Course Details

This qualification is due to expire in October’ 23 – Delivered by blended learning with webinars, you still have time to complete 6 of the 8 modules required for the QQI level 6 Major Award in Early Childhood Care and Education. This 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.

Start Date
Start Anytime
QQI Level 6
Portobello Institute
Course Duration
5 months



Changes happening to QQI ECCE Level 6 Major Award

As QQI are deactivating the ECCE 5, ECCE 6 and Montessori awards in December of this year, you must complete any remaining modules on or before 31st October’ 23.

A new portfolio of awards will launch during the summer. You will now be required to complete level 5 before completing level 6.


If you hold some modules towards a major award

You can still complete these modules. You should

  • allow 4 – 6 weeks for each module
  • complete all modules by 31st October ’23.

If you choose not to complete all modules before 31st October 23, you will lose the credits you have and will be required to start the new major awards from the beginning.


If you do not hold any modules towards a major award

After 1st June ’23, you will not have sufficient time to complete the 8 modules needed and you will have to wait to enrol on the new Early Years awards that are due to be released during summer ’23.


This is your final opportunity to complete the existing awards

Each module requires 4-6 weeks study to complete with further time needed for certification through QQI therefore you must have completed your modules by 31st October ’23.


If you have 6 modules remaining, you must enrol before 1st July ’23

With many pre-schools facing a shortage of Montessori teachers, this is your final opportunity to add the Montessori awards to your skillset.

The Montessori awards will be deactivated in 2023

Portobello are offering an Intensive summer course if you are interested in adding the Montessori method and qualification to your skillset.


What happens after 1st November ’23?

You will not be able to use any existing module awards you have towards an ECCE major award after this date and you will have to restart the qualification. Furthermore, if you do not complete current awards, you will be required to complete Level 5 before advancing to Level 6.

While the changes may seem overwhelming, there is one key takeaway:

Ensure you allow sufficient time to finish outstanding ECCE Level 5 or 6 modules before 31st October ’23. 

As this qualification will expire in December’ 23, students must have completed their studies by 31st October ’23. With the time remaining, you can complete 6 of the 8 modules.

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 compliment 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. These factors, together with the one to one tutorial support, offer you a course that is accessible, affordable and achievable.

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 to 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.


Who will recognise my qualification?

With the time remaining, if you hold a single module and complete a further 7 modules by 31st October ’23, you will hold a QQI Level 6 Major Award in Early Years Care and Education.

Integrated into this programme, are the principles set down by Siolta the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Aistear: the Framework for Early Learning.

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 on the qualifications frameworks in operation, Brexit will not impact this agreement.

What will I study during this Early Childhood Care and Education – QQI Level 6 course?

During this course, you will learn about 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 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.

    Your Lecturer

    Natasha Murphy

    Students gain knowledge and understanding of child development theories and learn to apply them in a practical way. Skills of observation, evaluation and reflection are explored and the importance of using information as a basis for planning curricular activities suitable to the child’s interests, needs and level of development.

  • Early Childhood Curriculum

    This module aims to provide you with knowledge to understand the pedagogical approaches and national guidelines that guide an early childhood care and education setting. You will learn about facilitating the provision of quality experiences for children in an early childhood care and education setting. You will develop an awareness of the importance of the physical surroundings, the curricula, materials and significant people within an early childhood care and education setting and their impact on how comfortable the child is and how the child relates to others and achieves their goals.

    Your Lecturer

    Natasha Murphy

    Students gets the opportunity apply theoretical knowledge to a practical situations as they learn to plan suitable, interesting, fun and stimulating curriculum. They gain an understanding that curriculum is more than just planning. Knowledge of Aistear the early years curriculum framework and Síolta, the quality framework for early childhood, alongside current theories of curriculum is gained.

  • Childhood social, Legal & Health Issues
  • Personal & Professional Development

    This module explores the principles and practice of personal development and the role reflection plays in the ongoing development of the individual and the contribution of the individual to the workplace.

    You will examine the role planning plays in the development and success of an organisations short, medium and long term objectives and the interrelationships of staff and the role staff play within an organisation.

    Your Lecturer

    Natasha Murphy

    This module allows the student to assess their personal and professional strengths and areas for development and plan accordingly. This allows the student to become self-aware, to be more motivated, with the ability to manage their time and procrastinate less. This in turn relieves stress.
    Students also learn how to arrange, lead and manage meetings e.g. writing an agenda, meeting etiquette, recording minutes and supporting and following through on decision-making.
    The students gain the skills and knowledge to complete a presentation, from topic choice to rationale to presentation with visual aids to self-evaluation.

    This module provides the student will a tool for planning and improvement personally and professionally.

  • Child Psychology

    This module explores theories of development change and continuity in infancy, childhood and adolescence. You will evaluate a range of factors influencing and impacting on the psychological development of the child and appraise different theoretical models of child and adolescent development. You will evaluate how the role of social, biological, cultural and historical perspectives affect the development of children and adolescent. This module also explores the development of gender consciousness and its impact on self-identity in children and young people.

  • Special Needs Assisting

    This module explores the roles and responsibilities of an SNA working in a range of settings within the early years arena. You will learn how to embrace and enhance learning and special needs opportunities for children with special needs in an array of settings.

  • 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?

Course Structure

Portobello Institute’s ECCE blended learning course is delivered throughout the year. Course content is delivered online with supported webinars held for each module on a Saturday. Webinars are scheduled for each module throughout the year and you simply book the webinar you want to attend with your programme manager.  Webinars will run at a specific time. When you log on your tutor will deliver the content over a two hour period with a break of 10minutes halfway through. You can ask a question at any stage and hear the questions and responses of other students attending this course. Your tutor is available up to 20 minutes before class so you may log on early and seek support if there are any areas of the content that you need additional support with. Alternatively, our full-time programme manager is available to support you throughout your learning journey.

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.

What is a Webinar?

A webinar, in the context of online learning, is a lecturer delivering a presentation or class online to a group of students. We use specifically designed eLearning software so you can participate in the class just as if you were present in the same room. You can ask a question of the lecturer at any stage during the class. The software is designed with “break-out rooms” where you can discuss a topic or complete a group exercise with a smaller group from your class. You will need a computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone that has an internet connection, an audio facility so you can hear and speak during the class and a camera so your lecturer and fellow class participants can see you. The webinar is a secure online environment and only those permitted entry by the lecturer can gain access to the “classroom”. Webinars are recorded during each session and should you miss a session, you can catch up with the recorded session at a later date. You will only be able to access the webinars of the group you are assigned to.

The ECCE Webinar Schedule

Once enrolled, you can start the ECCE module of your choice at any time by simply registering with your programme manager for the webinar you wish to complete

1st July 2023 Child Psychology

Assignment Due: 29th July 2023

15th July 2023 Personal & Professional Development

Assignment Due: 26th August 2023

5th of August 2023 Special Needs Assisting

Assignment Due: 9th September 2023

23rd September 2023 Social Legal and Health

Assignment Due: 21st October 2023

These dates are subject to change.

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. 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 that 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.

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

Montessori Teaching – Start Anytime

This blended learning course combines online learning with practical workshops with the Montessori materials, giving you the opportunity to study at your time, to be a Montessori practitioner and open your own Montessori school.

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.


Without a Leaving Certificate

Learners should hold a minimum Level 5 in Early Childhood Education or relevant life or work experience. To access programmes leading to this award the learner should have reached the standards of knowledge, skill and competence associated with the preceding level of the National Framework of Qualifications. This may have been achieved through a formal qualification or through relevant life and work experience.

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.