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Early Childhood Care & Education



On this programme the focus is on the critical early years of child development and learning. Students will work on theoretical concepts in teaching, learning, psychology and sociology and how they apply to the developing child. There will be a strong emphasis practical application of these theories and approaches through indoor and outdoor play, art, drama and music as students will learn to make a difference in the years that count by understanding children, how they learn and how society shapes them.


There is a range of employment opportunities in early years settings such as pre-schools, crèches, nurseries, playgroups, primary schools and breakfast/homework clubs. Graduates could also practice in more specialist areas such as special needs services or early intervention projects and may be employed in the public, private or voluntary sectors or may go on to establish their own businesses. The degree also provides a solid foundation for postgraduate study.


If you are interested in working with children, in finding out how children develop and learn, are eager to study different cultures, languages, and diversity in the world, and enthusiastic about making a difference in children’s lives you will be ideally suited to this programme.


The programme combines theory with hands on experience and practical skills. Students experience the variety of the early years sector through two placements in distinct early year settings providing the opportunity to link classroom learning with work based practice. Students are supervised throughout placement by an experienced early years practitioner as well as being given on-going support from an allocated college academic supervisor.

There is have a dedicated early childhood practice room, which is a replica of an early childhood setting and this provides students with the opportunities to apply and adapt their learning in a realistic early years environment. Students spend two semesters on work placement in early years settings practicing their in-class learning in real life situations with children. This leads to the creation of industry contacts for students which can be beneficial when it comes to looking for employment.This course uses varied assessment methods, for example creating a role play corner for children, observing children at play or designing a brochure for parents to inform them of developmental milestones for their children. The skills that students learn through this work can be used when working with children and their families.


Graduates of the Early Childhood Care and Education courses work as practitioners and as managers in an early years setting such as crèches, day nurseries, pre-schools, after-school services, special education services, early start classrooms and family centres. Graduates also work in the area of project development and in management positions in the Health Service Executive, country childcare committees and in public and voluntary organisations.

Garda Vetting Requirements

As part of the course content, each student is required to successfully complete work placements in Year 2 and Year 3 of the course. In order to commence work placement, each student must undergo the Garda Vetting process.

To ensure the protection of the public, and to justify public trust and confidence, the Institute is committed to ensuring that only suitable candidates are allowed to undertake specific parts of the programmes.

Without satisfactory Garda clearance, students will be unable to complete the work placement and thus will not be able to complete the programme or receive an award.

All places on the early childhood care and education courses are provisional and subject to the student obtaining satisfactory Garda vetting from the Central Garda Vetting Unit.

The current legal minimum age for sole application for Garda vetting is 18 years of age. In the event of an applicant being between 16 and 18 years of age, written consent is also required from a parent or guardian.


In addition to Garda vetting a medical assessment and provision of personal references may be required in regard to suitability for placement.


View our range of full time and part time Early Childhood Care and Education courses...

Full time Early Childhood  Care and Education course list

Part time Early Childhood  Care and Education course list


What our students say...

" I decided on this course as I come from a family who have been invovled in the sector before, so I grew up with the idea that I always wanted to be a preschool teacher. I enjoy the wide range of modules in particular Professional Practice, which helps prepare you for working with children. This is very helpful as we go out on a 3 month work placements in Year 2 and Year 3. Work placement is great experience, I was lucky enough to be offered a summer job after my Year 2 placement."
Louise Lowry
Early Childhood Care & Education

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