courses in Ireland

BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Studies (Blended Learning Option)

Course Type: PLC and Further Education
Institute Name: Portobello Institute
Fee: on request
Course Locations: Dublin City Centre
Application Deadline: Course Runs Regularly

Course Details

The BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies awarded by London Metropolitan University (LMU) was one of the first such degrees in the UK. In Ireland, there is an obvious need for well-qualified early childhood specialists working with young children and their families across all sectors: play, care, health and education. Portobello Institute recognises the challenges facing those working in the sector wishing to upskill while continuing to work full-time and by offering this programme, an academic route is provided for those wishing to achieve an Honours degree in Early Childhood Studies through distance learning.

Portobello Institute is LMU’s only Irish accredited centre for Early Childhood Studies. Through this partnership, we offer students the opportunity to access some of the world’s leading research and thinking in the early years sector. Portobello Institute has mapped the learning outcomes of this honours degree to the learning outcomes of the most commonly held awards on the Irish National Framework of Qualifications. The outcome for many practitioners seeking to progress their studies is that they may now access exemptions and recognition of their prior learning and gain advanced entry into year two of this honours BA in Early Childhood Studies. Holders of this award will also be eligible to gain the higher capitation grant from the DCYA (Dept. of Children and Youth Studies) for their role in an early childhood centre.

This course is delivered through blended learning with supported workshops and one-to-one tutor support available. A key feature of this programme is its emphasis on practical knowledge and the development of professional, as well as academic, skills and knowledge.

Course Overview

A unique feature of this degree is that it is designed with flexible study opportunities. The focus of the course is the study of play, development and learning in children from birth to six years old in a socio-cultural context and the implications of this for practice in early childhood settings. A range of local and international perspectives are taken including: children's rights, children's health and well-being, pedagogical and curriculum approaches, diversity and inclusion. The course therefore draws on a range of disciplines such as psychology, sociology and social policy, education and health. The course emphasises the links between theory and practice and highly values the development of professional as well as academic skills and knowledge.

The course equips you to implement effective practice with children and families in a range of situations and to act as an advocate for their rights and well-being. The course team includes writers and researchers at the forefront of the field who are passionately committed to enabling, empowering and enthusing students to make transformational changes to their own lives and to the lives of children, families and communities.

Qualifications Gained
•BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Studies

Entry Requirements

This course is by direct entry to the college.
•FETAC Level 6 ECCE with Montessori Pedagogy
•FETAC Level 6 Advanced Supervision in Childcare with Montessori
•HETAC Level 6 Higher Certificate in Arts 3-9 year olds (Year 1 and 2) from Portobello Institute
•FETAC Level 6 Advanced Supervision in Childcare (holders of this award are required to apply for R.P.L and submit an academic transcript from the course).
•FETAC Level 6 ECCE (holders of this award are required to apply for R.P.L and submit an academic transcript from the course).

Course Structure

This is currently a blended learning course run over 4 years. Learners who satisfy recognition of prior learning will be exempt from Year 1 and will only be required to complete years 2-4. (For more information please see the section below titled: "Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)".

The BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies is structured to maximise opportunities for flexible study, as students may choose to complete the course by distance learning with supported workshops held each term. Students access materials through Portobello and LMU’s virtual learning platform. A range of visual materials and videos are available. Workshops and seminars are held to support learning and students are invited to participate in these learning activities. Please review the programme schedule to identify locations. Reflection is promoted by reflective exercises incorporated into the web-based materials.

All students are invited to discuss their progress with programme managers and module tutors. This can take place face to face, on the telephone or through e-mail. Students who are experienced practitioners are required to be working with young children during their studies in either a paid or voluntary capacity. Where this is not the case, students are required to complete two hours per week, in an early childhood setting, per module being studied.

Course Aims
•Develop the professional competence of those who work with young children and their families, meeting local and national workforce development regulations.
•Enable students to develop insights and understandings relating to how children and childhood are understood from a range of academic and professional perspectives.
•Facilitate the development of early childhood specialists to reflect upon and critically assess their own practice; the legislative and historical framework in which they work and to take a well-informed part in current debates in the field, thereby acting as advocates in the field.
•Enable students to recognise their strengths, capabilities and experience as professionals to meet required early childhood care and education professional standards.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Portobello Institute has mapped the learning outcomes of the awards listed below thereby gaining recognition of prior learning (RPL) with LMU for students holding the following qualifications:
•Advanced Supervision in Childcare with Montessori Teaching – FETAC Level 6 Major Award.
•Early Years Care and Education with Montessori Teaching – FETAC Level 6 Major Award.
•Higher Certificate in Arts in Montessori Education – HETAC Level 6 Major Award.

The BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies is a four year credit programme carrying 360 credits. Holders of the above listed awards are exempt from year one and are only required to complete years 2-4 of the course and the remaining 240 credits to gain the BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Studies.

Holders of the above awards without Montessori Components are also eligible to apply for RPL.

RPL is done on an individual basis; you will be required to submit an academic transcript (module and unit breakdown) of the course you have completed.

Course Content

Year 1 ( 120 credit transfer from ECCE programmes)

Year 2
•Challenging inequalities in Early Childhood (30 credits)
•Approaches to pedagogy and curriculum in the Early Years (30 credits)
•Personal, social and emotional development (30 credits)

Year 3
•Creative thinking and representation from birth to six years (15 credits)
•Communicating in multilingual contexts (15 credits)
•Debates on children and childhood (30 credits)
•Reflective leadership in a multi-professional context (30 credits)

Year 4
•The child, the family and the wider world (15 credits)
•Reading research and research methods in Early Childhood (15 credits)
•The project (30 credits)

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