BA (Ord) Early Childhood Studies is delivered through blended learning, you can work full time and complete this degree. Upon completion of this Level 7 degree you will be eligible to gain the higher capitation grant from the DCYA (now DCEDIY) for your role in an early childhood centre.
Start Date2nd October 2021
QualificationLevel 7 Ordinary Degree
Course Duration3 academic semesters
You can gain a Level 7 BA (Ord) Early Childhood Studies degree in just 14 months whilst you are working, if you currently hold a QQI ECCE Level 6 award. You can study this degree in your own time through blended learning, with a combination of webinar tutorial seminars and online learning. You can join the large network of early years practitioners on this learning journey. There is an easy payment plan designed to make this degree affordable. These factors, together with the one to one tutorial support, offer you a Level 7 BA (Ord) Early Childhood Studies degree that is accessible, affordable and achievable.
Why should I study this course?
If you hold the ECCE full major award and are looking to further your qualifications, we have designed this level 7 BA Early Childhood Studies for you. It is delivered by blended learning to support your work-life balance and offers you a path of progression to level 8 and right through to a Level 9 Masters in Early Childhood Studies.
As an early years graduate, working as a manager in an early childhood setting is a natural career progression. There will also be new career options available to you. Upon successful completion of this degree, you will be eligible to apply for more diverse roles such as those within community projects and public health.
If you hold this level 7 degree, you are eligible to gain the higher capitation grant from the DCEDIY (formerly the DCYA) for your role in an early childhood centre. Visit page 9 of the DCYA list here to view details.
Who will recognise my qualification?
Upon successful completion of this programme, you will be awarded a BA in Early Childhood Studies. This is awarded at level 7 on the National Framework of Qualifications.
Qualifications Frameworks in Ireland and the UK
The Irish and UK qualifications authorities have collaborated on initiatives that promote the transparency, recognition and mobility of qualifications between our respective jurisdictions. The qualifications authorities in the UK and Ireland have agreed the qualifications frameworks in operation, Brexit will not impact this agreement. Further guidance on this framework is available here.
What will I study during this BA (Ord) Early Childhood Studies – Starts Oct ’21 course?
During this course, you will learn about 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. You will consider a range of local and international perspectives including children’s rights, children’s health and well-being, pedagogical and curriculum approaches, diversity and inclusion. You will explore a range of disciplines such as psychology, sociology and social policy, education and health. Learning the links between theory and practice is key to your development as a professional early years practitioner.
There are nine modules covered during this programme. Detailed below are each of the modules and the learning outcomes you will achieve.
Who will I learn from?
I started my career in education at the age of 16 and was teaching English to preschool and school-aged children in Kyiv, Ukraine. To develop my interest in languages and teaching, I completed a BA and then MA in Teaching English and German, followed by a PhD in Linguistics at Taras Shevchenko University of Kyiv. Between 2000 and 2005, I worked at the English Language Department of the university and was responsible for teaching English to future English teachers and interpreters and supervising student research projects.
Having married an Irishman, I moved to Ireland in 2005 and as I started having my own children, I developed an interest in early childhood education. I completed training in Montessori education and started my career as a Montessori Teacher. Around that time Siolta and Aistear frameworks were introduced and I realised that I wanted to enlarge my knowledge about the variety of methods and approaches used to educate children. This led me to a BA Hons in Early Childhood Studies with Portobello Institute/London Metropolitan University and after completion of this programme with First Class Honours I taught on Portobello Level 5 and 6 Early Childhood Care and Education programmes while still continuing to work directly with children and families in Early Years settings. In 2018, I joined the Portobello team in a full-time capacity as the Programme Manager for the degree programmes and my role is focused on providing positive learning experiences for the students through leading the team of tutors and working with other Portobello departments as well as communicating with the teaching team at LMU.
I am eager to learn more about third-level education and working with adult learners. I am currently completing a MA in Education, Learning and Development programme.
Why did you choose to work in education?
I believe that the learner-centred approach is as important in third level as it is in early childhood education. The student’s well-being is very important and it is only when the student feels they are welcome and accepted as unique individuals, learning can take place. I work to create this welcoming atmosphere and make sure that students have no barriers in approaching the team, that they receive the necessary information timely, know where to get help and can get help. Education is not just about content knowledge, it is about making relationships, meeting inspiring people, learning from others – and this is what we offer the students in our department and in our Institute.
