Course Details

Delivered through blended learning, you can work full time and complete this BA (Ord) in Early Childhoodhood studies. Upon completion of this Level 7 degree you will be eligible to gain the higher capitation grant from the DCYA for your role in an early childhood centre.

Start Date
13th February 2021
Level 7 Ordinary Degree
Portobello Institute
Course Duration
3 academic semesters


You can gain a level 7 BA in Early Childhood Studies, 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 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. 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 DCYA (Dept. of Children and Youth Studies) 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 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 9 modules covered during this programme. Detailed below are each of the modules and the learning outcomes you will achieve.

  • Approaches to Pedagogy and Curriculum (30 Credits)

    1.   Critically analyse aspects of early childhood curricula in relation to theories of learning and pedagogy and relate this to practice in their settings.

    2.   Describe, analyse and constructively critique a range of perspectives on early childhood education in this and some other countries.

    3.   Identify the relationship between the history of early childhood provision and its present form.

    4.   Articulate the practitioner’s role in planning and implementing a broad and balanced, child-centred curriculum indoors, outdoors and beyond the early childhood setting.

    Your Lecturer

    Maeve Nolan

    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 and 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 (30 Credits)

    On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
    1. Demonstrate knowledge of enquiry-based learning and identify how this relates to practice in early childhood.
    2. Describe, analyse and constructively critique pedagogical and theoretical perspectives on enquiry based learning.
    3. Analyse and evaluate enquiry based learning theory and research in the light of current issues.
    4. Apply and evaluate methods of small scale enquiry practice including planning and the appropriate collection, analysis and presentation data.

    Your Lecturer

    Maeve Nolan

    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.

  • Challenging Inequalities in Early Childhood (15 Credits)
    1. Demonstrate knowledge of legislation and official guidance in the area of equalities and special educational needs and identify how these relate to ethical practice in early childhood.
    2. Describe and analyse the ways in which inequalities may impact on babies, young children, families and staff within the early years setting.
    3. Examine and evaluate their own practice in addressing inequalities and ensuring access to the full curriculum for all children.
    Your Lecturer

    Rachel Dunne

    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.

  • Children’s Rights in Today’s World (15 Credits)
    1. Evaluate current debates on the sociological and socio-legal theories and concepts of childhood and children’s rights in relation to the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child.
    2.  Articulate how relevant legislation and codes of practice impact the varied childhoods experienced by children in the minority and majority world.
    3. Critically consider the rights and responsibilities of people/agencies concerned in the planning and provision of care, education, health, welfare and advocacy of children and young people.
    Your Lecturer

    Jacinta Murphy

    This module will develop students understanding of children’s right locally and globally. This is a valuable as it provides knowledge and understanding of children’s rights in today’s complex world. Students are provided with an opportunity to explore various perspectives on children and childhood and how these views change across time and space.
    The student will reflect on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the legal implications, it is evidence in curriculum frameworks locally and globally. This knowledge will lead to an understanding of the role of the practitioner as an advocate for children and their rights to survive, develop, to be protected and to be viewed as an active participant in their life, family, setting and community.

  • Communicating in Multilingual Contexts (15 Credits)
    1. Describe, analyse and constructively critique current research and theories of language acquisition and communication in children from birth to six years old.
    2. Identify and discuss the ways in which children may be supported in the development of their first language whilst acquiring English.
    3. Articulate the role of the family, practitioners, other adults and peers in the communication, linguistic and representational competence of babies and young children.
    4. Plan, execute and evaluate practice and provision that effectively addresses linguistic and symbolic diversity.
    Your Lecturer

    Jacinta Murphy

    This module allows the student to acquire key professional knowledge which will allow them to support young children’s communication and language acquisition.
    Theories of language development in relation to first, second and subsequent language acquisition are explored. Students will gain knowledge of current thinking and debates on multilingualism, cultural identity, language, symbolic representation, and early learning and relate this to effective provision and practice. In doing this, students learn how all children’s communication skills and language development can be supported including those learning English as a second language. Onus is put on the vital importance of nurturing the home language while learning a second/subsequent language. Children learn in a social context, therefore the role of the family, practitioners, other adults and peers in the communication, linguistic and representational competence of babies and young children is reflected upon.
    This module marries theoretical and practice-based knowledge to allow students to plan, implement, reflect upon, and evaluate quality practice in this area.

  • Early Years Learning and Practice Frameworks (15 Credits)

    1. Demonstrate an understanding of the underpinning policy, and principles of the Irish frameworks, guidelines and regulations both nationally and internationally.

    2. Examine, plan and evaluate one aspect of the curricula and make links to principles endorsed in frameworks, guidelines and regulations.

    3. Examine the role of early years’ practitioners in providing an enabling inclusive environment and in scaffolding children’s learning and development.

