouraging students to participate in the activities and then develop appropriate materials and activities for use in the early childhood setting. This module will also explore links between these techniques and materials and theories of early childhood development (Piaget, Montessori, Vygotsky). Students will also deliver practical sessions in these areas within class using their peers as participants to demonstrate their developing knowledge and skill development.

     


    Title: Early Years Outdoor Learning Experiences

    Credits: 05 Credits

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    This module is designed to create an attentiveness to the role of the outdoor learning experiences for children, particularly in promoting positive wellbeing through awareness of natural life, physical activity and physical literacy. Students will learn about outdoor learning experiences and their ability to create opportunities for children to develop social experiences through interactions, relationships and friendships.


    Title: Social Institutions & The Early Years

    Credits: 05 Credits

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    This module will enable students to explore the social construction of childhood through an examination of the interaction between the child and the larger environment, paying particular attention to the meso and macro systems that impact on the developing child. Students will explore: family as a complex sociological institution, the structured nature of early childhood care and education and the education system. Social institutions including: the economy, the state, religion and the media will be examined as these institutions also have a profound impact on the lifecourse of the child. Emphases will also be placed on the structured nature of social inequality and social capital in society, as the student explores the way in which childrens' lives are shaped by broader systems of inequality, as well as being active in the construction of difference in the social world.


    Title: Legal Studies 1

    Credits: 05 Credits

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    The aim of this module is to provide a detailed introduction to the Irish legal system and to Irish Family and Child Law.


    Title: Language and Numeracy in Early Childhood

    Credits: 05 Credits

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    This course will introduce learners to the acquisition of language and numeracy in early childhood.


    Title: Creating Inclusive Environments: Embracing Equality and Diversity

    Credits: 05 Credits

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    This module will investigate and examine conceptual and practice based challenges relating to inclusion in early childhood practice settings. It will identify the rights and needs of children in a supportive inclusive learning environment embracing equality and diversity. The module content explores a conceptual exposition of varying approaches to multicultural education and critical engagement with culturally responsive forms of pedagogy. Learners are personally and professionally encouraged to forge intimate theory-practice links and develop their understanding of diversity and equality in the early years setting. Learners are expected to engage effective strategies and responses through reflection on national and international policy.



     


  • Year 3

    Title: Advancing the Identity of the Early Years Professional and Preparation for Placement 2

    Credits: 05 Credits

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    This module aims to enhance the learner's conceptualisation of their own "professional identity” in the early years education environment and encourages an understanding of the professionalization agenda and role of the learner as a future professional in this landscape. It explores the values and principles that underpin the identity of professional early year’s practitioners and encourages learners to contribute and value their own shared community of practice. Learners will develop an ability to reflect on their own personal and professional learning over the course of their first practice placement and will allow them to develop an awareness of their personal values and how these may advance and influence self and others in their second placement. An explicit focus on advancement of knowledge and skills for the practice education placement is integral to this module.

     


    Title: Professional Practice Placement 2

    Credits: 30 Credits

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    This module provides students with the opportunity to further integrate theory and practice and facilitate the development of practice skills in an Early Childhood Education and Care setting, in a well-structured and supervised work setting with the direction of an experienced, competent professional. This Placement "may involve students working directly with children, with parents, with co-professionals or in the wider community (or indeed with all of the above in the complex daily role" (QQI draft guidelines, 2017). Gaining experience in the field enables pre-service educators opportunities to link their theoretical and practical knowledge and to develop/perfect their understanding of how to work with and understand how to support/facilitate young children’s learning and development. Professional Practice will allow students to challenge and understand the theoretical frameworks delivered on the programme. Placement is an opportunity to link theory to practice, develop competencies, identify preferred areas of practice and develop critical reflective skills. Students are expected to be supernumerary to the staff complement of ECEC setting.


    Title: Art in Early Years Education

    Credits: 05 Credits

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    This module aims to introduce students to the benefits of art in early childhood development. The module focuses on art as a medium for engaging young children in the learning process. It is also intended to offer students the opportunity to engage in a process of experiential learning through active participation in the planning, development and promotion of learning thorugh art.


    Title: Social Policy for Early Childhood Education

    Credits: 05 Credits

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    This module introduces students to Irish social policy and the concept of welfare service provision. It considers the social policy framework for understanding the status and position of children in Irish society, particularly highlighting a children’s rights perspective. It explores the national and EU policy developments and policy contexts that influence early childhood education and care in Ireland. Students will also engage with contemporary debates emerging in policy that have an impact for the ECEC sector in Ireland and for ECEC practitioners.


