Course Details

Delivered by blended learning with supporting weekend workshops, this Early Childhood Care & Education qualification will give you a recognised qualification that is ideal for those starting a career in Early Childhood Care and Education.

Start Date
Start Anytime
QQI Level 5
Portobello Institute
Course Duration
8 months


Are you interested in beginning your career in Early Childhood Care and Education? Portobello Institute’s QQI Level 5 Major Award in Early Years Care and Education is an international qualification that will allow you to begin working in an early years setting. During this eight-month course, the content of the course focuses on caring for the needs of young children preparing you to work in a wide variety of settings. This course is delivered through blended learning which means that you will also have the opportunity to complete a work experience placement in an early years setting to complement your studies. Learners are required to complete a total of 50 hours of work experience. There is an easy payment plan designed to make this programme affordable.

Why should I study this course?

To meet the needs of an expanding ECCE sector Portobello Institute aims to provide a solid, integrated, unified approach to the delivery of ECCE training.  Our Early Childhood courses aim to develop our Learners the highest level of professional competence as practitioners, establishing in them a wide knowledge and a deep understanding of educational practices in conjunction with the principles set down by Síolta: the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Aistear: the Framework for Early Learning.

This qualification meets the minimum requirements set down by the DCYA for those seeking to work with children in an early years setting. You will be qualified to work with children from 0 – 6 within the broader childcare settings.

Who will recognise my qualification?

Upon completing this course, you will hold a QQI Level 5 Major Award in Early Years Care and Education.

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 Early Childhood Care and Education – QQI Level 5 course?

During this course, you will study the development, learning and well-being of children and their identities in the field of ECCE. You will also develop the key skills needed to work in an early years setting. You will learn about child development theories and how a range of activities can promote physical, social, emotional and intellectual development in children. You will develop the capacity to work and communicate effectively with parents, families, colleagues and other professionals to safeguard, support and promote children’s learning, development and well-being.

  • Child Development

    This module explores the child’s social, educational and physical development and how to provide a nurturing environment for the child to develop in. You will develop the skills required to influence and promote the use of observations in an early childhood care and education setting.

  • Early Childhood Care and Education Practices

    This module outlines the importance of self-awareness and effective interpersonal skills in an ECCE setting. You will learn the rights of the child in the context of an ECCE setting and how to implement practices and activities to promote equality and value diversity in an ECCE setting. You will also learn about implementing administration and operational procedures in an ECCE setting to include daily logs, routines and record keeping.

  • Early Childhood Education and Play

    This module outlines the types, stages, patterns and purposes of children’s play. You will study a range of theories of play in the context of children’s education to include Psychoanalytic theories (Freud, Winnicott) and Constructivist theories (Piaget, Vygotsky). You will also evaluate the role of the adult in children’s play and explore a child lead approach to meeting the play and educational requirements of children.

  • Child Health and Well-being

    This module outlines the requirements necessary to provide for the health and well-being of children in an ECCE setting as informed by national guidelines to include child protection. You will study the factors that contribute to the overall well-being of children and the various nutritional needs of babies and young children. You will be able to identify requirements for the promotion of healthy and safe indoor and outdoor environments for children and a range of common childhood illnesses.

  • Creative Arts for Early Childhood

    This module examines a variety of creative media opportunities with young children and the benefits of exploration and participation in creative arts for the child. You will explore the role of the adult in creating an environment in which children feel secure and confident enough to take risks and explore new situations. You will plan opportunities for consultation with children to plan and engage in creative arts experiences.

  • Equality and Diversity in Childhood

    This module explores equality and diversity concepts as relevant to Irish Society. You will analyse approaches to diversity education including assimilation, multicultural, intercultural and anti-bias. The module also explores equality and diversity terminology; including prejudice, discrimination, racism, sexism and ableism etc. You will examine current legislation on Equality and Diversity, to include Equality Legislation, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the UN International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. You will also examine the role of the adult in promoting children’s individual and group identity and their sense of belonging enabling the child to value uniqueness and difference.

  • Communications

    This module allows you to develop the relevant knowledge, skill and competence to communicate verbally and non-verbally in a comprehensive range of everyday tasks and in work-related tasks independently and/or in a supervisory capacity.