  • Leading Practice with Children Families and Professionals (30 Credits)

    On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
    1. Discuss and evaluate the impact of their role in developing and leading effective practice.

    2. Critically evaluate provision and practice and how it impacts on the development and well-being of babies and young children.

    3. Describe, analyse and constructively critique legislation, social policies, and research related to partnership between young children (0-6), families and professionals.

    4. Describe, analyse and constructively critique the theory and practice of leadership when supporting teams in promoting high quality provision.

    Your Lecturer

    Maeve Nolan

    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.

  • Debating Children and Childhood (15 credits)

    On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
    1. Analyse different social constructions of childhood.
    2. Critically discuss relevant aspects of global, political, cultural, historical, and economic contexts of early childhood.
    3. Consider the impact of inequalities on young children’s lives.
    4. Critically evaluate contemporary debates in relation to early childhood.

  • Reading research and research methods (15 Credits)

    On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

    1. Describe, analyse and constructively critique the major research methodologies used in the field of Early Childhood Studies.
    2. Apply ethics in relation to research.
    3. Understand a range of research methods and approaches and be able to articulate when to use them.
    4. Be able to critique existing research in the early childhood field.

Who will I learn from?

Programme Manager

Iryna Fox


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!

Why Portobello?

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

Research/Industry Participation

  • 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.

How will I learn?

Delivery Mode

This level 7 BA in Early Childhood Studies has been specifically designed for delivery by blended learning. It is very 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,  “Weblearn”. 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.

Course Structure

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 the LMU Weblearn platform. 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 knowledgable educators. They are available to assist you at every stage of this programme.

Online Learning Portal – Weblearn

LMU have designed an online learning platform called Weblearn. 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 Weblearn. 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. You will need basic computer skills to search the internet and type a word document to complete your assignment.

Semester information

13/02/21 – 15/04/22

This course is delivered over 2 academic years equal to 14 months. There are online webinars held on 9 Saturdays usually at the start of each module. Attendance at webinars is optional although recommended for optimal learning experience and achievement.

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.

Related Courses

Full Time

BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies

This full-time BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Studies was developed to meet the demand for well-qualified early childhood specialists working with young children and their families across all sectors: play, care, health and education. This undergraduate degree focuses on 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.


Portobello Institute
Start Date
11th October 2021
Blended Learning

BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies

If you hold a Level 7 BA (Ord) degree in Early Childhood Studies you can top up your degree to a Level 8 BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Studies in just 10 months through blended learning. This final year course consists of an individual research project with supporting seminars held on allocated weekends.

Portobello Institute
Start Date
27th February 2021

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.

Your Consultant

Jennifer Matteazzi

About Jenny

My name is Jennifer Matteazzi and I am the Enrolment Team Leader.  An investment in knowledge pays the best interest and I am part of the team who helps learners achieve their education goals.


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.

Book a consultation

How do I apply?

Entry to this course is by direct application to the college.


Without a Leaving Certificate

You will be required to hold a QQI Level 6 major award in ECCE or have acheived an equivalent qualification. The ECCE level 6 award is available to study by blended or part-time study in Portobello Institute.

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:

• QQI Level 6 Early Years Care & Education

• QQI Level 6 Advanced Supervision in Childcare

Application Process

Step 1

Complete the online booking form.

Apply Now

Step 2

Applicants will be contacted for confirmation of entry requirements and personal details.

Step 3

Applicants will be offered a place on the course upon successful review of their application.

Please note places are only confirmed once tuition fees have been received.


Course Price

Per academic year.


Exam Body Reg. Fee

Per academic year - due at start of academic year.


Full Payment

Total amount payable.


Easy Payment Plan

10% deposit payable upon acceptance of a place. Balance to be paid in 14 instalments of €238 payable on 10th of the month commencing the month after the start date.

Deposit Amount

10% deposit payment, due on application of your course.


Instalments Payments

Deposit payment (€391.00), followed by 14 scheduled payments every 1 month(s).

Includes one off instalment fee of €210.00. Payments scheduled every 1 month(s).

  • €251.36 due on 10th March 2021.
  • €251.36 due on 10th April 2021.
  • €251.36 due on 10th May 2021.
  • €251.36 due on 10th June 2021.
  • €251.36 due on 10th July 2021.
  • €251.36 due on 10th August 2021.
  • €251.36 due on 10th September 2021.
  • €251.36 due on 10th October 2021.
  • €251.36 due on 10th November 2021.
  • €251.36 due on 10th December 2021.
  • €251.36 due on 10th January 2022.
  • €251.36 due on 10th February 2022.
  • €251.36 due on 10th March 2022.
  • €251.36 due on 10th April 2022.