    Title: Positive Behaviour strategies in Early Childhood

    Credits: 05 Credits

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    In this module psychology and positive behaviour support will be explored with students as a way of achieving such positive interactions, to encourage positive behaviour and respond to behavioural challenges in the early childhood setting. Behavioural challenges most commonly encountered in childhood will also be explored. The functions and causes of these behaviours will be examined.

    The aim of this module is to develop competence in the learner's ability to apply frameworks such as Aistear and Siolta in relation to the importance of supportive and positive interactions in early childhood, and to align the information with current thinking in the sector such as the high scope - conflict resolution model. Interactions that foster constructive dialogue (child/child, child/adult and adult/adult) and require explicit policies, procedures and practice. Thus emphasising the value of process and relationships that are based on mutual respect, equal partnership and sensitivity.

    Child observation methods will be practiced in this module to assist in the identification and assessment of behaviours. Training will be provided ABC analysis, the design of positive behaviour policies for use in practice settings and liaison with parents to uise these strategies at home. In addition, guidance will be provided in the use of PBS techniques and individual plans to prevent behavioural episodes occurring and respond proactively and safely in a supportive manner to behaviour.

     


    Title: Integrating Curriculum and Relational Pedagogy (RP)

    Credits: 05 Credits

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    The relational pedagogy approach treats relationships as the foundation of good pedagogy, building on the strong emphasis on relationships already embedded in pedagogy itself (MacNeill and Silcox, 2006). Relational pedagogy suggests three practices that can be used to change the early childhood learning environment through change processes, reflective behaviour and direct engagement with children. This module explores how relational pedagogy currently exists in some frameworks or can be embedded into the early childhood curriculum to great effect. This module aims to encourage learners to integrate pedagogical approaches based on resilience and social justice into their own early years professional practice focusing on the underpinning values and principles of relationship building and development. This module encourages learners to integrate and ethically reflect on the knowledge and skills developed in their first placement. The child as an active participant and agent in their own learning and the development of rich and positive learning experiences will be explored


    Title: Management in Early Education Organisations

    Credits: 05 Credits

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    This module gives the students an appreciation of the skills and knowledge required to manage in the early childhood education organisation. It provides an overview of the skills required for managing a small scale business and focuses in on the nature of planning, governance and customer service required to ensure the viability of a business in the sector. It develops some key skills of financial management related to income and expenditure accounts and cash flow management. It creates an awareness of the HR implications including legislation which impacts on recruitment and employment decisions for the organisation.


  • Year 4

    Title: Transitions in the Early Years

    Credits: 05 Credits

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    The aim of this module is to equip students with the knowledge and practical skills to support children in a variety of transitional situations throughout their early years. Aistear and Síolta highlight the importance of supportive and smooth transitions in early childhood. The module explores young children’s early transitional experiences with particular reference to the Aistear themes of Well-being and Identity and Belonging. The need for ECEC staff and parents to co-construct transition activities and stimulate socio-emotional development will be explored. Ways of developing and supporting children’s feelings of security and confidence during transitions are examined. Resilience and coping with change will be explored through the students’ own personal experience of these concepts.


    Title: The Early Years Professional

    Credits: 05 Credits

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    The aim of this module is; enable the emerging EY professional practitioner to explore the theory and practice of professionalism as an EY practitioner. The module will enable participants to reflect on their emerging identity and to further develop their professional capacity in a range of key domains including: professional values, ethics, responsibility, accountability and confidentiality. The module will also enable the emerging EY professional practitioner to explore career pathways in the EC sector. It will also afford them opportunities to prepare for transition to early childhood practitioner careers via CV development, interview skills, networking opportunities and further study options.


    Title: Leadership and Change Management

    Credits: 05 Credits

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    Students educated in early child education will have the teaching and theoretical skills to work in the early childhood education sector. However there is also a need to address the area of leadership and change management as part of the challenging world presented by early childhood education in Ireland at the present time. This module explores the theory and skills required in the area of leadership and change management, looks at models of best practice both nationally and internationally and examines relevant case studies in the discipline. The Siolta quality enhancement review process speaks specifically to change management and leadership in this context.

     


    Title: Problem Based Learning (PBL) and Action Research (AR)

    Credits: 10 Credits

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    As a final year capstone module students educated in early childhood education will have to address research skills and carry out some form of practice based research. To provide students with the opportunity to complete this research begun in Semester 1 and approach the process in a creative and innovative manner, this module will take place over the entire academic year and be allocated 10 credits. Students will have to engage with a number of Problem Based Learning (PBL) type activities and carry out a small piece of related Action Research (AR) followed by a submission of a short project/thesis/floor book outlining their work, analysis and findings. In doing so students will try to capture their learning but also define their values and rationale that they will take with them into their teaching career as early childhood educators. The format of this module may involve a blended learning approach, online activities and the use of a wide range of interactive learning techniques.

