There are advantages and disadvantages to undertaking a Childcare course via Distance Learning. Let’s start on a positive note and look at the advantages:
- Childcare employers recognise and accept a childcare qualification gained through distance learning (once it is accredited). In fact they acknowledge the extra dedication and skills required to complete a course without classroom assistance.
- You can schedule your learning to suit your personal life. This is ideal for those who have personal commitments like being a parent but yet want to learn more about childcare.
- You can complete classes in your own time as classes are ‘asynchronous’, which means you don’t have to attend a lecture at a particular time or place. Most courses assign you a childcare tutor to assist you with your studies. They are like your personal expert in childcare.
- There are affordable on-line short certificate courses that offer an introduction to childcare – which is ideal for those ‘testing the water’ before they make a commitment to a longer term course like an advanced certificate or degree.
- Childcare assignments are designed to maximise the learner’s skills and understanding of childcare.
- You can start with a component certificate and build up childcare modules in your own time.
- Some colleges have student forums, which means you are less isolated as a student of Childcare.
- Given the nature of childcare studies – both practical and theory – it will only be when the student is on work experience that practical work will be experienced.
- Students don’t get to experience materials used, for example, the sensory materials used in Montessori – until they start work experience in a Montessori setting.
- Childcare students have to wait for work experience to put into practice the exercises and skills studied and learned.
- Distance learning in the area of childcare doesn’t allow for face to face peer or tutor interaction on childcare related topics like child development.
Therefore before embarking on Childcare studies via Distance Learning, reflect on what you need from your course in terms of your learning needs and your unique circumstances. Some questions to ask could include how much contact time do I get with the tutor assigned to me, is work experience built into the course, is there a student forum to access or how much time do I get to complete the course?
It is also important that you check that the qualification on completion of your distance learning course is fully accredited. Under the Childcare Act 1991, the HSE requires that a person carrying out a pre-school service, ensures that those they employ to care for children, have appropriate qualifications. Most employers require at least a Level 5 Childcare qualification. Apart from accreditation, it might be important for you the student, that your certificate also allows you to progress further, whether to a QQI Level 6 (advanced certificate) or up to a Level 8 (degree level). Of course, these are all questions to pose to your course provider.
Kilroys College offer a Distance Learning Diploma Training course in Childcare. It is designed for anybody interested in pursuing a career in Childcare. Ideal for parents and those considering employment in a Childcare centre or those intending to start a day care centre, nursery or a crèche.
CMIT offer a Fetac Level 6 Childcare course through Distance Learning. The course aims to promote good practice. Students can gain a nationally accredited qualification. Once enrolled, the student receives a comprehensive course manual, video quizzes and personalised tutor support. Like all other e-learning courses students will be able to upload assignments on-line and receive on-line feedback.
NUIG offer students the opportunity to study Early Childcare Studies and Practice. This course was developed to meet the needs of practitioners in the childcare sector. It is both a flexible and accessible academic programme.
Portobello Institute offer you the opportunity to undertake component certificates. Their Certificate in Early Childhood Programmes is one of the four core modules of the Advanced Certificate in Supervision in Childcare (a full major award, QQI Level 6). Students have the option to study further to gain the full award.
The Portobello Institute also offer other Distance Learning courses in the Childcare area – including a Diploma in Montessori Teaching.
Distance Learning is when, where and how you want it. With lifestyles becoming increasingly hectic for some, it is the ideal way to become qualified in Childcare whether for personal or career reasons. In relation to gaining employment, it is important to note that studying Childcare through Distance Learning does allow you to learn all of the necessary skills needed to become a skilled childcare provider or worker.
View Online and Distance Learning Childcare courses on Findacourse.ie at https://www.findacourse.ie/courses-ireland/childcare/a/distance-learning/