Your experience as a Programme Manager.
I am really proud of the programmes we offer. A lot of the assignments are practice-based and both, those students who are new to the industry, and experienced practitioners, have a lot of opportunities to reflect on their work with children and families and learn to align it with best practice and research evidence. Our teaching team is very strong and they strive to help the students along this journey – we employ tutors who do not only have the academic knowledge but also have industry experience so they can relate in the theory to practice in a real way. My role is to develop and support the teaching team and ensure that we are meeting our students’ needs.
The students in our department come from a variety of backgrounds. Many of them have been out of formal education for a long time, many are experiencing third level education for the first time. Some have a fear of using technology and online systems, some have learning difficulties. We understand that each student’s needs and situations are unique. We do our best to support them and we are thrilled to celebrate their success on the graduation day – their success is our success!
Ever since I started tutoring with Portobello, I’ve been inspired by the learner profile of those who study with the college. The majority of Early Childhood Studies students are practitioners who have to juggle the pressures of work, study and family life. These are people who want to better themselves despite any difficulties that might come their way. This is what motivates me to do my work on a daily basis. And as a mum of three children, who also combines work and study, I feel I am in the right place to be able to understand our students.
In addition, I think we have an excellent team working for the college. I am surrounded by like-minded and hard-working people, some of whom have become really good friends. I am blown away in how creative and innovative our senior management is in advancing the college work and how supportive they are of the team.
Because our team is compact and closely-knit, I believe we can communicate a lot better and meet the students’ needs more effectively and efficiently than many other institutions. We are currently putting emphasis on improving our student feedback system and this will be instrumental in further promoting quality in our department.
- MA Teaching English and German
- PhD Linguistics
- BA Hons Early Childhood Studies
- PGr Cert Training and Education
- Early Childhood Ireland Research and Practice Seminar
Personal Academic Tutor
Each student is assigned a personal academic tutor to support you throughout your learning journey. They are available to offer you telephone and email support at any time. You can arrange to meet them for further one to one guidance at a time convenient to you.
Many of our past graduates have found it is the opportunity to ask a simple question, seek direction and submit a draft of their assessment that supported them most to successful completion. Emailing your tutor at any stage during your programme to ask a query or submit a draft of your assessment supports you to achieve your personal best throughout your studies with Portobello.
This level of one to one support is a particular benefit to choosing Portobello as your Institute of choice to complete your studies.
“Nobody ever finished up where they started – you are never too old to realise your full potential”
Working in the Early Years sector is like a second life for me. I worked in the sales industry for years and always knew there had to be something more fulfilling for me out there. In 2005 I took that chance through a FETAC level 5 course in Early Childhood Studies, and you could say I caught the bug. So here I am 15 years later with a Level 5, 6, and 8. Two level nines – one in Public health and health promotion and one in Early Years Education, level 10 is the next step.
I have vast experience built up over the past 15 years working in this area from preschool practitioner to lecturer. I work with Cork Institute of Technology as an Early Years Placement Supervisor also at present and have done so for the past 5 years. I began my journey with Portobello 3 years ago after a change meeting with Iryna on the train from an Early Childhood Ireland conference in Dublin, and the rest they say is history. Working with Portobello is a great experience the team are so supportive and welcoming. The best interests of the students are always to the forefront and immense work always goes on behind the scenes to ensure this.
Denise’s Teaching Philosophy
My approach is that all students realise the importance of their place in a child’s learning. The first 6 years of a child’s life are perhaps the most important. It is a time when the seeds are set so it is important that they are watered appropriately. Early Years Practitioners are at the centre of a child’s early years, with the family and peers they are the most influential, therefore it is vital that they are aware of all areas pertained to early years care and education. I lead the Debating children and Childhood module, and this is an area that I love to teach. The policy, practice and ideas of childhood that have shaped our views of the constructions of childhood are fascinating and it is an area that continues to change with more people and governments becoming aware of how inequality and poverty effects the child’s life chances.