     


    Title: Music, Movement and Maths

    Credits: 05 Credits

    read more »

    This module aims to introduce students to the benefits of creative practice in early childhood development through a combination of Music, Movement and Art for Numeracy and Literacy skills. This module focuses on creative practices as an open ended, fun and essential experience for young children. It is also intended to offer students the opportunity to engage in a process of experiential learning. Students will reflect on art, music and movement based activities and how these activities can be used to promote early childhood development.


    Title: Therapeutic Play for Early Childhood Care and Education

    Credits: 05 Credits

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    This module facilitates an understanding of how the theory of therapeutic play enhances the holistic learning and emotional development of children. The practical skills development of therapeutic play is encouraged so that the student will be aware of how to provide engaging and meaningful play for children aged from infancy to six years of age. Students will learn how to design, develop and carry out therapeutic play sessions that address issues related to children’s learning, development and emotional wellbeing. The module will provide an awareness of how child development and child observation theory and practice help understand the learning and emotional development of children.


    Title: Problem Based Learning (PBL) and Action Research (AR)

    Credits: 05 Credits

    read more »

    As a final year module students educated in early childhood education will have to address research skills and carry out some form of practice based research. Students will have to engage with a number of Problem Based Learning (PBL) type activities and carry out a small piece of related Action Research (AR) followed by a submission of a short project/thesis/floor book proposal outlining their intentions. In doing so students will try to capture their learning but also define their values and rationale that they will take with them into their teaching career as early childhood educators. The format of this module may involve a blended learning approach, online activities and the use of a wide range of interactive learning techniques.

     


    Title: Child, Family and Community

    Credits: 05 Credits

    read more »

    Building on the Introduction to Sociology and Sociology of Early Childhood in earlier semesters, this module will facilitate students to further consider the social, economic and cultural contexts of families and communities. It will support students to look at the idea of relationships with and surrounding the child within an ecological framework, whilst also exploring the core concepts and theories underpinning child and family services. Students will recognise the significance of, and their role as early years professionals in developing and managing relationships with the child, the family and the community. There will be a focus on the job of other professionals working with children, families and communities, with an emphasis on strategies to develop working relationships and strong collaboration which can be utilised by early years professionals. Students will become aware of the role National frameworks, such as Siolta and Aistear have in guiding partnership and collaboration, particularly amongst early years professionals, parents, families and communities.

     


    Title: Advancing Outdoor Learning for Early Years

    Credits: 05 Credits

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    This module provides learners with the opportunity to examine and evaluate theories and pedagogies relevant to play and learning in contemporary outdoor early years educational practice. This enables learners to explore the role of the outdoor environment as a learning resource. Learners to analyse the ways in which the Forest School movement has, is, and may be used to promote the well-being of young children. The module will provide an awareness of the significance of maintaining a safe and secure outdoor environment, learning with nature - inside, outside and beyond, including an overview of risk management.


    Title: Early Childhood Education and Care Law

    Credits: 05 Credits

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    A study of selected detailed topics in Family and Child Law, together with an Introduction to selected other areas of Early Childhood Care and Education Law


    Title: Play as Pedagogy

    Credits: 05 Credits

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    This module introduces students to the concept and components of 'playful teaching and learning' (PTL) in Early Childhood Education and Care settings. As Hayes (2003) proposes, play is a pedagogical tool for the teacher as well as a pathway for learning for the child. This module examines the notion of co-construction of play and engaging with children as active learners. The principles of PTL as well as the challenges of this approach will be explored. The pillars of practice in the PTL approach will be examined. Students will reflect on their own attitudes to play and learn how to best use the PTL approach in their work as Early Years Professionals.


    Title: Pedagogy in an additional language

    Credits: 05 Credits

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    This module examines individual and societal multilingualism in early childhood. The module introduces students to immersion education in an early childhood care and education setting with a focus on Irish naíonraí­.


Are there opportunities for further study?

Graduates may progress to postgraduate studies including: speech and language therapy, play therapy, child, family & community studies, primary school teaching, Montessori and adult and community education.

What are the career prospects?

Positions that graduates work in include:                                                              

• ECEC educators and managers in a variety ECEC settings. 

• They may work directly with children, with parents, with co-professional colleagues or in the wider community or indeed all of the above in a complex daily role.  

• Graduates may also work with children, families and diverse communities as Family Resource workers.  

• ECEC graduates may work with children, families and communities, other professionals and institutions and early childhood in the wider local, national and international context.