The Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Early Childhood Education & Care is a degree which is designed with Early Childhood professionals, and the children they will engage with, in mind. The programme has three exit awards – Higher Certificate in ECEC (level 6), BA Ord in ECEC (level 7), and BA Hons. In ECEC (level 8). At each exit award stage, the programme aims to equip future ECEC professionals with the tools to navigate the ever changing landscape of early childhood education and care in Ireland and internationally, provide learners with the tools and dispositions to provide the best practice and care for the children they engage with, and to enable learners to think critically about their roles as professionals, both locally and globally. In the final year of the programme, learners are offered the opportunity to choose a 'Specialism'. These specialism's enable learners to develop a deeper knowledge of ECEC discourses, theories, concepts, and practices whilst simultaneously mastering the skills needed to conduct an individual research project at the cutting edge of social science in an area of chosen specialism. The specialisms include; Special Educational Needs, Equality & Diversity, Training & Mentoring, Birth to Three Years Pedagogue, and Arts & Creativity.
Years 1 & 2 - Introduces the learner to the key concepts and theories involved in Early Childhood Education and Care while simultaneously equipping them with the skills and competencies to lead a room in an early childhood education and care setting. On completion of the Higher Certificate in ECEC the learner will be able to assess the holistic needs of the children in their care and create developmentally appropriate plans to further the child’s learning and care, as well as interacting appropriately with various stakeholders. On completion of this award, students are eligible to apply to progress onto the BA in Early Childhood Education and Care (Ord).
Year 3 - Will equip the learner with specialized knowledge to lead and manage in the field of early childhood education and care. Learners will be enabled to critically analyse and critique existing bodies of knowledge and build on them with new knowledge. They will make connections between various modules and theories, concepts, and discourses enabling them to create emergent individual and whole group curriculum plans, design Individual Education Plans (IEPs), utilize inspection tools & the Corrective Action Preventative Action (CAPA) forms, reflect on their own professional practice, lead, and work within a team of professionals. As leaders in their services, they will also be equipped with the skills to professionally advocate for themselves, their colleagues, and the children and families they work in partnership with. On completion of this award, students are eligible to apply to progress onto the BA in Early Childhood Education and Care (Hons).
Year 4 - Enables learners to develop a deeper knowledge of ECEC discourses, theories, concepts, and practices whilst simultaneously mastering the skills needed to conduct an individual research project at the cutting edge of social science. The learner will also be enabled to specialize in one of several areas: Special Educational Needs, Equality & Diversity, Training & Mentoring, Birth to Three Pedagogy, and Arts & Creativity. Through communities of practice the learners will advance their already existing skills of learning, reflecting, and sharing practice and funds of knowledge and will have the opportunity to lead a community of practice of their own making. This programme will equip learner with the skills necessary to lead an Early Learning and Care service, create policy and specialised practice, and to mentor, support and facilitate fellow colleagues within a team who seek advice in their area of specialism.
Minimum Intended Programme Learning Outcomes:
Years 1 & 2 - At the end of years 1 & 2 Learners will be able to:
- See children as competent and capable learners and will provide suitable care and learning opportunities.
- Understand the theories supporting the importance of relationships in ECEC and will communicate effectively with stakeholders to build appropriate relationships.
- Able to link theories to practice, oversee and implement a service curriculum, and ensure quality standards are adhered to.
- Able to lead a service, reflect on professional practice, understand the legislation that governs ECEC and create policies to ensure the service operates under quality standards and frameworks.
- understand the importance of a global classroom that is inclusive of all and reflects the diverse races, ethnicities, and abilities
Year 3 - At the end of year 3, Learners will be able to:
- Critically analyse children’s rights and how they are implemented in a service, in addition to understanding the theories behind children’s typical development and growth.
- Develop the skills to advocate for children, parents, communities, and fellow professionals in addition to developing relationships.
- Make decisions about practice, methods, and approaches informed by complex theories in order to lead a service and design a curriculum.
- Understand the impact of social, national and international policy on how a service operates and will learn to navigate policies in order to advocate for the sector and other stakeholders.
- Articulate a world view about global iterations of ECEC and critically analyse why and how curricula and approaches are developed within a culture.
Year 4 - At the end of year 4, Learners will be able to:
- Master an area of specialism in relation to children at the cutting edge of current research and practice.
- Develop and cultivate relationships within an area of specialism with children, parents, colleagues, and sectoral stakeholders using specialist skillsets and techniques.
- Master the tools and skills needed to work in an area of specialism. They will articulate the specific theories, current research, and practices that underpin working in an area of specialism.
- Undertake research in an area of professional specialism; discerning suitable research skills and navigating ethical situations as a professional social scientist. Learners will source and utilise current research to enhance quality practice.
- Source international research, decipher international discourses, and contribute to global research conversations in the area relating to the chosen specialism.