Just as children learn differently, I am aware that this is the same for adults. No two people are the same and no two people learn the same. It is therefore my role to ensure that I am there to support all students in the learning experience making it a positive one for them. I believe in being available for queries, questions, supports and anxieties at all times. I am aware of the life constraints on the students as many are juggling work, family and study so therefore being available for students in the evenings as well as during the day is important to me. I love to see students both young and not so young getting excited about the module and engaging fully with the supports provided by Portobello.
Master’s degree in Public Health (Health Promotion Pathway)
Master’s degree in Early Years Education
BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies
FETAC level 5 Early Childhood Care and Education
FETAC level 6 Preschool Management
Placement Supervisor with Cork Institute of Technology’s Early Childhood Education and Care degree course.
Community Health and education Development Worker with the Traveller Community in North Cork.
National Treasurer of OMEP Ireland – early years research network.
Assisted with the inclusion of Traveller culture in the audit of Aistear in conjunction with NCCA
Position: Early Years Lecturer
“When I returned to education in 2000 to study Montessori Teaching, I knew I had found my life’s passion. I am passionate about my job and I want to instil in others what has been given to me.”
I began working in early education in 1994, and to be honest, did not know what I was taking on, but the times of work fitted with my family! Little did I know that I would find my life’s passion. I was fascinated by these young people and the fact that the sector was unregulated and basically providers could do what they liked. I began to read on the subject and improve my practice and returned to education in 2000 to study the Montessori Method. Since then, I have not stopped learning, through study, through working with children and families, through my role as a manager/lead practitioner in rural, urban, affluent, and disadvantaged areas. My experiences provide me with vast industry insight as I have experienced vast changes within our sector, frameworks, legislative and other. In a setting, each year brings a different group dynamic, therefore it is essential to have the ability reflect upon and amend provision and practice to meet the needs of children, families, and staff. I hope that by bringing my practical experiences in the setting into my tutorials allows students to link theory and practice.
In 2004, I became a tutor at Portobello Institute on a part-time basis. Currently I work fulltime for the Institute supporting full-time QQI Level 6 students in Child Development, Early Childhood Curriculum, Social, Legal and Health Studies and Personal and Professional Development. I am part of a vital, vibrant team who support Level 7 Early Childhood Studies Degree students studying through a blended approach. I lead modules such as Children’s Rights in Today’s World, Enquiry Based Learning and Communicating in Multilingual Contexts.
Jacinta’s Teaching Philosophy
My approach is that all students have something to give and to learn, true learning is a two-way process, I love to see students discussing their life experiences to make sense of theory. Many of the students are experienced practitioners and their practical knowledge should be valued. Just as no two children learn the same, similar could be said of adults, people learn in different ways and therefore I try to use a variety of approaches to suit the needs of the group in question. I also understand the pressure of completing study with work, families, and other commitments, as I have been there, and can offer some practical tips.
My greatest achievements as a tutor are to see students who are returning to education with little confidence in themselves and their ability, blossom and grow both as students and practitioners.
Key valuable graduate attributes are, of course, knowledge required to be an early year’s practitioner and the ability to apply that knowledge in their setting. However, there are other equally vital tools, such as compassion, to be able to look at situations from various perspectives to gain understanding and allow for appropriate planning. The ability to reach, support and work with all children, families, and staff in the setting is fundamental to quality provision. Building respectful, reciprocal relationships is essential to providing quality experiences which benefit children’s learning and development. I hope to instil the ability to reflect critically, without criticizing, to examine attributes, bias, and areas for improvement and to plan accordingly.
- BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies
- Teacher providing July Provision, a home-based programme for children with complex needs.
- Assisted the set up a Homework Club, Mother and Toddler Group and Woman’s Group in a disadvantaged area through government funding. This group won a Millennium Award for their efforts, it was a proud day to receive this award in Dublin Castle with 2 others.