  • Work Experience (ECCE)

    This module allows you to acquire the skills to work in an early childhood care and education setting. You can develop the skills and competence necessary for active participation in the development and organisation of lesson plans and activities within an early childhood care and education setting.

Who will I learn from?

Programme Manager

Olivia Hamill

“Working as a PM for EY & SNA means working in an ever-changing industry, as investment in the childcare industry in Ireland has been to the forefront in recent years.  This investment is not unlike the investment made by students- as they invest in their future through their educational journey. Being involved in their journey is fulfilling as you watch them flourish over time and support them in achieving their goals”


While my initial third level education was in Business Management my career path took a turn when I became involved in fostering. The more research (for homelife benefits) I conducted in the areas of children with additional needs, child development, play activities etc., I realised that this was an area I had a keen interest in. From here I went onto firstly study a Level 5 in ECCE, to have the basis for further study within the area. Then I completed a H-DIP in ECEC which led me onto a Level 9 MA in Child, Youth and Family studies.  I studied part time while working full time, and this has helped me immensely in understanding students journey on similar paths- it can be a  struggle trying to balance working, reaching assignment deadlines, attending classes, along with daily home (and social!) life, but once you achieve your end goal it is worth it. Having also worked in various rooms in childcare settings, this added to my experience, skills, knowledge, and abilities. Working in the sector assisted me greatly (before I took up the role as Programme Manager) while I was tutoring with Portobello as I was able to impart knowledge and experience to students.

Why did you choose to work in education?

Having gone back to study myself many years after my initial education, my own experience contributes to understanding individual students needs and abilities. Everybody learns differently and it is beneficial in the educational industry to have an understanding that some people may be visual learners, while others may be kinaesthetic or auditory learners while some may learn through reading and writing. Match this understanding with various modes of course delivery, tutors who are passionate about their subject areas, are inclusive to all types of learners and this can only lead to a successful outcome for students.

Collaborating with and listening to students is also an important aspect within the education industry, we all have knowledge to offer and learn from each other, having had this experience myself while studying, this was always something I encouraged while tutoring. Facilitating students to share knowledge and experience while motivating and supporting them through their learning journey is all part of the role as an educator. These roles also become part of your role as a PM, you want to see everyone achieving their goal and you are there to help, guide, advise, support, motivate and encourage them throughout their time spent with the college.

Your experience as a Programme Manager.

Before a student embarks on their learning journey, Portobello takes the time to explore which mode of delivery suits an individual’s needs, abilities, and time available to study. While working as a PM with Portobello I have come across many inspirational students, some who have not studied in many years, some who have had learning difficulties, others may be changing industry entirely, while some just simply want more knowledge as a parent to help them in understanding their children’s needs. As a PM contributing to all student’s journey through listening, supporting, motivating, and encouraging them throughout their education is an important aspect and it is inspirational to see students achieving their goal.

Why Portobello?

Working with Portobello allows you to get to know students, which allows students to feel valued and everyone in the Institute is committed to supporting students on their learning journey. Portobello offers flexibility in course delivery, this is something which can be a deciding factor on choosing a course, students consider what fits their lifestyle and free time available to study. By offering blended, part time, full time, online or distance courses, this gives Portobello the ability to offer courses to suit a range of students needs.


  • MA in Child, Youth & Family Studies
  • H-Dip in Early Childhood Education & Care
  • QQI Level 5 in Early Childhood Care & Education
  • BBS Honours Degree in Business Management





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

Many students are seeking a combination of being able to study at a time that suits them but with the support of a tutor and the learning from peers included. Blended learning suits this student perfectly as it is a combination of contact tuition and distance learning. Everything needed to complete the course is available on a web-based learning platform. At the commencement of each module within a course, there will be a tutorial workshop held. This allows students the opportunity to meet their tutors in person and their other classmates. A comprehensive overview of the content of the module, the learning outcomes and assessment requirements are covered during this workshop. A demonstration on how to use the web-based learning platform is given during the induction workshop. The course work is usually given on a week-to-week basis to support you to stay on track. Assessments are uploaded online, and in many cases, a draft of your assessment can be submitted for feedback by your tutor before you submit the final version. Blended Learning for many is the best of both worlds, it gives you the independence and freedom to study at a time suited to you whilst also offering you guidance from expert tutors and the support of a peer to peer network from your fellow classmates.