- HETAC Montessori Course Liaison
- Child Protection Course facilitator
Position: Personal Development Advisor & Senior Early Years Lecturer
Moving to Germany after I completed my degree at The University of Limerick was exciting, but certainly very challenging as I was working in a truly multicultural/ educational environment. At this time, I was studying in Berlin for my Masters and also working to support myself and doing both through German. Either activity would have been a fulltime role, but doing both certainly improved my time management and prioritisation skills. I have seen the benefit of these key skills throughout my career. I remained in Germany for 10 years and living in such a dynamic multicultural environment benefitted me in so many ways from education to social understanding and self-awareness. My interest in the area of education drove me to open, develop and run my own child care facility for 10 years before moving in to the current phase of my career supporting the education and development of educators.
Maeve’s Teaching Philosophy
The part of my tutoring role that I find most rewarding is watching the students succeed both in the courses which I deliver, and onwards into their careers. I often receive a note of acknowledgment from a past student, who has just landed the job they trained for, or opened their own facility. I am always delighted with this kind of feedback, which shows me the value in what I do, and how I have in a small way enabled them to fulfil their ambitions. For me education is so much more than an exchange of knowledge, through involvement and participation, it enables a passion for true learning.
- BA Montessori Education
- MA International Politics (Through German / Diplom Politologin)
- BA European Studies
Research / Industry Participation
- St. Nicholas Montessori College, Dublin
- The Otto Suhr Institute, Free University (FU) Berlin, Germany
- University of Limerick (UL)
Modules Taught by Maeve
- Leading Practice with children, families and professionals – BA (Ord) in Early Childhood Studies
Quality of early year’s settings is characterized by strong leadership. In Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) settings children learn, grow and thrive when those settings are characterized by high-quality interactions and relationships. Leadership is one of the single most important drivers of organisational performance, quality improvement and innovation. This suggests that effective leadership is important and necessary in ECEC settings. While the evidence about ECEC leadership is still limited, there is a growing interest in gaining a better understanding about what ECEC leadership looks like across diverse settings and contexts, and how ECEC leadership can positively impact quality.
- Approaches to Pedagogy & Curriculum in the Early Years – BA (Ord) in Early Childhood Studies
This module gives students an insight to Curriculum and Pedagogy within the Early Years Setting. Pedagogy and Curriculum are often spoken of as one, however they are two separate entities, Pedagogy is how we teach whereas curriculum is what we teach. In the early years setting in Ireland, we see the children as ‘active agents’ in their own learning and a child-led approach is taken. Practitioners are becoming highly educated and are more open-minded to different pedagogies than they would have had historically.
Various curriculum models and perspectives in childhood education such as: Aistear, Reggio Emilia, EYFS, Forest Schools, Te Whariki, Steiner and Montessori are introduced. Pioneers/ theorists, such as Froebel, Steiner, Montessori, Margaret Mc Millan, Malaguzzi. Froebel, Piaget, Vygotsky, are considered & how they have influenced these models and perspectives. The objective here is to assist students (practitioners) to draw on their ideas when developing the framework within their settings, and incorporate such into their curriculum both indoors and outdoors.
- Enquiry Based Learning (EBL) – BA (Ord) in Early Childhood Studies
Enquiry based learning is particularly useful within early childhood education as it allows students of early childhood education to find information through inquiring and solving problems through constructive, critical thinking and also through reflection. Inquiry-based learning emphasizes the child’s role in the learning process. Rather than the teacher telling children what they need to know, children are encouraged to explore the material, ask questions, and share ideas. It helps children to develop their questioning, research and communication skills, collaborate outside the classroom, solve problems, create solutions, and tackle real-life questions and issues. As enquiry based learning continues, educators and children will become competent in building their own knowledge and how they understand the world through seeking and gaining information, developing their cognitive skills as the information is gained.
Position: Early Years Lecturer
“I am part of a fantastic team here in Portobello Institute. The range of modules from Children’s Rights to Challenging Inequalities provides students with extensive knowledge that can be effectively implemented into their daily practice. The wonderful students we have here seem to really enjoy the variety of modules making the BA in Early Childhood Studies a unique and useful degree.”
I started my journey in the Early Years sector back in 2012. After three fantastic years and a wonderful adventure at IT Carlow, I graduated with a BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Education and Care. Working in the sector thereafter, I was room leader of the preschool room and worked with children in afterschool club for a few years. As much as I loved these roles, I wanted to build on my knowledge and found my Masters Degree. I moved to Wales and completed the MA in Developmental and Therapeutic Play from Swansea University. As challenging as this was, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute. Back working in the sector, I started to work with Portobello Institute in October 2018 and have not looked back since!
Rachel’s Teaching Philosophy
With the knowledge I have gained from both degrees and my experience in the sector, I approach lectures with students in a manner in which everyone is encouraged to contribute and reflect. We learn so much from each other as professionals and the ever changing sector means we never stop learning. There is no such thing as a silly question! In regards to students projects my own dissertations were based on children friendships for my BA and children’s pretend play and gender for my MA. As such, I would supervise any projects in the areas of play, gender, and child development.
The early years sector values committed and confident early years professionals who are able to adapt and thrive in this ever changing sector. I encourage my students to strive in their studies and support them in recognising their capabilities and potential. No one day in an early years environment will be the exact same and I encourage students to explore and implement different strategies using their new knowledge, to their daily practice.
- BA (HONS) Early Childhood Education and Care – IT Carlow
- MA Developmental and Therapeutic Play- Swansea University
Modules Taught by Rachel
- Challenging Inequalities
This module is of utmost importance for everyone working in the Early Years. Apart from the importance of learning how to implement an anti-bias approach, students also learn about the impact of inequality on children, families and staff. Students will also explore their own attitudes to equality which is critical for both personal and professional growth
- Pedagogy and Curriculum
This module shows how far we have come in regards to supporting children’s learning and development. The module explores different curriculum models and approaches used around the world. Students find this module very useful as ideas and concepts from theoretical figures and pioneers of early education can be implemented into their own daily practice.
- Children’s Rights
This module explores how children and childhood are viewed in both majority and minority countries. Emphasis is placed on the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child and how legislation and government agencies protect the rights of children in Ireland and around the world. Students learn about the role of the practitioner in advocating for children’s rights and how they ensure children’s voices are heard and respected in practice.
Sinead successfully completed her BA (Ord) degree at Portobello, progressed to her BA (Hons) Level 8 and now works at the Ombudsman for Children's Office as an Early Resolution Officer.
How will I learn?
This Level 7 BA (Ord) Early Childhood Studies has been specifically designed for delivery by blended learning. It is suited to you if you are working full-time with limited spare time yet you want to achieve your degree qualification.
During the induction webinar, you will be given your log-in details to the online portal, ePortobello. Here you will find course notes, reading lists, podcasts, articles of interest and assessment guidelines. The content is structured in an easy to “find and follow” week by week format. You will need basic computer skills such as searching the internet and typing a word document.
Each module commences with an induction webinar and you will meet your lead tutor during this seminar. You can upload your assessments and your tutor will give you feedback on whether you are on the right track before you submit the final version. Blended learning allows you to study at your time with support available throughout your learning journey. The webinars are recorded so you may review these at a later date should you be unable to attend at the scheduled time.
Other delivery modes available
This programme is structured into 9 tutorial webinars with tutor supported online content delivered over 14 months. These seminars are held online on a Saturday from 10am to 4pm. The day is broken into to 1.5 hr sessions with breaks throughout. The sessions are recorded so you may review the session at a later stage should you be unable to log-in at the scheduled time. You will be introduced to fellow practitioners studying the programme in your region and we will support you to set-up study groups with the network of practitioners in your region.
Webinars & Tutor Support
The tutorial webinars are held at the start of each module and are designed to guide and support you throughout the module. These webinars lay out the module for you and the content you will cover. The assessment and expectations for successful completion are covered in detail as is where and how to access the information on ePortobello. You will be encouraged to connect with fellow students and have the opportunity to create your study network for the duration of your learning journey.
You can email your tutor at any stage during the module to ask a simple query or submit a draft of your assessment. Our programme management team are always available to offer you telephone and email support and if you need to, you can arrange to meet them for further one to one guidance. For more information about our team, click here. Many of our past graduates have found it is the opportunity to ask a simple question, seek direction and submit a draft of their assessment that supported them most to successful completion. This level of one to one support is unique to blended learning and is a particular benefit to choosing this mode of study. Portobello Institute has invested in a team of programme managers and tutors who are experienced early years practitioners as well as qualified and knowledgeable educators. They are available to assist you at every stage of this programme.