Course Structure

Portobello Institute’s ECCE level 5 course is delivered over 1 academic year. Course content is delivered online with supported workshops held on 8 Saturdays over the course of the programme.

Course materials are structured to be accessed on a week by week basis and are available to download from our eLearning platform as you progress through the course. Assignments are all designed for completion at home and once completed, you will upload these to the eLearning platform. Feedback and results are posted here for you to access too.

Detailed below are the dates of the workshops. You can skip a workshop/module and return to it at a later date. You must notify the programme manager you will be attending the workshops as and when they arise.



Workshop Schedule

Detailed below are dates of upcoming workshops for the modules of the QQI level 5 Major Award in Early Childhood Care and education.

Workshops are generally delivered once per month and on a rolling schedule. All workshops are currently taking place online on ePortobello. All workshops take place from 10 am -3 pm. You have to book a place on the workshops in advance by emailing

11th March 2023 Child Development

Assignment Due: 22nd April 2023

Exam: 6th May 2023 10am-12pm

22nd April 2023 Early Childhood Education & Play

Assignment Due: 10th June 2023

20th  May 2023 Communications

Assignment Due: 8th July 2023

24th June 2023 Work Experience

Assignment Due: 19th August 2023

1st July 2023 Early Care and Education

Assignment Due: 29th of July 2023

5th August 2023 Creative Arts for Early Childhood

Assignment Due: 2nd September 2023

2nd September 2023 Child Health and Wellbeing

Assignment Due: 30th September 2023

Real Life Learning Opportunities

Work Experience

As part of this course, you will complete a work experience module which gives you the opportunity to put into practice the exercises and skills you will have learned during the programme. Learners are required to complete a total of 50 hours of work experience. You will have the opportunity by using these skills to stimulate, develop and guide the children under your direction to develop to their full potential. We aim to ensure you have the opportunity to gain experience in a setting that is aligned with your career ambitions. Our tutors and programme management team will help you secure a suitable work placement during your studies and this placement can be in your locality to reduce travel and time spent in Dublin. If you are already working in a setting during your studies you may use this work as your work experience.

The practical work experience element of this programme may be completed once Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted.

How will I be assessed?

A variety of assessment methods are used to support students with different learning styles. These vary from written reports to practical case studies to examinations. We encourage you to reflect on your knowledge gain with a number of assignments designed to explore your learning journey. All of these assessment methods are seeking to support you to combine theory with scenario-based learning and how to practically implement these methods into your everyday practice.

Career prospects

Related Courses

Blended Learning

Early Childhood Care and Education – QQI Level 6

Delivered by blended learning with webinars, this Early Childhood Care and Education qualification allows you to open your own setting or work in the capacity of a room leader, supervisor or manager in an early years setting.

Portobello Institute
Start Date
Start Anytime

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.


With a Leaving Certificate

There is no previous academic or experience requirements.

Application Process

Step 1

Complete the online booking form.


Apply Now

Step 2

Applicants will be contacted for confirmation of personal details and to arrange an interview with the college.

Step 3

Confirmation of a place will be given to applicants following successful interview.


Fees & Payment Options


Course Price

Per academic year.


Additional Fees

Please note places on this course are only confirmed once the deposit of tuition fees has been received.

Protection for Learners Fee


Full Payment

Total amount payable.


Easy Payment Plan

Deposit of 30% upon booking. Balance paid in 5 instalments commencing the 1st of the month after the course starts. All additional fees such as exam body registration fees etc. are included in the easy payment plan.

Deposit + 5 Instalments

Deposit payment (€341.40), followed by 5 scheduled payments every 1 month(s). Includes one off instalment fee of €195.00.

  • €159.32 due on 1st April 2023.
  • €159.32 due on 1st May 2023.
  • €159.32 due on 1st June 2023.
  • €159.32 due on 1st July 2023.
  • €159.32 due on 1st August 2023.