Online Learning Portal – ePortobello
During the induction seminar, we will show you how to navigate and find what you need with all of the information you need to complete this programme uploaded on to ePortobello. The content of this programme is set out in an easy to follow format with a combination of notes, articles, podcasts and other materials that will help you to understand the subject and complete your assessment.
How will I be assessed?
Assessments for this degree are not exam based. Instead the assessments vary from practice based assignments to lessons plans. We encourage you to reflect on your knowledge gain with a number of assignments designed to explore your learning journey. All of these methods are seeking to support you to combine theory with scenario based learning and how to practically implement these methods into your every day practice.
Who else has studied this degree?
Student Feedback – Eileen McLoughlin
Eileen lives in Donegal and the blended learning approach suited her. Each module commenced with a face to face workshop/tutorial which she found very beneficial “It was lovely to meet the tutors and discover what exactly was involved in each assignment …I gained so much understanding at these sessions… While there was lots of material online which was really helpful, the discussions during the workshops and the advice and guidance from the tutors helped to make sense of the readings provided.”
Blended learning was new to Eileen, yet she never felt alone in her studies. She found the tutors supportive “they encouraged me to think about why we do the things we do, and to not be afraid to question ideas and thinking. They were very encouraging and challenged me to do as well as possible. They were also friendly and approachable, and since they all have experience of working in Early Years, they were very well aware of the problems and challenges that we all face.”
Speak to an expert
Choosing a course that will lead you to your career of choice is a significant decision. Understanding the delivery modes, supports available, career opportunities and further study options are all key considerations when making your choice. Our course adviser team are experts in the courses Portobello offers, the employment prospects and possible progression routes to Masters programmes – they will guide you through the detail and support you with any queries you may have.
It is important you make the right choice for you and choose the Institute and course that will best suit your needs.
How long are you working in Portobello?
I have been working for Portobello Institute for over 5 years now.
What do you enjoy about working in Portobello?
I love the interaction with students. Every day I get to meet different individuals and learners who are looking to change their lives and I get to be the person who advises them on the best programme to take. It is a fantastic feeling to be part of their journey. For many learners this is a huge decision and I get to be the person who supports them in making that decision. There is an incredible sense of pride when I see our learners graduate and achieve their education goals.
What inspires you about working in education?
I believe that education is impowering and it can often change people’s lives. It increases the learner’s confidence and it allows the learner to reach their full potential. Coming back to education hugely lifts the learner’s self esteem.
Have you a story that you recall that touched you/made you laugh/made you cry?
One particular lady struggled with dyslexia all her life. Her disability really affected her years in school, her career choices and when this learner approached Portobello Institute I worked with her to establish the best way forward, the right course for her was without a doubt in childcare. This lady registered on the course and she needed a lot of hand holding throughout her studies from both myself and the academic team. I recall that the day of her graduation, she received the “Student of Year” award. We were all thrilled and delighted for her! This learner has since gone on to open a very successful Montessori setting.
How do you feel when you have helped a student reach a decision on their course choice?
I am there to be the deciding factor for our learners. We support people in making the right choice of programme for them. We reassure them the whole way and we support them throughout. It is a very rewarding feeling to be part of this process.
How do I apply?
Entry to this course is by direct application to the college.
Please note places are only confirmed once tuition fees have been received.
Fees & Payment Options
Exam Body Reg. Fee
Easy Payment Plan
30% deposit payable upon acceptance of a place. Balance to be paid in 13 instalments on 1st of the month commencing the month after the start date. Exam registration fees are included in the Easy Payment Plan.
Includes one off instalment fee of €295.00. Payments scheduled every 1 month(s).
- €216.73 due on 1st November 2021.
- €216.73 due on 1st December 2021.
- €216.73 due on 1st January 2022.
- €216.73 due on 1st February 2022.
- €216.73 due on 1st March 2022.
- €216.73 due on 1st April 2022.
- €216.73 due on 1st May 2022.
- €216.73 due on 1st June 2022.
- €216.73 due on 1st July 2022.
- €216.73 due on 1st August 2022.
- €216.73 due on 1st September 2022.
- €216.73 due on 1st October 2022.
- €216.73 due on 1st November 2022.